Caleb Plant (19-0, KO11) returns to his birthplace this Saturday night, as he makes the second defence of his IBF Super-Middleweight title at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Sweethands” Plant, who now resides in Las Vegas, took the belt in January 2019, with a unanimous points win over the largely avoided Jose Uzcategui in Los Angeles. That night Plant dropped the Venezuelan in rounds two and four, before going on to negotiate a comfortable enough win on the cards.
Plant has been a professional since 2014, and prior to his breakout world title win, he has been the ten round distance three times, and also outscored former world title challenger, Rogelio Medina over twelve in February 2018. After his victory over Uzcategui, Plant has made one successful defence, stopping the overwhelmed previously unbeaten, Mike Lee inside three rounds in July last year. Lee was down four times in all in Las Vegas.
Plant’s opponent in Tennessee this weekend was once a red hot prospect, but after a damaging 2016 defeat, he has since had to steadily rebuild to get back to the top level.
Big punching German, Vincent Feigenbutz (31-2, KO28) is the man challenging ‘Sweethands’, and at 24 with 33 fights under his belt, he is surely still growing as a fighter. Feigenbutz turned over as a 16-year-old in 2011, and suffered a stoppage defeat in only his second contest, with Roman Javoev stopping him inside three rounds in March, 2012. From there Feigenbutz went on something of a knockout spree, and he was showcased in Liverpool as part of the Sauerland Promotions team on the undercard to Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly’s rematch in 2014. A third round stoppage win against Mauricio Reynoso in July, 2015 handed Feigenbutz the Interim WBA Super Middleweight title, and he overcame being dropped in the first round of his first defence against Giovanni De Carolis three months later to take a tight points win. A rematch was a natural, and De Carolis turned the tables in Offenburg with an eleventh round stoppage win.
Since that reverse, Feigenbutz has won ten on the bounce, only having to go the distance once, but his opponents have been limited at best. His last outing came in August last year in Ludwigshafen, stopping the previously unbeaten Spaniard, Cesar Nunez in eight rounds. Nunez however would go on to be stopped inside a round in his following contest in New York four months later.
Feigenbutz’s opportunity at the full world crown comes as a result of a lofty ranking with the IBF, and the question this weekend will be if he has matured into a true World level operator, or if his level belongs in knocking out limited opposition.
Prediction: I can see Feigenbutz going for raw power early here, in an attempt to take Plant out of his comfort zone. Plant though, has power of his own, and may discourage the German visitor in the early going himself. I think once the feeling out process is over, Plant should take over in the middle rounds, and could well force a stoppage in the championship rounds.