Akaba replaces Belmontes

Osumanu Akaba, of Ghana, who had a nine-fight knockout streak snapped in his most recent fight, steps in against Edner Cherry in a 10-round junior lightweight contest on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.


Akaba replaces Jerry Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, TX, who injured his right wrist in training last Thursday.


The Cherry-Akaba bout and the Steve Cunningham-Natu Visinia heavyweight 10-rounder will be televised live by NBCSN on its popular Fight Night series beginning at 9 pm (ET).


While more recognizable fighters balked at fighting Cherry on short notice, the 34-year-old Akaba, now living in Tuscaloosa, AL, jumped at the opportunity. He had been ready and waiting for any opportunity when he got the call last Friday to fight Cherry.


Akaba, who turned pro in 2000 as a super bantamweight (122 pounds), is now a full-fledged lightweight (135) at 5-foot-10. His record is 24-6, 19 K0s. He has won three minor championships - WBC International Featherweight Title, WBA Pan African Featherweight Title, WBO Africa Super Featherweight Title.


One of Akaba's four losses was a 12-round decision defeat in a competitive fight in 2008 in London to Ricky Burns, who later won the WBO world lightweight title. Another 12-round decision setback came in 2005 in South Africa against Jeffrey Mathebula, who went on to take the IBF world super bantamweight title.


In his only fight in the US, Akaba dropped an eight-round decision to Bahodir Mamadjonov, of Uzbekistan, who is 17-1, 11 K0s. Prior to that match last August, Akaba had scored nine consecutive knockouts. He has been stopped only once, early in his career.


There was some good news, however, for Cherry, who moved up to No. 15 in the WBC world ratings at 130pounds. He is No. 11 in the IBF.

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