The broadcast will begin on HBO E
at 8 p.m. Pacific
WBO and IBF super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe (41-0) takes on Australian challenger Sakio “The Scorpion” Bika (20-1-2) at the MEN Arena in Manchester tonight. Calzaghe is currently the longest reigning world champion and this represents the 19th title defense of his WBO title which he won back in October 1997. In the chief support Enzo Maccarinelli (24-1) takes on Mark Hobson (26-4-1) for the WBO Cruiserweight title. The 26-year-old Maccarinelli was due to face long time champion Johnny Nelson who retired in the build up to the fight due to a longstanding injury. Both fights will be televised live in the UK on ITV1 starting at 10pm and Calzaghe-Bika will be aired on a delayed basis on HBO in the USA.
"It was the other day when Frank Warren was telling me I was only a few defenses short of Joe Louis record of 25 world title defenses and that is a goal for me to retire undefeated and become the best ever British fighter," said Calzaghe. "I also want to be a two-weight world champion and I still feel I have the motivation, drive and enthusiasm to achieve these goals but first I must get past the challenge of Sakio Bika and that is not something I am under-estimating, especially with my debut on HBO in the states I want to do a number on my opponent."
The 27 year old Bika who hails from Cameroon but fights out of Australia has been respectful of Calzaghe’s achievements but still remains confident of an upset victory. He stated, “Calzaghe is an excellent champion but I am a fighter that is hungry and hungry to take my opportunity. I have trained hard and Joe must be at his best on Saturday because the Scorpion is ready to make this one of Joe’s hardest fights. If he under-estimates me he will make a mistake.” Bika comes off a technical draw against current WBC champion Marcus Beyer who was cut after an unintentional head clash before their bout went the necessary four rounds in May this year.
HBO2 playdates: Oct. 15 (10:00 AM, 4:45 PM) and 17 (11:00 PM). Times are ET/PT.