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Stevenson to make 9th light heavyweight title defence vs. Jack at Bell Centre

MONTREAL — Adonis Stevenson will be in familiar surroundings when he makes the ninth defence of his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title.

The Bell Centre, where 40-year-old Stevenson won the title with a first-round knockout of Chad Dawson in 2013, was announced Thursday as the venue for his bout May 19 against Badou Jack, a Swede based in Las Vegas.

Stevenson (29-1), of Montreal, has fought 12 times at the Bell Centre, including his last outing in June when he easily stopped Andrzej Fonfara in his second meeting with veteran from Poland. 

"Stevenson can make Canadian boxing history by equalling Lucian Bute's record with a ninth world title defence," Bernard Barre, vice-president of promoter Groupe Yvon Michel, said in a release.

The 34-year-old Jack (22-1-2) defeated Briton Nathan Cleverly by fifth-round stoppage in his last bout to claim the World Boxing Association title, but decided to relinquish the belt to go after Stevenson's WBC and linear title. Jack, a former WBC super-middleweight champion, won by disqualification over former IBF champion Bute in 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Jack's promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., is expected at the fight. Mayweather went 50-0 and won world titles in five weight classes as one of the top boxers of his era.

Stevenson, a heavy-hitting left-hander, has been criticized for facing second-level opponents in his title defences, although he has said his promoter picks the opponents and he is ready to face any challenger.

He has also taken heat for avoiding annual mandatory defences against the WBC's top contender since his last one against Tony Bellew in 2013. Since 2015, the mandatory challenger has been fellow Montreal boxer Eleider Alvarez (23-0), but the Colombia native, also promoted by GYM, stepped aside to fight Bute and former champ Jean Pascal last year.

GYM said the 33-year-old Alvarez will be on the fight card against an opponent yet to be determined. He pulled out of a purse bid for an elimination bout with highly regarded Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0) because he has already fought three eliminators and objected to having to fight another.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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