Toronto's Kareem Hackett: Rising Star and WBA Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Champion
Kareem Hackett, the newly crowned World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Champion with a pristine record of 12-0 and 6 KOs, has made history as the first fighter from Toronto to hold this prestigious title. In a remarkable upset, he defied the odds as a 4-1 underdog in his recent showdown against undefeated Australian Clay Waterman (11-0) in Plant City, Florida, on September 20th. The victory not only earned Hackett the Intercontinental title but also propelled him to the No. 14 spot in the world rankings by the WBA.
In a dominant performance, Hackett showcased his skills by using slick handwork, impeccable distance management, and swift footwork to secure a resounding victory. The judges’ scorecards reflected his mastery, with only one judge awarding a single round to his opponent, resulting in scorecards of 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91.
“This win was significant because I’m the first fighter from Toronto to win this title, and I was a 4-1 underdog against an experienced Australian opponent, and I went 10 rounds for the first time,” stated Hackett, who is currently a promotional free agent. “It was a solid win; I was strong from start to finish, in good shape, and my work rate increased with each round. The WBA rating just came out, and I’m No. 14 in the world. By the end of this year, I’d like to crack the top 10 and next year, I’d like to trend toward a world title fight against Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev, whichever one is the belt holder. I know Bivol very well from a lot of his training camps. I’ve developed a lot since then, though.”
Hackett’s impressive victory on the ProBox stream has significantly increased his exposure and is expected to open doors for him in 2024.
“More people know me after my last fight on ProBox TV,” Hackett added. “This opportunity changed the way a lot of people view me, even from the commentators: former world champions Paulie Malignaggi, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Chris Algieri.”
Now residing in North Hollywood, California, Hackett is dedicated to his training at Brickhouse Boxing Club, just a block away from his home. Under the guidance of renowned coach Julian Chua and former heavyweight boxer Malik Scott, Hackett has found his second home and is committed to honing his skills seven days a week.
Hackett, aged 33, has had the privilege of sparring with world boxing champions, including his stablemate Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, as well as Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, Sergio Mora, Mathew Macklin, David Benavidez, Dmitry Bivol, and undefeated prospect Darius Fulghum, which has contributed to his growth as a fighter.