Joshua-Franklin set for April 1

Former two-time unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) fights at The O2 in London for the first time since 2016 as he begins life under the tutelage of new head trainer Derrick James.

Joshua returns to the scene of his first World Title win over Charles Martin to face another American contender in Jermain Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) on April 1.

Franklin pushed Dillian Whyte all the way in a close points loss at Wembley’s OVO Arena last November and is relishing his shot against one of the biggest names in the sport. British megastar Joshua is ready to begin his ascent back to the top of the Heavyweight division after suffering back-to-back losses to pound-for-pound great Oleksandr Usyk in London and Saudi Arabia.

This fight will be the first in Joshua’s new five-year partnership with DAZN to be streamed live, exclusive and worldwide on the digital sports entertainment platform.

Joshua vs. Franklin will be included in the £9.99 per month DAZN saver subscription, making it the first fight in over eight years that fans do not need to pay an additional pay-per-view fee to watch Joshua.

 “I’m looking forward to stepping back into the ring on April 1 at The O2 in London.” said Joshua. “Mentally and physically I feel ready. I want to put on a show and impress my coach as he has high standards. Franklin has a good style and a great attitude, which he has shown in recent fights. This will be my first fight broadcast on DAZN in the UK and it will be globally available on the platform. I want to thank DAZN for supporting both myself and the sport of boxing as a whole. I would also like to thank the team at 258 and Matchroom Boxing.”

“I’m ready to show the world why it’s time for me to take my place at the top of the Heavyweight division,” said Franklin. “Joshua had his time.  It’s my time to shock the world! This fight isn’t going to the judge’s card. I will have win number 22 come April 1. That ain’t no April Fool’s joke.”

Alongside Joshua vs. Franklin, Matchroom and DAZN have announced its largest ever schedule of content for the first half of 2023 that will see even more iconic and emerging boxing talent, including five other premium fights, on its platform alongside an ever-greater roster of other sporting entertainment.

The following shows will be shown live and exclusive on DAZN with further fights and full undercard details to be announced shortly:

Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia is on!

Many boxing fans were let down after Errol Spence-Terence Crawford was not made, but they got some good news on Thursday. 

It was announced on social media by both Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia that they would fight sometime in 2023. 

According to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, the bout will be contested at a 136-pound catchweight and is slated to take place in April and will be produced and distributed by Showtime. In addition, DAZN, which streams Garcia’s fights, will offer the PPV through its services.

Garcia is excited to get this fight done.

I’m so pumped this fight is finally in place — I want it more than anything right now,” Garcia said via Twitter. “I’ve put in the work, I’m at the prime of my career, and I know I’m going to be the biggest boxer in the world. That legacy starts today.”

Davis added via Twitter:

“I’ll be back in the ring Jan 7 stay tuned for more details! After that it’s me and Ryan signed sealed delivered…done deal!”

Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza believes this is one of the biggest fights that can be made in boxing. 

“Tank Davis vs. Ryan Garcia is one of the biggest and most exciting fights that can be made in boxing. We have two supremely talented boxers, both in their prime, who have amassed huge fanbases, meeting in a career-defining fight,” Espinoza said via a statement. “This is the epitome of a crossover boxing event. All credit to Tank and Ryan for staying the course and giving the fans the fight they want.

“SHOWTIME has delivered the three biggest pay-per-view events in television history, and we are thrilled to add this marquee event to our list of culture-moving matchups.”

Garcia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya, said this via Twitter:

“The fans have been crystal clear that the fight they want is Ryan versus Tank,” De La Hoya said. “Golden Boy Promotions and I are proud to be leading the drive to get this fight signed and are excited to get a deal finalized ASAP. It’s high time that those outside the ring stop getting in the way of those who want nothing more than to get into the ring and fight. Our motto has always been that the fans come first, and this is just another example of how we’re leading by example.”

Again, according to Davis, he will have a tune-up fight on January 7, so if all goes well, hopefully, the fight will still happen.

Ryan Garcia: ‘This is my era now’

One of the most highly anticipated lightweight showdowns in recent years is set to finally take place as rising star Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) faces off against experienced contender and Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the interim WBC Lightweight World Championship. The fight will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5 and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN in the U.S.

Information regarding the venue and the undercard will be announced shortly.

“For years, the world of boxing has been clamoring for a crossover star who can reach new audiences that have gone untapped for far too long,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Ryan Garcia stands at the precipice of doing the same thing at an incredibly young age when he takes on Luke Campbell. While transitioning Ryan’s enormous social media following to DAZN viewers is good business for Ryan, Golden Boy and DAZN, it’s more importantly good for the sport of boxing, which needs a shot in the arm right now more than ever. For the next months, we are going to work tirelessly with our partners to promote this fight — by far Ryan’s biggest test of his career —which can catapult Ryan’s career to an entire other level.”

