Stevenson on fight with Herring: ‘You’re going to see a special night, my coming out party’

They started as acquaintances, but once Jamel Herring acquired the belt Shakur Stevenson wanted, the friendly vibes went out the window. Herring will defend his WBO junior lightweight world title against former featherweight champion Stevenson on Saturday night from State Farm Arena in Atlanta (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET).

Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) has made three defenses of the title he won from Masayuki Ito in May 2019. Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is considered by many to be the heir to the pound-for-pound throne. He picked up the interim world title in June with a dominant decision over Jeremiah Nakathila.

When Herring and Stevenson had their final faceoff, the fighters and their teams exchanged verbal barbs, with Stevenson grabbing Herring’s belt on multiple occasions. They were separated and will resume the jawing at Friday’s weigh-in.

The ESPN main card will also feature Puerto Rican star Xander Zayas (10-0, 7 KOs) in a six-round junior middleweight bout against Dan Karpency, and the second pro bout for middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest.”

The ESPN+ undercard stream (7:30 p.m. ET) will showcase junior middleweight prospect Evan Holyfield (7-0, 5 KOs), son of Atlanta legend and former four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

At Thursday’s final press conference, this is what the combatants had to say.

Jamel Herring:

“The odds just play to my story. I’ve always been an underdog, not just in boxing but in life, so I don’t get into the oddsmaker thing. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

“It’s not personal, it’s just business. We’re building a fight is all it means to me. I’ve heard worse and been through worse. We’re just two top competitors in the division trying to prove who is the best.”

“It just feels like another elite level fight in a loaded and talented division, so we just take it one fight at a time. We put all personal feelings to the side and just go to work and do what we have to do.”

“Atlanta is cool. I have family out here. My sons live out here as well. It’s another home and it’s an honor just to be fighting in the State Farm Arena because there’s not a lot of fights coming into town, so whenever you can bring a special fight to a certain city, it’s always a great thing.”

Shakur Stevenson:

“It means everything to me. This is my first time being able to go against a champion and being able to take a champion’s belt will mean a lot to me…. and I can’t wait to hear them say, “AND THE NEW!'”

“It’s definitely not personal, just business at the end of the day. He’s not my friend. I don’t hit him up and say, ‘let’s fight.'” We don’t have any conversations. I don’t talk to Jamel Herring outside of boxing.”

“It’s going to feel real good beating the whole team. I can’t wait to go against {Herring trainers Brian McIntyre and Red Spikes}. It’s not just Jamel that I’m fighting. I’ve got to beat Bomac and Red, and it’ll feel good doing that.”

“You’re going to see a special night, my coming out party. It’s going to be a great night, and he said he’s going to spoil the party, so let’s see if he can do it.”

Valdez: ‘We all want the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring’

It’s been a rough few weeks for WBC 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez(30-0, 23 KOs), as it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned substance(phentermine).

Despite testing positive, Valdez was still able to fight Robson Conceicao(16-1, 8 KOs) on Friday night as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission and the WBC let the fight go on.

Ultimately, Valdez would defeat Conceicao by unanimous decision (115-112 2x and 117-110) in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,545 at Casino Del Sol in Tuscon, Arizona, to retain his title.

Conceicao, who was using his jab effectively, throwing combinations and consistently landing against Valdez, dominated the early part of the fight, but to Valdez’s credit, he battled hard in the second half of the fight, which helped him get the victory. 

One judge had Valdez winning the final seven rounds, while another had Valdez winning six of the final seven.

Valdez was aided by the referee, who deducted a point from Conceicao for a rabbit punch that was more like a tap in the ninth round. The point deduction was questionable at best.

This was Valdez’s first defense of his title after stopping MigueL Berchelt in February, and he survived.

Conceicao did not like the decision, and according to Valdez, he was disrespectful after the fight.

“He’s(Conceicao) over here yelling in my face,” Valdez said. “We’re grown men. Don’t be yelling in my face. He might be upset. Of course, you want to be a world champion, but don’t point at me, don’t be yelling in my face. I’ve been through enough this week, man,” Valdez said. “It makes the fight complicated when someone is trying to run the whole fight. I’m trying to put on a good show for my fans, give the fans what they want, which is a good fight. If he wants to run, you can’t win a fight running like that.”

