Newly crowned World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental light heavyweight champion Kareem Hackett (12-0, 6 KOs), a first for a Toronto fighter, has cracked the WBA world ratings at No. 14.
Hackett was a 4-1 underdog in his most recent fight this past September 20th in Plant City, Florida, against undefeated Australian Clay Waterman (11-0). Toronto native Hackett became the first boxer from his hometown to capture the WBC Intercontinental title, nearly pitching a complete shutout in the process, as only one judge gave his opponent a single round (100-90, 100-90, 99-91).
In a thoroughly dominant performance, Hackett effectively used slick hands, distance and movement for his impressive victory, for which he was rewarded with a new title belt and No. 14 world rating in the WBA.
“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,” promotional free agent Hackett said. “It was a solid win; I was strong from start to finish, in good shape and my work rate increased with each round. The WAB 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.”
The added exposure he gained from defeating Waterman on the ProBox stream will most certainly pay dividends 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 a resident of North Hollywood (CA), Hackett lives only a block away from where he trains at Brickhouse Boxing Club, where he is trained by rising coaching star Julian Chua and former heavyweight boxer, Malik Scott.
“This is my second home,” Hackett noted. “I train at Brickhouse seven days a week, including holidays. I just go from home to the gym and back. I’m a lot more comfortable living here in a strong community.”
Hackett, 33, has gained invaluable experience from sparring sessions with world boxing champions such as his 3PM stablemate, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, as well as Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, Sergio Mora, Mathew Macklin, David Benavidez, and Dmitry Bivol, as well as undefeated prospect Darius Fulghum.