Boxing Returns on ESPN NEXT TUESDAY, Fight Card for Top Rank fights here
We have waited for a sense of normalcy, but sadly, the world has had other plans. That being said boxing returns one week from today, on June 9th, which is a Tuesday on ESPN, as well as Thursday with two fights card put on by Top Rank Inc.
The first card which marks boxing return on Tuesday, June 9, as WBO featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson will take on Puerto Rican contender Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo in a 10-round super featherweight bout. Stevenson-Caraballo will kick off a blockbuster June boxing lineup, which will include multiple cards each week on the ESPN family of networks. Specifics on ESPN platforms and tune-in times to be announced soon.
Editor’s Note: Stevenson will be fighting for the first time at 130 lbs, as a professional, as Stevenson will face a lesser-known opponent on a short-notice camp to mark the return of boxing. Stevenson was originally set to face Miguel Marriaga in March, but his fight was called off by the pandemic.
Stevenson-Caraballo will be the first of multiple June events to take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom. The action will continue Thursday, June 11 when former junior featherweight world champion and top featherweight contender Jessie Magdaleno faces Dominican puncher Yenifel Vicente in a 10-rounder.
Editor’s Note: Magdaleno is on a two-fight winning streak since leaving his former coach Manny Robles, who led him to a world title in the super bantamweight division against Nonito Donaire, but lost in his next bout to Isaac Dogboe. Magdaleno is currently working with Jorge Capetillo in Las Vegas, Nevada, now looking to be a two-division world champion as he is now fighting in the featherweight division.
These events will be closed to both the public and the media, as only essential fight camp members and event staff will be permitted on site.
“I would like to thank MGM Resorts and the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their assistance in helping to bring back world-class boxing,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We are all looking forward to a spectacular summer of live boxing across ESPN platforms. Shakur is among the best young talents I’ve ever promoted, and he is going to put on a show on June 9.”
ESPN’s Top Rank play-by-play commentator, Joe Tessitore, will be calling the action from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios. Andre Ward (analyst), former #1 pound-for-pound two-division world titleholder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Tim Bradley (analyst), former two-division world titleholder and boxing insider Mark Kriegel, will join from their home studios. Boxing reporter Bernardo Osuna will be on-location in Las Vegas.
MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) vs. Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs)
10 rounds, Super Featherweight
2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Stevenson, the pride of Newark, New Jersey, is testing the waters at super featherweight following his featherweight title-winning effort over Joet Gonzalez last October. He went 4-0 in 2019, flashing the skills and athleticism that have many experts pegging him as a future pound-for-pound superstar. Caraballo has won five fights in a row and will be fighting for the first time away from Puerto Rico.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and return live boxing to ESPN,” Stevenson said. “I was really disappointed when my fight got canceled in March, and I said then that I wanted to be one of the first fights back. I stayed in shape so when that call came, I was ready. The atmosphere might be different on June 9, but I’ve fought in unique situations all over the world before so it won’t affect me. Regardless of who’s in the building, you’ll see another great performance, and I’ll remind everyone why I’m the best young fighter in boxing.”
Editor’s Note: Stevenson feels like one of these special fighters, who was a good amateur, and now a good professional winning a world title in thirteen fights, while being highly avoided by veteran fighters as the risk of fighting him outweighs the reward, prior to his world title win. Stevenson is must-see-television for all boxing enthusiasts
Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) vs. Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs)
10 rounds, Super Featherweight
Mayer, Stevenson’s 2016 Olympic teammate, has in short order become one of the faces of female boxing. The Los Angeles native is on track for a world title shot this year, but she must first defeat Joseph, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to former lightweight queen Delfine Persoon.
“I’m incredibly grateful and excited to be fighting on the first boxing card since the pandemic shutdown,” Mayer said. “I was set to travel to New York City for a fight March 17, but the quarantine went into effect the day before I was supposed to fly out. So, despite having a long, hard 10-week camp, I was unable to perform and showcase the work I had put in. I feel like I’ve leveled up my skill set, and I’m eager to show that on June 9 and capture my 13th win. It’s also great to see ESPN and Top Rank having a woman headline their first card back. I have been in camp with Shakur, and we’re ready to bring boxing back to television with exciting wins.”
Editor’s Note: Mayer continues to make great strides as a professional has put on a slew of entertaining performances, partnered with Stevenson, who shares the same coach as Mayer, who is co-trained by Kay Komora, along with Al Mitchell, it appears Top Rank is returning with two highly marketable fighters in their first bout back.