Canceicao added: “This is boxing. I cannot go with his game. I played my game. Look at his face and look at my face. I have nothing on my face. Oscar’s is all fu—- up. I won this fight.”

After this win, Valdez has his sights set on the winner of the October 23 bout between WBO champion Jamel Herring and unbeaten star Shakur Stevenson.

“We all want the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring,” Valdez said. “Let’s do it.”

Look, Valdez probably should not have been fighting on Friday night and probably should have been stripped of his title. However, this is boxing, so at times, the sport can be a mess. Fortunately, for all parties involved, no one was seriously hurt.

(Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Stevenson on Herring: ‘I am going to take his world title in devastating fashion on October 23’

Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and Shakur Stevenson have been talking about fighting each other for some time, and now, it’s on! 

Herring will defend his WBO junior lightweight world title against former featherweight world champion Stevenson on Saturday, October 23, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta(ESPN).

The 35-year-old Herring (23-2, 11 KOs), a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is looking to make his fourth straight successful title defense against Stevenson(16-0, 8 KOs).

Herring was at his best in April when he knocked out former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton in Dubai. However, defeating Stevenson won’t be easy, but when it’s all said and done, Herring plans to end the year the way he started it, which means a win.

“2021 has been good to me so far. I started the year with a big fight and a major win over Frampton,” Herring said via a press release. “I look forward to finishing out the year the same way I started it, not only with another huge victory but as a world champion. I have nothing else to say. I’m focused on October 23 and the fourth title defense of my WBO belt.”

Stevenson is 3-0 at junior lightweight, most recently picking up the interim WBO junior lightweight world title in June with a shutout decision over Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakathila.

According to the 24-year-old Stevenson, a former WBO featherweight world champion who vacated the title last year to move up to junior lightweight, Herring had no choice but to fight him.

“Jamel had to fight me, or he would’ve been stripped of his world title,” Stevenson said. “I boxed him into a corner, and I am going to take his world title in devastating fashion on October 23. I can’t wait to fight in front of the amazing fans in Atlanta. Trust me, you are going to see a show, and I will become a two-weight world champion.”

This is Stevenson’s moment to shine, but Herring won’t lie down. Expect a fun night in ATL.



Ali Walsh goes for victory number two:

Nico Ali Walsh (1-0, 1 KO), grandson of “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, looks to make it 2 for 2 against an opponent to be named in a four-round middleweight special attraction.

Ali Walsh’s Aug. 14 professional debut drew international media attention, and he knocked out Jordan Weeks in the opening round while wearing a pair of his grandfather’s old trunks. He’ll make his ring return in a city that hosted two of Muhammad Ali’s most memorable moments. State Farm Arena sits less than two miles from the Atlanta Olympic Cauldron Tower, where Ali lit the Olympic flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In October 1970, Ali fought Jerry Quarry at City Auditorium, his first fight in more than three years after being banned from the ring for refusing induction into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Ali Walsh’s second pro fight will come three days shy of the 51st anniversary of the Quarry fight, which Ali won by third-round knockout.

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — will see the professional comeback of U.S. Olympic silver medalist Duke Ragan (4-0, 1 KO) in a six-round featherweight bout, Ragan’s Olympic teammate Troy Isley (2-0, 1 KO) in a six-rounder at middleweight, Georgia native Haven Brady Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) in a four-round featherweight tilt, and the A-Town debut of junior middleweight prospect Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield (7-0, 5 KOs), an Atlanta native and the son of heavyweight legend Evander Holyfield. 

Stevenson: ‘I didn’t really like my performance’

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Shakur Stevenson dominated Jeremiah Nakathila from start to finish to win by a wide, unanimous decision (120-107, 3x) to win the vacant WBO interim junior lightweight world title Saturday at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. 

Stevenson(16-0, 8 KOs) knocked down Nakathila (21-2, 17 KOs) with a right hook in the fourth round and cruised from there.

Even though he won the fight, Stevenson was not happy with his performance.

 “To be honest, I didn’t really like my performance,” Stevenson said. “I felt I could’ve performed a lot better, but it was an awkward fighter. You had an awkward fighter throwing hard punches, and he knows how to grab and get away. He was a real awkward fighter. That’s all.