Garcia is a 22-year-old contender who has quickly developed into one of boxing’s most popular young athletes. Since joining the Golden Boy stable in 2016, he has steadily made his case for a world title opportunity by defeating the likes of “Ruthless” Romero Duno, Francisco Fonseca, Carlos “The Solution” Morales and Jason “La Maravilla” Velez. Since joining forces with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso, the native of Victorville, Calif. has looked better than ever, improving his technical abilities and scoring knockout wins in his last five fights. But now, the toughest test of his career lies before him in Campbell, a man with whom he can prove definitively that he is championship material.

“I’ve been eagerly waiting to get back in the ring and have been working harder than ever to get here,” said Ryan Garcia. “It’s been a tough year for everyone, but I’m excited to bring the fans an escape for the night… or based on my track record, a few minutes at most. Luke’s record speaks for itself, but I’m ready to prove the doubters wrong. This is my era now and December 5th just the start of it.”

Campbell, a former WBC Silver Lightweight champion who took home a gold medal in front of his English countrymen in the 2012 London Olympic Games, is an elite fighter. Along with wins against Darleys Perez and former world champion Argenis Mendez, 33-year-old southpaw has been in very competitive fights against former unified 135-pound champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares and current unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. Whether due to his experience or his skill, Campbell is confident he can break Garcia down.

“2020 has been an extremely tough year for everyone, so I’m really pleased we can finally get this fight officially on and give the fans something to look forward to,” said Luke Campbell. “There’s been a lot of talk and he’s clearly a very highly regarded fighter, but I’m going to prove that this is far too much, far too soon and that I’m on a completely different level. I’ve fought in America before, so this will be nothing new for myself and my team. Fans or no fans, the one thing I can guarantee is that I will be coming back to the UK with the victory. Training hasn’t stopped for me, and I’m going to be in peak condition to show something very special from Luke Campbell on December 5.”

Budd-Cyborg set for January 25

Bellator is set to deliver one of the most anticipated bouts in the history of women’s MMA on Saturday, January 25 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. when reigning champ Julia Budd (13-2) defends her world featherweight title against Cris “Cyborg” (21-2, 1 NC) in the main event.

Bellator: Budd vs. Cyborg will stream live exclusively on the DAZN app at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com, DAZN and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fighting out of Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada, Budd will enter the Bellator cage in January for the fourth time since claiming the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight world title in 2017. Currently riding a winning streak of 11 bouts, including seven straight fights since joining forces with Bellator in 2015, “The Jewel” has her eyes set on a fourth consecutive world title defense when she finally has the opportunity to challenge “Cyborg.” Since knocking off Dutch legend Marloes Coenen for the 145-pound strap at Bellator 174, the Gibson MMA-product has since collected victories over top contenders Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe and Talita Nogueira. With seven of her 13 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, the former kickboxing standout will look to derail the Bellator debut of “Cyborg.”

On the heels of signing the largest contract in women’s MMA history, Cris “Cyborg” will enter the Bellator cage for the first time on January 25, with the opportunity to lay claim to Bellator gold. Just like her upcoming opponent, “Cyborg” too was an inaugural champion, winning the inaugural Strikeforce Featherweight Championship in 2009 after defeating Gina Carano. The 34-year-old Curitiba, Brazil-native’s Bellator tenure follows a three-year run in UFC,  multiple world title and a 20-fight unbeaten streak that includes notable victories against Holly Holm, Tonya Evinger, Marloes Coenen and Leslie Smith.

Canelo on Kovalev: ‘He’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like’

Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs), the face of boxing and the king of the middleweight division, will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round bout against champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith.

At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. And, shortly after signing a groundbreaking partnership with global sports streaming giant DAZN, Canelo moved into the 168-pound division by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds to become the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion.

Canelo will now look to make history once again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division, a feat only done by Julio Cesar Gonzalez in 2003. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.

“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo Alvarez. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”

On November 2nd, Kovalev, 36, will participate in his 17th consecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight world champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins near his Philadelphia home to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014. As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal in Pascal’s hometown of Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.

Kovalev suffered two controversial losses to former Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (in 2016 and 2017) and a surprise upset to Eleider Alvarez last year, but quickly regained his WBO Light Heavyweight Title each time. In August, the road warrior finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in a sold-out arena.