Undefeated heavyweight knockout artists Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (3-0, 3 KOs), from Toledo, Ohio, will face Johnnie Langston (8-2, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder. Anderson recently served as Tyson Fury’s chief sparring partner for the Deontay Wilder rematch.
Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (6-0, 6 KOs), a 2016 Italian Olympian, will fight Don Haynesworth (16-3-1, 14 KOs) in a six-rounder at heavyweight.
Robeisy Ramirez (2-1, 2 KOs), the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba who bested Stevenson in the 2016 gold medal match, will seek his third straight win as a pro in a six-round featherweight bout against Yeuri Andujar (5-3, 3 KOs).
In a middleweight tilt set for six or four rounds, Calvin Metcalf (10-3-1, 3 KOs) will face Atlanta native Quatavious Cash (11-2, 7 KOs).
Editor’s Note: Anderson is a fan-friendly heavyweight who has won every fight by knockout, and is someone that is highly enjoyable to watch. Likewise, Vianello is making a lot of noise in the professional ranks, and has spent time in camps with Tyson Fury as well as Joseph Parker. Ramirez has greatly underperformed as a pro, as the two-time Olympic gold medalist lost his pro debut, and has been only adequate since.
The sneaky good bout of the card is the first one, in which Calvin Metcalf, a middleweight who beat former Top Rank fighter, Joe Louie Lopez, will face Quatavious Cash, a member of The Contender series, and a talented fighter in his own right. This is an evenly matched fight.
MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) vs. Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs)
10 rounds, Featherweight
Top-ranked featherweight contender Magdaleno has defeated veterans Rafael Rivera and Rico Ramos since moving up from the junior featherweight ranks. The Las Vegas native will be fighting in his hometown for the first time since he dethroned four-weight kingpin Nonito Donaire in November 2016. Vicente, the author of numerous highlight-reel knockouts, is 11-1 with 11 knockouts in his last 12 fights.
“It feels great to be one of the first fighters back,” Magdaleno said. “I’m excited to get back in the ring, especially after my last fight was canceled. I didn’t get discouraged. I am even more ready now. I can’t wait to showcase my talent to the ESPN audience. What better way to show that the champ is back?”
Editor’s Note: Former world champion Magdaleno is looking for his third win in his new weight class as he hopes to get a world title shot next.
Adam Lopez (13-2, 6 KOs) vs. Louie Coria (12-2, 7 KOs)
10 rounds, vacant NABF Featherweight title
Lopez, a native of Glendale, California, is back following his seesaw throwdown against Oscar Valdez last November, a bout he took on a day’s notice after Valdez’s original opponent missed weight. Despite a 3.5-pound weight disadvantage, he knocked down Valdez in the second round before being stopped in the seventh. The “Glendale Gatti” will have a tough task in Coria, a Robert Garcia-trained fighter who has won three straight since a split decision loss at super featherweight.
“I will put a show on for all the fight fans around the world and show them what I’m made of,” Lopez said. “The Valdez fight was an incredible experience. I’m ready to get what’s left of 2020 going and move toward a title shot. The whole team is working hard and preparing well. Tune in. I’m going to put on a show.”
Editor’s Note: Lopez took a fight against Oscar Valdez on late-notice and even dropped Valdez, Lopez is being rewarded for his valiant effort by getting another shot on television and this time for the vacant NABF featherweight world title. Coria trains out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy and is looking for a marquee win in his own right. Good fight!
Bryan Lua (5-0, 2 KOs), from California’s Central Valley, will return following a more than two-year layoff against Dan Murray (5-3, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight.
Bantamweight prospect Gabriel Muratalla (2-0, 2 KOs) will make his 2020 debut in a four-rounder versus Fernando Robles (2-2, 0 KOs).
In a battle of unbeaten California-based lightweights scheduled for six or four rounds, Eric Mondragon (3-0, 2 KOs) will face Mike Sanchez (6-0, 2 KOs).
Editor’s Note: Lua has been out of the ring for two years and is now looking to make up for lost time as the Robert Garcia trained action fighter is looking to propel himself into a good fight by the end of this year with a solid performance. Gabriel Muratalla, comes from a fighting family as his brother Raymond is an undefeated lightweight as well, will be in action.
The best fight of the card once again will be lightweight bout between Eric Mondragon and Mike Sanchez. Sanchez just beat Diego Elizondo in Reno, last year, whereas Mondragon had to overcome issues outside of the ring to get to the point where he is at currently.