“I tried to {get him out of there} a little bit, but I started getting hit with some solid shots. I ain’t really like it, but next time I’m going to work on moving my head a little bit more and step it up a little more.”

With Nakathila out of the way, Stevenson has more prominent names in mind. Stevenson, a former featherweight world champion looking to conquer a second-weight division, is in line to battle WBO 130-pound champion, Jamel Herring. However, according to Stevenson, he rather fight WBC 130-pound champion, Oscar Valdez.

“If I had the choice, I’d take Oscar Valdez,” he said. “But if I had to beat up Jamel {Herring} to get to it, I’ll do that, too.”

Stevenson did what he had to on Saturday night, and with his skill set and ability, he’s going to be tough to beat.

Pedraza Takes Rodriguez to School

Youth was no match for experience, as former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs) barreled his way into the junior welterweight world title picture with an eighth-round stoppage over the previously undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (21-1, 14 KOs). Rodriguez’s left eye swelled up early, and following the eighth round, he told his corner he could no longer see out of the injured eye.

Pedraza has now won three straight bouts since losing his junior welterweight debut to Jose Zepeda. At the time of the stoppage, he held a 77-75 lead on all three judges’ cards. 

Pedraza said, “My experience was too much for him. I was hungrier than him, and he was just another obstacle in my journey to become a three-division world champion. That is my goal.
 
“I want all the big names at 140 pounds. With this performance, I sent a message to those big names. The ‘Sniper’ is on the hunt. I want to make history for Puerto Rico.
 
“As the fight went on, I could see him weakening, and I took advantage.”

Junior Lightweight: Manuel Rey Rojas (21-5, 6 KOs) UD 8 Tyler McCreary (16-2-1, 7 KOs). Scores: 80-72 2x and 79-73. Dallas native Rojas applied the pressure and registered the most significant win of his career. He dropped a unanimous decision to Albert Bell two months ago and rebounded in fine fashion against Toledo’s McCreary, a one-time top prospect who has now lost two in a row.

Junior Welterweight: John Bauza (15-0, 6 KOs) TKO 2 Christon Edwards (12-3, 6 KO), :40. Bauza, in his first fight in nearly a year, fought like his trunks were on fire, as he dropped the Houston-based veteran Edwards three times in 3:40 of action. Bauza, from Cataño, Puerto Rico, scored his first stoppage since December 2017.

Welterweight: Xander Zayas (9-0, 7 KOs) TKO 3 Larry Fryers (11-4, 4 KOs), 1:02. The 18-year-old Puerto Rican prodigy added yet another highlight to his growing reel, as he battered Irish veteran Fryers from pillar to post until referee Celestino Ruiz mercifully stopped the fight. After the stoppage, Zayas leaped on one of the neutral corner ropes and proclaimed, “This is Boxing. This is Top Rank.” 

Junior Lightweight: Bryan Lua (8-0, 3 KOs) UD 6 Frevian Gonzalez (4-1, 1 KO). Scores: 60-54 2x and 58-56. In a battle of unbeatens, California Central Valley product Lua’s power told the story, as he repeatedly moved back his Puerto Rican foe. Lua has now won three straight since returning from a more than two-year layoff.

Middleweight: Troy Isley (2-0, 1 KO) TKO 4 LaQuan Evans (4-2, 2 KOs). 2:26. Isley, who will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, fit in a last-round knockout before his gold medal quest. Isley was dominating the action until referee Russell Mora in stepped with only 34 seconds remaining in the four-rounder.

Welterweight: Kasir Goldston (3-0, 1 KO) UD 4 Maurice Anthony (3-2, 3 KOs). Scores: 40-36 3x. Goldston impressed in his 2021 debut in turning back the hard-charging Anthony, who had won two straight by knockout entering the evening.  

Welterweight: Jahi Tucker (4-0, 2 KOs) UD 4 Ysrael Barboza (3-2-1, 3 KOs). Scores: 40-36 3x. The 18-year-old Tucker passed the stiffest test of his young career, using his superior athletic ability to shut out Texas native Barboza. 