When asked about this fight, Kovalev said, “In order to be the best you have to beat the best. I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”

Complete card announced for Bellator 221

A total of 15 bouts for the anticipated Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull have been confirmed, as Bellator MMA returns to the “Windy City” and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. this Saturday, May 11 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT for an event streamed exclusively on DAZN.

The star-studded card is headlined by a lightweight world championship bout pitting current 155-pound titleholder Michael Chandler (19-4) against Bellator featherweight world champPatricio “Pitbull” (28-4) in a heated grudge match, as Chandler attempts to become the first fighter ever to defeat both Pitbull Brothers, while Patricio attempts to become a rare simultaneous two-division champion.

In addition, the co-main event features former two-time Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima (30-7) and undefeated British phenom Michael “Venom” Page (14-0) in a Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix semi-final matchup that carries them into the finals and a chance at a hefty one million dollar bonus for the tournament winner.

Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull will stream live exclusively on DAZN, the fastest-growing sports streaming service in the world, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Limited tickets remain available at the Allstate Arena box office, as well as Ticketmaster.com and Bellator.com.

Also competing on the main card is top featherweight prospect A.J. McKee (13-0), as he prepares to face the promotion’s former 145-pound champion Pat Curran (23-7) on the Crystal Lake, Illinois-fighter’s home turf. Also, former WWE champion Jake Hager (1-0), previously known as “Jack Swagger,” is set to make his second Bellator appearance, as he looks to build on his early dominance when he meets T.J. Jones (1-1). Rounding out the main card will be the always-entertaining Tywan Claxton (4-0), who looks to remain undefeated against James Bennett (4-1) of Milwaukee.

Preliminary action for Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull begins at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and will see a featherweight contest that pits Chicago’s Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) against submission specialist Cris Lencioni (4-2), as well as the promotional debut of Greco-Roman wrestling prospect Chris Gonzalez (1-0).

Complete Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull Main Card:

Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (19-4) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” (28-4)

Welterweight World Grand Prix Semi-Final: Douglas Lima (30-7) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (14-0)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: A.J. McKee (13-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7)

Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Jake Hager (1-0) vs. T.J. Jones (1-1)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: Tywan Claxton (4-0) vs. James Bennett (4-1)

Preliminary Card:

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Adil Benjilany (5-1, 1 NC) vs. Cris Lencioni (4-2)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Chris Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Charlie Radtke (2-1)

Bantamtweight Undercard Bout: Bryan Bautista (1-0) vs. Rob Fenicle (1-0)

Lightweight Undercard Bout: Adam Ward (18-11) vs. Amartuvshin Khuukhenkhuu (9-4)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Jose Leon (Pro Debut) vs. Christian Rodriguez (Pro Debut)

Bantamweight Undercard Bout: Askar Askar (9-0) vs. Taylor Moore (9-4)

Light Heavyweight Undercard Bout: James Bochnovic (9-4) vs. Robert Morrow (28-24-1, 1 NC)

Heavyweight Undercard Bout: Dave Latoria (Pro Debut) vs. Jason Belyew (0-1)

Featherweight Undercard Bout: Joey Diehl (12-9) vs. Jesse Bazzi (9-6)

Welterweight Undercard Bout: Scott Writz (2-0) vs. Josh Streacker (5-2)

 

Devin Haney signs with Matchroom Boxing

Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddie Hearn are delighted to announce the signing of Lightweight star Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney.

Haney (21-0 13 KOs) has raced to the top of the Lightweight rankings and is on the cusp of fighting for his first World title ahead of turning 21 in November.

‘The Dream’ has rattled off 21 wins since turning pro in Mexico in 2015 at 16 years of age following a stellar amateur career that saw him crowned junior amateur champion seven times and plunder 130 wins.

The Las Vegas-based talent now sits at number three in the WBC rankings where the Lightweight title is now vacant, five in the WBA, eight in the WBO and ten in the IBF – and Haney will look to make a big statement on his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.

“I’m excited about my multi-million dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing.  All this hard work is finally paying off. This is a huge chapter in my career. I have a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn is the perfect guy for me to go in business with.

“While Matchroom will provide the infrastructure, together we will select the best opponents to showcase my talents in the sexiest cities in the world.  I’m the future of the sport, and without a doubt in my mind… I’m going to continue to set the boxing world on fire.  Matchroom and DAZN now have another superstar… ME!”

“Antonio Moran is a tough fighter with a lot of experience.  He has been in the ring with good opposition.  He fought Jose Pedraza to a decision last year, so I know he comes to fight.  I expect nothing less from him on May 25.  I’ve been in the gym working hard.  Everyone knows that I stay ready and May 25 can’t come soon enough.  On fight night the world will see I’m ready for anyone.”

