Dzinziruk to fight Dawson in mid-May

Updated: May 5, 2010, 3:46 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Junior middleweight titlist Sergei Dzinziruk of Ukraine, due to make his American debut May 14 on Showtime, got a new opponent Wednesday.

Dzinziruk will fight Australia's Daniel Dawson at the Chumash resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., Gary Shaw, Dzinziruk's co-promoter, told ESPN.com.

Dzinziruk (36-0, 22 KOs) was due to make the sixth defense of his 154-pound belt against untested Sherzod Husanov (14-0-1, 7 KOs) of Uzbekistan. However, Husanov is having problems obtaining a work visa to come to the United States, so they changed opponents, Shaw said.

"Husanov was having visa problems and we didn't want to take a chance he wouldn't be able to get here in time, so we made the fight with Dawson," Shaw said. "Dawson is in Los Angeles training with Justin Fortune. He's had management problems, but he's done with those problems and we have a signed contract for the fight. Everybody is OK with it. His only loss was at 160 pounds. And Dzinziruk has been here, so there are no issues."

Dawson (34-1, 24 KOs) has won five in a row since the 2007 decision loss to countryman Daniel Geale in a middleweight bout.

After a lengthy legal dispute, Dzinziruk and German promoter Universum parted ways earlier this year and he signed a co-promotional deal with American promoters Shaw and Artie Pelullo in order to come to the United States to fight regularly.

The fight this month will be the first for Dzinziruk, 34, a 1996 Olympian and 1997 world amateur champion, since outpointing Joel "Love Child" Julio in November 2008.

"I expect to see some ring rust because he hasn't been in a fight," Shaw said. "I don't care how much you spar, so I expect to see the rust. But I am glad he will finally be able to fight, even if we had to change opponents."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.