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Chordale Booker is moving up to middleweight, and will face Brian Chavez on Saturday at Mohegan Sun

by Francisco Salazar |

Chordale Booker will take his talents to a new weight class.

Booker will make his middleweight debut on Saturday night, as he faces Argentina’s Brian Chavez at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The 10-round fight will headline the Championship Boxing 2024 card promoted by longtime promoter Jimmy Burchfield.

Booker, 33, (22-1, 10 knockouts), who lives near Stamford, has fought many times at 160 pounds, but recently campaigned as a junior middleweight, and won the regional WBC belt at 154 pounds. .

In his last fight on February 3, Booker won a unanimous decision against Greg Vendetti. Booker missed weight, came in a pound over the junior middleweight limit, and was stripped of his WBC regional title. It was then that Booker and his team believed the right move was to move up in weight and compete at 160 pounds.

“That was a tough fight, stylistically,” said Booker, who is managed by Paul Guarino. “Vendetti is like an old school hero in the way he turns his head and puts himself down, like Jack Dempsey. It made it difficult to throw punches when he was going to be there, but I saw it during the round and started shooting and caught him while he was ducking.”

While Vendetti is a pressure fighter who uses his toughness, Booker will face a completely different fighter in Chavez (14-4, 5 KOs).

Southpaw Booker, a standout newcomer who finished second at the 2016 US Olympic Trials, turned to familiar IBF welterweight title holder Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis to train alongside him in preparation for the fight. Booker traveled to Ennis’ hometown of Philadelphia to train with him.

Time spent training with Ennis boosted Booker’s confidence going into the Chavez fight.

“I will show that (Chavez) does not enter the ring with me,” said Booker, who made his debut in 2016. He wants to try to move his feet, shake his head. I had 137 freshman fights, and he doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before. There’s nothing special about him that stands out to me, so I’m going to go in there and do what I want. I will see what he has, what punches he wants, and after that, I will take him out.

“I came up with (Ennie) for freshmen, I knew it would be the best job. ‘Boots’ is a top talent. I have the best lefty in front of me and I’m preparing for the best version of Chavez, so some (this Saturday), if this guy is not ‘Boots,’ I should win a lot. “

Booker has won his last five fights since his only loss at the hands of undefeated middleweight Austin Williams in April 2022. Williams stopped Booker in the opening round.

Williams suffered his first loss as a champion in his last fight on June 1, a knockout loss to Hamsah Sheeraz in the undefeated middleweights’ conference.

Booker hopes to redeem himself and is looking forward to a rematch with Williams down the line. He believes that the first fight against Williams did not show what kind of player he is and he is confident that he can win the fight against Williams.

“Every time Ammo fights, I watch,” Booker said. “Of course I want that to come back as a competitor, not something bad for him as a person. Hamzah Sheeraz saw all the same things that any other fighter sees in ‘Ammo’: mainly an athlete who knows how to punch. Sometimes that’s not enough, someone finds out you’re a trick pony and, if they can get past the hurt, you’ve got a problem.

“I got hurt in my fight with (Williams) and I couldn’t get over that. Sheeraz was injured in their fight and he went through it and thought, ‘Okay, I have to watch out for his left hand and I’ll be able to knock him out,’ because usually strong guys don’t. have equal boxing skills.”

With a wide-open division at 160 pounds, Booker could be a contender, if he makes a statement at Chavez’s expense.

Booker hopes to tackle the top division later this year and in 2025. Having stopped opponents in three of his last five victories, Booker believes his improving ability will make it difficult for others in the division to prepare.

“I would like to fight (WBA world title holder) Erislandy Lara, (WBC world title holder) Carlos Adames, or (unified world title holder) Janibek Alimkhanuly. Me and Adames will be an action-packed fight, but I think Janibek is the toughest opponent and I’m fighting against the best. For me, it’s not just about winning championships. Basically I want to know how good I am or how close I am and what I need to do to be the best. I wish more fights could do that so we could get the fights and opportunities we want, so there’s no choice in who to fight.

“The fight (on Saturday) will answer questions about what I can do with a guy who I consider to be better than him in terms of boxing ability. I can say all the things I want about him and any other fighter, but until I get in the ring with them, see who they are and how I will win the fight, it will tell me what I need to know about them, and what I need to work on.

“I’m preparing for the best version of him by putting myself in uncomfortable situations, going into other people’s gyms and trying to box the best guys. To put everything on the line, so that when I close them one day, I know that I did everything I could.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has handled boxing in Southern California and internationally since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. They can be reached at [email protected]

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