“Devin Haney is a superstar – no two ways about it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “At just 20 years old he has already racked up 21 victories, untouched as a pro and has become one of the most talked about fighters in America.

“The big fights are right in front of him, he is ready for anyone and we look forward to a wonderful partnership together. DAZN has another exceptional talent on their platform and we look forward to his Matchroom and DAZN debut on the huge Usyk vs. Takam card May 25 at MGM National Harbor.”

Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a huge night of action in Maryland as Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after dominating the Cruiserweight division, and takes on former World title challenger Carlos Takam.  In addition, rising Heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic takes on Gregory Corbin in his US debut, and WBA World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez.

GGG: ‘I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show back to MSG’

It’s a whole new ballgame for boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN!  Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, brings his Big Drama Show back to the “Mecca of Boxing” — Madison Square Garden for the first time in over two years in his eagerly-awaited DAZN debut on Saturday, June 8.

Golovkin, whose resume includes a record 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses (18 by way of knockout), has consistently drawn packed houses to the five previous events he has headlined at The Garden, dating back to 2013.  He will rumble with undefeated Top-10 contender and Kronk Gym alumnus STEVE ROLLS (19-0, 10 KOs), from Toronto, Canada, in a battle, scheduled for 12 rounds, at a maximum weight of 164 pounds.  Golovkin vs. Rolls kicks off the exclusive six-fight, three-year global partnership between GGG Promotions and DAZN, the world’s fastest-growing sports streaming platform.

A two-city press tour, featuring both fighters, will take place next week, starting at Madison Square Garden on Monday, April 22, and concluding in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 23.  Details on those events will be forthcoming.

Notably, this will be the second of two major boxing events The Garden will host on back-to-back boxing weekends – both of which will be live exclusively on DAZN.  England’s Anthony Joshua will make his United States and Madison Square Garden debut in a defense of his unified heavyweight title against Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller on June 1, just one week before Golovkin’s highly anticipated return on June 8.

“I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show back to Madison Square Garden.  The Garden’s fans are fantastic,” said Golovkin.  “I love boxing and I promise to bring the best of me to everyone who will be watching me in an all-action fight with Steve Rolls.  I am very happy that GGG Promotions has a new home at DAZN.”

Golovkin, 37, has reigned supreme in the Middleweight Division for nearly a decade.  Eighteen of his record 20 title defenses came by way of knockout — a 90% ratio — which is sure to remain the division’s highest knockout percentage for a world champion.  Golovkin’s tenure as champion ended when he lost a hotly disputed majority decision in a rematch with Canelo Alvarez last September.

A dominant amateur standout and Olympic Silver Medalist before turning professional in 2006, Golovkin’s career has been on a historic trajectory, including a 23-fight victory-by-knockout streak and unifying the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO World Middleweight Titles.  Golovkin has also proven himself to be box office gold.  He has sold out the most iconic arenas of the world, including Madison Square Garden, T-Mobile Arena, O2 Arena, The Fabulous Forum, and StubHub Center.

Rolls, 35, making his debut at The Garden, will be looking to ice Golovkin with his version of a Canadian cold front.  In his most recent fight, he won the vacant USBA middleweight title last December, via unanimous decision, over KeAndrae Leatherwood.  World-rated No. 9 rated by the IBF, Rolls has stopped four of his last seven opponents while keeping his record perfect.

Katie Taylor: I can become the greatest

Katie Taylor believes that she can become the greatest female fighter ever as she meets Rose Volante in a World Lightweight unification clash at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA on tonight (March 15), live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

IBF and WBA ruler Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify for a second time against the Brazilian WBO champion Volante (14-0 8 KOs) having added the IBF strap to her WBA belt in April in Brooklyn, New York beating Victoria Bustos and now places those belts on the line for the fourth time.

The Irish favorite can take a step closer to her goal of becoming the undisputed champion on St. Patrick’s weekend, with a summer showdown with WBC ruler Delfine Persoon on the cards to enable Taylor to own all four belts at 135lbs – with promoter Eddie Hearn saying this week that that clash could take Taylor back to Madison Square Garden, New York on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s World Heavyweight title showdown with Jarrell Miller on June 1.

The 32 year old has targeted mega fights later in the year with seven-weight World ruler Amanda Serrano and undisputed Welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus – the types of fights that could make Taylor go down in history as one of the true greats.

“I want to be an undisputed champion, I want to make history in the sport, leave behind a legacy and be known as the best of all time for years and years to come,” said Taylor.

“I wake up every day so blessed and grateful to be able to do something that I love, even on those days that I am not in the mood to train, and I do have those days, we all do.

