Love can’t wait to headline show in Cleveland

Montana Love fulfills a dream on Saturday night – headlining for the first time in his hometown of Cleveland as he faces Steve Spark for the WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight title at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday night (November 12)(DAZN).

Love (18-0-1 9 KOs) tops the bill in the sports mad Ohio city and on his second appearance at the home of NBA giants, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Love meets Australian Spark (15-2 14 KOs) in a pivotal clash in the 140lb division, with ranking positions and World title shots at the front of the hometown man’s mind.

“The city is showing me love and getting behind me,” said Love. “It’s a proud city and we look after each other and back. It’s a dream come true, being able to headline in the biggest arena in my home. Cleveland means everything to me. We don’t have much, but we stick together and get the job done.

“The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is an electric place, we’ve had a lot of great athletes come through the city in that building, and now I am one of them. I am living my dream, I went through the trials and tribulations to get here, and what I had to deal with is a big part of what makes me hungry now.

“I promised my mother that I would take this 100 per cent seriously. The last thing she remembers of me is going to prison and being in and out of jail, so now I am trying to right my wrongs.

“I feel like I am made for this moment. I am coming off being co-main on a Canelo card; fighting in front of a packed house in Las Vegas and I’ve fought at home in front of a big crowd before, so there’s no pressure, I’m going to embrace it.

“Steve is a tough guy; he’ll bring the fight and it’ll make for a real spectacle. I want to win this in spectacular fashion, go for the KO – but we just want to look beautiful and put on a great show.”

Love and Spark clash on a stacked card in Cleveland, with the co-main bout featuring a Matchroom debut for Richardson Hitchins also at Super-Lightweight, where the Brooklyn talent faces Yomar Alamo for the IBF North American title.

Raymond Ford continues to catch the eye in his rise in the Featherweight division and defends his WBA Continental Americas title against Sakaria Lukas and Christian Tapia takes on Cleveland’s Thomas Mattice for the WBA Continental Americas Super-Featherweight title.

Love’s older brother and Olympian Raynell Williams continues his return to boxing against fellow Ohioan Ryizeemmion Ford, Khalil Coe faces unbeaten Bradley Olmeda, Nikoloz Sekhniashvili meets Ohio’s David Rodriguez and Brazilian Olympic silver medalist and former amateur World champion Beatriz Ferreira steps through the ropes for the first time in the paid ranks against fellow Brazilian Taynna Cardoso.

Montana Love headlines show in hometown

Montana Love will headline at home in Cleveland, Ohio for the first time in his career as he defends his IBF North American Super-Lightweight title against Stevie Spark at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on November 12(DAZN).

Love (18-0-1 9 KOs) boxes in his backyard for the fourth time in his career but first time as the star attraction and does so making the first defense of the strap he landed in his last outing, outpointing Gabriel Valenzuela in Las Vegas on May 7, on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez’s clash with Dmitry Bivol.

The 27 year old is ranked at #7 in the IBF and will be looking to put on a statement performance ahead of the vacant IBF World title being claimed by either Jeremiah Ponce or Subriel Matias this fall – and the man Love will need to impress against is Australian puncher Spark, who has plenty at stake himself.

‘The Viking’ (15-2 14 KOs) penned a promotional pact with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn, and his first bout under the deal sees him straight into the Lion’s den on his US debut.

The 25 year old from Toowoomba in Queensland has ended 14 of his 15 wins inside the distance, and the former IBF and WBC Australasia Champion will be out to ruin Love’s homecoming and leap into World title contention.

“From neighborhood hero to superstar – Cleveland we did it baby!” said Love. “I am happy to announce I will be defending my title here in my hometown.

“This is something I dreamed of as a kid. I’m looking forward to putting on a superstar performance. I need everybody in my city to come out – let’s defend the land!”

“I’ve been working very hard for a lot of years for this moment,” said Spark. “I have the best team in the world who I can’t thank enough for making this possible. I’m looking forward to exploding into the international boxing scene with a spectacular win. The American boxing fans are in for a treat, as I believe they will love my all-action style.

