Las Vegas resident and undefeated super middleweight boxer Caleb Plant has visualized it for decades. Not capturing a world championship. Been there. Done that. Last year in January.
But defending that world championship in his home state of Tennessee.
“Since I was little kid I’ve thought about wanting to bring a world title to the Bridgestone Arena,” Plant said, referencing the arena that houses the NHL’s Nashville Predators. “It’s the biggest venue in the city, so to be headlining there as a world champion, at this point in my career, its huge. I’m going to make the most of it.”
The 27-year-old Plant (19-0, 11 knockouts) is fulfilling one of his dreams Feb. 15. He will defend his IBF title against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KOs).
Plant hails from Ashland City, Tennessee, some 23 miles from Nashville, and expects family and friends to be in attendance. He has not yet fought in Tennessee as a professional.
“It’s exciting to be in this position. I feel like my career is right where I want it to be,” Plant said. “We’re going to get this out of the way, then move on to what’s next.”
Plant beat José Uzcátegui via unanimous decision to win the title on Jan. 13, 2019 and completed his first title defense in July by knocking out Mike Lee in the third round of their fight on the Manny Pacquiao/Keith Thurman undercard.
He’s been training for several weeks in preparation for Feigenbutz, a relative unknown 24-year-old from Germany making his American debut. But he insists that he’s not overlooking his opponent in what’s becoming an increasingly interesting 168-pound division.
“I know he’s coming to take what’s mine. I know this is the biggest moment of his life,” Plant said. “He’s going to fall short.”
Plant wants to unify his title against one of the other titlists in the 168-pound division, namely WBC champion David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs), with whom he’s developed a public rivalry.
First things first, though. The title defense on his home turf.
“Now we get to defend it at home. It’s very important for us, and it’s coming at the right time,” said Plant’s father and co-trainer, Richie. “It’s the natural progression of who we are as a team and who he is as a fighter.”
Additions to Wilder/Fury undercard
Undefeated super lightweight Subriel Matias (15-0, 15 KOs) has been added to the preliminary portion of the Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder undercard Feb. 22. He will fight Petros Ananyan (14-2-2, 7 KOs). Super lightweight Amir Imam (22-2, 19 KOs) will also fight Javier Molina (21-2, 9 KOs).
Heavyweights Charles Martin (27-2-1, 24 KOs) and Gerald Washington (20-3-1, 13 KOs) anchor the pay-per-view portion of the undercard. They will square off in an IBF title eliminator.
WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrette (30-1, 26 knockouts) also will defend his title against Jeo Santisima (19-2, 16 KOs). Super welterweight prospect Sebastian Fundora (13-0-1, 9 KOs) will fight 2016 Olympian Daniel Lewis (6-0, 4 KOs).
Former world champion dies
Former super lightweight world titlist Johnny Bumphus died of cardiac arrest last week in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He was 59.
Bumphus posted a 341-16 amateur record and was a member of the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the games in Moscow. He debuted professionally in 1980 and beat Lorenzo Garcia for the vacant WBA championship on Jan. 22, 1984.
Known as “Bump City,” Bumphus retired in 1987 with a record of 29-2, with 20 knockout victories.