“The biggest challenge is to change people’s perception of the sport. There are still a lot of people that don’t agree with women’s boxing but I think that is definitely changing and people are seeing the best of women’s boxing right now.

“I’m very lucky to have been given this platform to perform on these big stages and giving women’s boxing the showcase that it deserves. People hadn’t seen the best of the sport before but with Sky Sports and DAZN backing us, we’re on a high – it’s a golden era.

“You are seeing the Olympians turning over to the pros now and that’s huge for the sport, the strength in depth really is there now, especially around Lightweight – there’s a stack of new stars in the sport and that’s why it’s great that there are big fights out there for me.

“I would love to fight at MSG again, it was incredible to box there on the Canelo card, it was phenomenal. I just fight wherever I am told.

“Anyone in the opposite corner is big competition for me but the public want to see the Amanda Serrano fight – it’s one of the biggest in boxing right now, not just in the women’s game but in general, but I am well aware that we both need to keep winning to make it happen and all that is on my mind right now is Rose Volante tonight, I have to get past that.”

Taylor’s clash with Volante is part of a massive night of action as local hero Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs).

Philadelphia Middleweight warrior Gabriel Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) faces Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) for the WBO International title and a likely World title shot at Demetrius Andrade, Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

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Vargas-Soto to battle on April 26

Former two-weight World champions Jessie Vargas and Humberto Soto will clash in a vital showdown for their World title ambitions on a blockbuster bill at The Forum, Los Angeles on Friday April 26, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Vargas and Soto will meet at 151 pounds as they both look to add a third weight class to their World title CVs later in the year at Super-Welterweight.

Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs) kicked-off the live American shows on DAZN in an entertaining Welterweight showdown with Thomas Dulorme in Chicago in October, with the fight ending in a draw. The Las Vegas man has now identified World honors at 154lbs as his next target, with Mexican talent and WBO ruler Jaime Munguia top of the hitlist as he defends his title against Dennis Hogan two weeks before Vargas and Soto meet, live on DAZN.

Soto (69-9-2 37 KOs) breathed new life into his career with a great win over Brandon Rios in a tear-up in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico in February. The 38 year old is chasing the 70th pro win of his remarkable career, and could force his way into a clash with fellow countryman Munguia.

“I’m excited for my return to the ring on April 26,” said Vargas. “Humberto Soto is the opponent and I’m preparing accordingly with my coaches to give my fans an entertaining fight as always.

“Soto is an experience World class fighter who challenged me immediately after his win over Brandon Rios. The challenge has been accepted and on April 26, I plan to come out victorious.”

“The odds were against me in my last fight against Brandon Rios and I know that this fight will not be any different,” said Soto. “This gives me extra motivation to prove everyone wrong again and to add a third loss to Vargas’ record.

“I am extremely happy for this new chapter in my career and I am not going to waste this great opportunity! Like I said before, this is a do or die fight!”

“Vargas vs. Soto completes a huge card in LA on April 26,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Soto was outstanding in defeating Brandon Rios a few weeks back in Mexico and goes into this fight full of confidence attempting to upset the odds again.

“Jessie will take this fight at 151 pounds as he makes the transition to 154 pounds and can’t afford an upset as he targets Jamie Munguia later this year. With Rungvisai vs Estrada, Roman vs. Doheny and now Vargas vs. Soto, this is a show fight fans do no not want to miss.”

Vargas’ clash with Soto is part of a huge night of action on Matchroom Boxing USA’s first show in Los Angeles, topped by two massive World title fights as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1 41KOs) and Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3 26KOs) meet in a rematch for Rungvisai’s WBC and Ring Magazine titles and WBA Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman and IBF king TJ Doheny meet in a unification battle.

It’s Vargas’ first fight under hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach, who will see his charge Scott Quigg (35-2-2 26KOs) continue his path to becoming a two-weight World champ.

Unbeaten Super-Middleweight talent Anthony Sims Jr is set for a breakout year and will fight for his first title on the bill. Sims (17-0 16 KOs), who is in action in Peterborough, England on Saturday night live on DAZN and Sky Sports, clocked three stoppage wins in the second half of 2018, and will look to convert that momentum in style in first the UK and then in LA.

Shakhram Giyasov (7-0 6KOs) and Diego Pacheco (2-0 1KO) landed wins in Tijuana, Mexico this weekend and will fight on the bill, while Eddie Hearn’s latest addition to his blossoming stable of young USA talents, Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, will make his pro debut on the card.

Tickets are on sale now prices from just $25 – to charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com, and also at the Forum Box Office.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing