After impressing boxing fans in 2022 with explosive performances that propelled him to the peak of the rankings, Christian Mbilli (23-0, 20 KOs) is looking to continue his success in 2023. Next March 23, he will confront his first adversary of the year, as he puts his WBC and WBA International Continental of the Americas titles on the line against heavy- hitter Carlos Gongora (21-1, 16 KOs) in the grand finale of a Cabaret du Casino de Montréal event, simulcast starting at 7:00 pm on www.punchinggrace.com, as well as on ESPN+ in the USA.
Thanks to his powerful KO of Nadjib Mohammedi that went viral, his decisive second-round victory against DeAndre Ware, and his win in an intense 10- rounder against Vaughn Alexander in France last December, Christian Mbilli finds himself 2nd in the WBC rankings, 5th in the WBA rankings, and 7th in the IBO rankings. In addition, he is ranked 5th worldwide by the prestigious Ring Magazine. 2023 will be a pivotal year for his development and for his quest for a word championship fight, and his opponents will leave him very little room for error, as EOTTM general manager Antonin Décarie points out.
“Christian never ceases to impress me. Fight after fight, he showcases not only his talent but also his earnestness, and his will to win and to face the very best. Gongora is not only the strongest opponent he has ever faced, but also one of the best fighters to have climbed into the ring at the Casino de Montréal. He’s much bigger than Christian, a southpaw with enough punching power to quickly put an end to the fight at any time. He is exactly the type of boxer we usually want to avoid.”
Gongora’s impressive ring smarts, acquired as an amateur in two Pan-American Games, in 2007 and in 2011, and in the 2008 Olympics, were a solid foundation for his professional career. He won the world IBO super-middleweight title against rising star Ali Akhmedov, and held it until December 2021, when he lost a split decision in an explosive duel against Lerrone Richards. Currently ranked
8th in the world by BoxRec, the native of Ecuador is a force to be reckoned with and just as feared as Mbilli in their division at the moment. This fight could go either way, but one thing for sure is that it will be electrifying for the fans at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal.
In the semi-final, Simon Kean (22-1, 21 KOs) will confront American Eric Molina (29-8, 21 KOs) in a battle that is sure to be intense, given both boxers’ striking power. Details of the undercard featuring Mary Spencer (7-1, 5 KOs), Steve Claggett (33-7-2, 23KOs), Leïla Beaudoin (8-0, 1KO), and Luis Santana (8-0, 2 KOs) will be revealed shortly. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, follow Eye of the Tiger on Facebook and Instagram @eottm_boxing as well as on Twitter @eottm11, or subscribe to the newsletter by filling out the online form.