Pedraza-Rodriguez added to Stevenson-Nakathila undercard

Former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza has set his aim on another title. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, will take on the undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez in a 10-round junior welterweight tilt Saturday, June 12 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
 
Pedraza-Rodriguez will serve as the co-feature to the WBO interim junior lightweight title bout between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila. Both bouts will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
 
The undercard will showcase the return of undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight prodigy Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout. Zayas is coming off a first-round knockout on April 24 in Kissimmee, Florida.
 
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50 go on sale Friday, May 14 at 12 p.m. PT, and can be purchased by visiting Etix.com.

“This is a classic matchup featuring a former world champion in Pedraza against a young kid in Rodriguez, who is eager to prove he belongs at the world level,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I am also excited to see Xander Zayas, who has grown so much as a young man and a fighter since Top Rank signed him as a 16-year-old.”
 
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) is 2-1 since moving up from lightweight, where he won the WBO world title over Ray Beltran before falling short in a unification matchup against Vasiliy Lomachenko. He had an inauspicious junior welterweight debut when he lost a one-sided decision to Jose “Chon” Zepeda, but he has since notched unanimous decisions over Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina. Ranked No. 6 by the WBO, Pedraza hopes a win over Rodriguez leads to another crack at world title glory.
 
“It has been almost a year without fighting.  I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to bring home another win that will bring happiness to my people,” Pedraza said. “I like that this fight is against a hungry contender like Julian Rodriguez. I always like the idea of facing the best opponents because they bring the best out of me. I know that with a big win on June 12, I will get closer to a world title shot. That’s what we are fighting for.”
 
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), from Bergen County, New Jersey, turned pro in 2013 following a storied amateur career that included a 2013 National Golden Gloves title and victories over the likes of former world champion Robert Easter Jr. He is 5-0 with four knockouts since returning from a nearly two-year layoff in July 2019, including a first-round knockout last August over the previously undefeated Anthony Laureano. Rodriguez has long called for a step-up bout, and if he beats Pedraza, he’ll immediately enter the ranks of the top 140-pound contenders.
 
Rodriguez said, “I know what I bring to the table. There’s not one thing in his arsenal that’s sharper than mine. He brings the experience, but he’s been broken a few times. This opportunity is a long time coming. I’m focused. It’s hard to look at my two children and not be determined to go in there and break that guy’s ribs.”

Herring: ‘They called me every name in the book, but even with the cut, I wasn’t going to give up’

In the biggest fight of his career, Jamel Herring came up big and dominated and then stopped Carl Frampton in the sixth round to retain his WBO junior lightweight world title Saturday from Caesars Bluewaters Dubai.

The 35-year-old Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) dropped Frampton twice in the fight, the second one coming in the sixth round courtesy of a brutal uppercut. A follow-up assault prompted Frampton’s corner to throw in the towel, and with that, Herring gets his signature victory and his first stoppage win since May 2018.

“It was an emotional rollercoaster just to get here,” Herring said. “My last outing was not my best. People doubted me. They called me every name in the book, but even with the cut, I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to quit, and Carl Frampton is a tremendous champion. I’ve been a fan since day one. It’s tough to see any veteran of the sport go out like that.”

Frampton (28-3, 16 KOs), from Belfast, was attempting to become the first man from the island of Ireland to win world titles in three weight classes. Having fallen short of that goal, the 34-year-old elected to retire.

“I said before the fight I’d retire if I lost, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Frampton said. “I want to just to dedicate my life to my family now. Boxing has been good to me. It’s also been bad to me, but the last few years with these boys have been the best years of my career. I just want to go home to my beautiful wife and kids, and that’s it.

“I just got beat by the better man. I really struggled to get inside on him.”

Will Frampton retire? Who knows. Boxers emotionally retire after fights all the time, so we’ll see what happens next. Regarding Herring, does he unify with WBC 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez, or will he battle WBO number one contender Shakur Stevenson? It should be interesting, but if you’re Herring, you want to unify, so Valdez, who is signed to Top Rank like Herring, and someone he called out after the fight, seems to be the obvious choice. 

