By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
|Bika has shared the ring with the very best.|
Three-time world title challenger Sakio Bika looks to earn himself a fourth shot this weekend, when he squares off against unbeaten contender Nikola Sjekloca on the Broner-Rees undercard at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Bika (30-5-2, 21 KOs) is ranked as the WBC’s number two super middleweight and in Sjekloca takes on the organisation’s number one, with the winner expected to challenge Lucian Bute for the WBC 168lb strap if the injured Andre Ward is made a ‘champion in recess’.
A rather questionable sequence of events, particularly considering Bute’s uninspiring comeback win following the brutal Carl Froch defeat, but neither Bika or Sjekloca need to consider boxing politics as they attempt to land their own chance at a world crown.
|Sjekloca is yet to be tested.|
Unlike his opponent on Saturday, Sjekloca (25-0, 7 KOs) has never challenged for a world title before. Despite his unblemished record, the 34-year-old from Montenegro will in fact enter the bout a huge underdog on account of the level of opposition he has faced.
The biggest wins on his record are a close 12-round decision over Khoren Gevor and a 10-round victory over former James DeGale foe Hadillah Mohoumadi last time out. Bika meanwhile has shared the ring with Ward, Bute and Joe Calzaghe and despite losing to all three they were competitive encounters. He has never been stopped in his twelve year pro career and is coming into this fight with back-to-back stoppage wins since his defeat to Ward.
The Cameroon-born Australian has fought all over the world and has beaten some decent opposition including Sam Soliman and Peter Manfredo Jr. As well as having the edge in experience in this fight, he’ll have a significant edge in power.
As his knockout percentage might suggest, Sjekloca is not exactly blessed in the power department. That’s something that could cause him plenty of issues against the teak-tough Bika, as it either takes some dynamite fists or pretty elusive movement to keep a fighter with his strength and aggression at bay.
Whilst he may lack the power to keep Bika off for twelve rounds, Sjekloca appears to otherwise be a solid all-rounder with decent offence and Sakio’s certainly not known for his defensive wizardry. He has however never been in with an opponent at Bika’s level and whilst he’ll come into the bout full of the confidence that his undefeated record brings, he’ll come up short against a better fighter unless he can elevate himself in this his biggest of tests.