Badou Jack Stops Makabu; Opens Up Unification Options at Cruiserweight
On February 26, Badou “The Ripper” Jack (28-3-3, 17KO) became a three-divisional champion after ripping the WBC cruiserweight title away from Ilunga Junior Makabu (29-3, 25KO) by stoppage. With the title in hand, Jack could look to further grow his legacy with a unification fight.
At 39 years old, Jack controlled the fight by using proper foot placement against the southpaw fighter. The Ripper took advantage of the flatfooted champion by creating angles and fighting at mid-range before landing a right hand that sent Makabu to the canvas in the fourth round.
The 34 year-old Makabu fought back hard in the middle rounds, but Jack came alive in the championship rounds. He would drop Makabu again in the eleventh round before eventually stopping him in the final round. In this victory, Jack grew his legacy while ending Makabu’s ten-fight win streak
WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE NEW CHAMPION?
The cruiserweight division may see a unification on the horizon. Jack could look to unify with WBA Super champion Arsen Goulamirian, who is the division’s longest-reigning champion. As of right now, he is free and looking for just such an opportunity.
IBF champion Jai Opetaia dethroned Mairis Briedis for the title in July 2022. The champion has since been sidelined, recovering from a broken jaw suffered in that victory. Depending on how much longer he may need to recover, a unification can happen sometime this year.
WBO champion Lawrence Okolie is set to defend his title for a third time against David Light on March 25. Provided Okolie is victorious, that fight is certain to be an option.
Finally, The Ripper can rematch Makabu to show everyone this victory was not a fluke. Whatever is next, Jack has plenty of lucrative options on the table.