Courtesy: D4G Promotions

Stevenson dominates Clary; Berlanga gets another first-round knockout

The sensational Shakur Stevenson played the role of headliner and shined. Stevenson, the former featherweight world champion, secured a 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Toka Kahn Clary in the junior lightweight main event Saturday from the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), the WBO No. 1 junior lightweight contender, has a title shot on his brain, but he nonetheless laid a beating on Clary (28-3, 19 KOs). The scorecards — 100-90 across the board — were a formality.

Up next, if he gets his wish, is a shot at the WBO junior lightweight world title.

“He knew how to survive. He came in there to survive, and that’s what he did,” Stevenson said. “I want the WBO belt first. The winner of {Carl} Frampton and {Jamel} Herring have to come see me. After that, we want {WBC world champion Miguel} Berchelt.”

Nakatani Shocks Verdejo

Trailing big on the scorecards, Masayoshi Nakatani came from behind and earned the most significant win of his career.

Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) scored a pair of knockdowns in the ninth round to stop Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo in the ninth round of a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. Knocked down in the first and fourth rounds, Nakatani, in his first bout since a decision loss to Teofimo Lopez in July 2019, stormed back with a pair of knockdowns in the ninth to clinch the shocking stoppage.

Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) saw his four-bout winning streak come to an end, and at the time of the stoppage, he was leading on all three scorecards (78-72 2x and 77-74).

After the bout, a jubilant Nakatani set his sights on a rematch with Lopez, now the undisputed lightweight world champion.

“I fought Lopez, and I wanted to fight him again, and that’s why I kept going,” Nakatani said. “I want to go for the knockout like I did today, and that’s going to be my style.”

Berlanga’s Sweet 16

Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga did it again. The Brooklyn brawler knocked out Ulises Sierra in the first round, the 16th consecutive first-round knockout for the 23-year-old phenom. Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KOs), from San Diego, had never been knocked out as a professional, but he was cannon fodder. Berlanga knocked him down three times in the opening stanza, forcing referee Russell Mora to stop the bout at 2:40. 

Berlanga said, “{I want} rounds. The better competition, the better opposition we fight, I believe we’re going to get those rounds in. We ended 2020 with a bang. 2021 is a big year for us, and I’m looking forward to it.
 
“Tito Trinidad was my idol. He still is. Just being with him opened up my eyes as to what boxing is about, the dedication, the focus, leaving the streets and the bad people alone.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Arum on Stevenson: ‘He is a future pound-for-pound superstar’

Shakur Stevenson and boxing came back with a bang on Wednesday night. The WBO featherweight world champion, who was making his super featherweight debut, knocked out Puerto Rican contender Felix Caraballo in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-rounder at MGM Grand Conference Center—Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas.

Stevenson showcased his talents in the first significant boxing card in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

A body shot spelled the end for Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs), who had won five in a row before tonight. For Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), the sky remains the limit. 

Everything about this fight week was different. After my last fight was canceled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans,” Stevenson said. “He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”

This was a nice tune-up for Stevenson. It was an opportunity to get in some rounds, and a chance to test himself at a new weight. According to his promoter, Bob Arum, the 22-year-old Stevenson has a very bright future.

“What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson,” Arum said. “He keeps on getting better, and rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar.”

Stevenson is special, and based on what we have seen thus far in his career, he can be one of the best in the sport. It should be interesting to see if he goes back down to 126 or stays at 130. All that will probably depend on the opportunities that are out there.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

Stevenson-Caraballo set for June 9; Magdaleno-Vicente set for June 11

It can all be summarized in three long-awaited words: boxing is back.

Top Rank on ESPN returns 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.

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.

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.

June 9
MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Main Event
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.”

Co-Feature
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.”

Undercard

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).

June 11
MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom
Main Event
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?”

Co-Feature
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.”

Undercard

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).

Stevenson-Marriaga, Conlan-Preciado postponed

Here is a statement from Top Rank Boxing on the postponement of Stevenson-Marriaga and Conlan-Preciado:

“After close consultation with the New York State Athletic Commission, it has been determined that Saturday’s and Tuesday’s events cannot proceed in light of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. Top Rank will work with the Commission to reschedule the events as soon as it is safe for all involved. 

“The health and safety of the fighters and their teams, and everyone involved in the promotion of these events, necessitated taking this step.

“We thank everyone for their understanding, and we will continue to work with our broadcast/venue partners and state and local officials to decide when the time is right to return.”