Boxing: Mendez defends crown against unbeaten Barthelemy

Two Caribbean boxers will stage the first world title bout of 2014 in the United States when Dominican Argenis Mendez defends his crown on Friday against undefeated Cuban Rances Barthelemy.

The matchup at the home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves will be the second International Boxing Federation super featherweight title defense for Mendez, who kept the crown with a majority draw against Afghanistan-born Canadian Arash Usmanee last August.

Mendez, 21-2 with one drawn and 11 knockouts, won the crown last March with a fourth-round stoppage of Mexico's Juan Carlos Salgado.

In that fight, Mendez avenged a unanimous decision loss to Salgado in 2011 in the 27-year-old Dominican's first world title bout.

Barthelemy, 27, is 19-0 with 12 knockouts. He inflicted Usmanee's only loss by unanimous decision last January.

The Miami-based Cuban booked his chance at his first world title fight last June with a second-round knockout of Thailand's Fahsai Sakkreerin.