“We respect the fighter Montana Love is, he is highly credentialed but that’s why we took this fight. We are coming prepared, and we are coming to win. Come November 12, there will be no Love!”

Early undercard news will be released soon.

Love-Valenzuela, Hrgovic-Zhang added to Canelo-Bivol undercard

Montana Love and Gabriel Valenzuela will clash in a Super-Lightweight battle on the undercard for Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 7, live on DAZN, excluding Latin America and Mexico. In the U.S. & Canada, the event will be offered exclusively on DAZN Pay-Per View (PPV). Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, March 23.

Love (17-0-1, 9 KOs) will fight under the Matchroom banner for the second time and on back-to-back Las Vegas fights, having dispatched Carlos Diaz inside three rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in December. The Cleveland man is ranked #12 with the IBF and will look to crash into the top ten in style on The Strip but will need to be on his A-game against Valenzuela (25-2-1, 15 KOs).

The Mexican crashed into top ten with a road-win over Robbie Davies Jr. in London last February and has recorded a pair of KO wins in his homeland since that night. The May 7 showdown is a huge opportunity for him to sparkle in the spotlight alongside his fellow countryman Canelo, in a fight in association with Clase Y Talento and Canelo Promotions.

“Nothing changes on May 7,” said Love. “He’s just another body in the way.”

“I’m so proud to be sharing a spot on the card with such a great Champion, Canelo Alvarez,” said Valenzuela. “We’re prepared for this and training very hard for this fight against Montana Love. He’s a tough opponent but we’re going to come very hard to get the victory. That night Mexico is coming with everything we have.”

Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) sits #3 in the IBF rankings and the giant Croatian has been hunting a dance partner for a showdown to name the mandatory challenger for the title held by Oleksandr Usyk. The 29-year-old Olympic bronze medalist has cut a lethal swathe through the pro ranks to sit in a prime position for a deserved shot at the big prize, ending all but two of his fights inside the distance, and not going past the fifth round in his last seven outings.

A host of Heavyweights were offered the clash with the dangerous Croat, but not until it came to #13 ranked Zhang (23-0-1, 18 KOs) was a dance partner found, with the lofty Chinese star accepting the challenge. The 38-year-old has been circling for a major showdown, and ‘Big Bang’ gets his wish against Hrgovic in Sin City with the two KO artist promising to leave it all in the ring with the stakes so high.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for more than year,” said Hrgović. “Finally, I have an opponent willing to face me for the chance to fight for the IBF World title. So many fighters turned down this challenge so credit to Zhang for being brave enough to accept.

“I know he’s a good opponent. He won silver at the Olympics so that means he’s a good boxer, but he is too slow on his feet, and I believe I have better the qualities. My speed, stamina and footwork will be too much for him. I will break him down and I will beat him.

“I’m now only one fight away from my dream of boxing for a World title and nothing is going to stop me. Canelo is the face of boxing and I’m excited to get this opportunity on such a big show.
I’m ready to show the whole world that ‘El Animal’ is coming!”

“I am very happy that this fight is going to happen,” said Zhang. “I’ve been waiting on an opportunity – now it’s here and I’m not going to let it pass. When no-one else from the top 15 wanted to face Hrgovic, I told myself I had to do it for me and for the sport of boxing. This is the most important fight of my whole career. I’m all in. Don’t miss it!”

“Finally, we’ve found an opponent willing to accept the challenge,” said promoter Kalle Sauerland. “Having gone through the IBF rankings twice, Zhang has stepped up to face Filip Hrgović in an IBF World title final eliminator. We now have ‘El Animal’ versus ‘Big Bang’ for a shot at the biggest prize in boxing. This epic battle is going to light up T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where fans can witness the next Heavyweight Champion of the World in action.”

Love-Valenzuela and Hrgovic-Zhang lead the undercard for a blockbuster main event that sees pound-for-pound Mexican king Canelo looking to become a two-time World ruler at 175 lbs against long-reigning WBA champion Bivol on Cinco De Mayo weekend.