Andrade vs Kautondokwa: Behind the scenes

Hanging around the hotel lobby of the Marriott was a boxing autograph hunter’s dream. It’s more selfies than signatures these days, but gloves and t-shirts were still being scribbled across for posterity. Fresh from fighter meetings with DAZN -the newest player on the boxing TV circuit- rival camps mingled without issue. Lowered voices were heard making projections about other fighters (“He looks dry. So-and-so is nervous” etc).

Stationed almost directly across the street, the TD Garden Arena is barricaded by construction vehicles and scaffolding; easy to miss for the untrained eye. On Saturday evening the premiere Boston venue will light up for the likes of Demetrius Andrade, Tevin Farmer and a host of Eddie Hearn’s UK contingent, looking to build Stateside reputations with a view to wheeling them out as worthy challengers in the not-too-distant future.

Billy Joe Saunders’ withdrawal from the main event was unfortunate. Demetrius Andrade’s replacement opponent -Namibia’s seemingly heavy-handed Walter Kautondokwa- is highly ranked and deserves his chance but doesn’t appeal quite as much. If he replicates the performance of countryman Julius Indongo, who knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky on away soil in 2016, then it would present quite the story. The Word is that Saunders will be exonerated and get another chance to win back his WBO middleweight strap.

Shadowed by his strength and conditioning coach, Northern Ireland’s James Tennyson has his weight on point. Scaling a solid 130lbs, not many of the American media appear to be taking him too seriously. Tennyson is no routine defence. Tevin Farmer (weighing in at 129.6lbs)

isn’t the biggest banger, but he can move a bit and will need to circumnavigate every centimetre of the ring to keep his opponent busy and retain his IBF strap.

Referee Steve Willis is as fleet-footed around the plush carpeted areas of the Marriott as he is in the squared circle. Amiable when posing for photos with fans (yes, referees are in demand for selfies as well) the memes and gifs that circulate the internet have made him a popular figure.

Taking place in a high brow harbour-side establishment, the weigh-in brought few surprises, and all combatants made weight without any unneeded hiccups. “The places fill up quickly over here,” said one Matchroom observer as the music pumped and seats quickly got filled.

David Diamante did his usual impeccable job of working the crowd and whipping it up into an event before Michael Buffer took over duties for the main attraction. Consisting of the usual mix of world champions, portly pretenders, heavily-tattooed prospects and local attractions, there are some enticing matchups scheduled for fight night.

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