Former Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Photo by Vincent Ethier/ InterBox
Light heavyweight contender Jean Pascal, who is ranked No. 9 by The Ring, and Michael Eifert will square off on February 9.
The 12-round bout will take place at Place Bell in Pascal’s hometown of Laval, Canada, not far from Montreal. The winner of the IBF world title elimination bout will become the mandatory challenger for unified titleholder Artur Beterbiev.
“Major props to Lou DiBella, Yvon Michel and (manager) Greg Leon for making this happen,” said Pascal. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally back where I want to be, back home performing in front of my people. My fans have always been a major source of inspiration and their kind words have helped keep me going strong at 40 years young. It’s very important for me to give you guys a great show and, on February 9, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“Michael Eifert is a good, solid fighter and the final obstacle on my road to the championship. I respect him like all my opponents, but it’s my intention to destroy him as quickly as possible. I don’t want to fight away from home again and taking care of business on February 9 is the best way to make sure I don’t have to.”
Pascal (36-6-1, 20 knockouts) last fought on May 20, dropping Fanlong Meng once en route to a unanimous decision victory. Meng entered the fight as the No. 1 contender to the IBF world title belt. The victory over Meng was his first fight in about two and a half years, when he defeated Badou Jack by split-decision.
The 40-year-old has won his last three fights since losing by unanimous decision to longtime WBA world titleholder Dmitry Bivol in November 2018.
In a career that began in February 2005, Pascal has faced a who’s who of top fighters, including Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Carl Froch, and Lucian Bute.
Eifert (11-1, 4 KOs), who resides in Magdeburg, Germany, defeated Adriano Sperandio by unanimous decision in his last bout on July 16. The 24-year-old has won his last five bouts since losing to Tom Dzemski in a clash of unbeaten prospects.
Despite being the prohibitive underdog and fighting for the first time outside of Europe, Eifert is confident he could pull off the monumental upset over Pascal.
“This is a lifetime opportunity and a dream come true for me,” said Eifert, who is promoted by Benedikt Poelchau. “I can’t wait to come to Canada to give the performance of my life versus a great champion in Jean Pascal. It’s youth versus experience. It’s the young lion challenging the old lion to battle to be the king of the jungle.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]