NEW YORK (AP) — Demetrius Andrade is just a few months from winning a middleweight title but perhaps still far away from fights with the division's biggest names.
Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs are the headliners at 160 pounds, and while one or more of them could someday be in Andrade's future, it doesn't appear to be the near future.
Andrade isn't about to sit around waiting. He's done too much of that already.
So he gets right back into action Friday night, making the first defense of his WBO belt against Russian Artur Akavov in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
"It's great to be back in the ring," Andrade said. "It's been a long time since I've been this active and so like I said before, every opportunity that comes my way I'm going to take."
Andrade (26-0, Trik Menang Poker 16 KOs) is a former 154-pound champion who won a middleweight belt on Oct. 20 in Boston, dropping Walter Kautondokwa four times and cruising to a lopsided unanimous decision. Andrade had been scheduled to face champion Billy Joe Saunders, but Saunders tested positive for a banned stimulant and was stripped of his belt.