SAN DIEGO, May 24, 2019 – Boxing fans can graze on a buffet full of tasty fights through the Memorial Day weekend. Add a few of your favorites to your plate and you’ll end up with a satisfying meal packed with action. There are three American cards across three networks – DAZN, ESPN, and Fox Sports 1.
Oxon Hill, Maryland: Haney hopes to impress against Moran
Lightweight Devin Haney of Las Vegas (21-0, 13 KOs) steps into the ring in his first fight under the Matchroom Boxing banner on DAZN on Saturday against Antonio Moran of Mexico (24-3, 17 KOs) in a 12-round bout. The WBC and WBO Intercontinenal titles are at stake. Featured fights on the card begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m PT on DAZN USA, with undercards starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
The ambitious Haney established his own promotion operation as a teenager, emulating his original mentor Floyd Mayweather. In May, Haney and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced a new co-promotion deal. It’s a smart move for multiple reasons. Haney can grow his company while learning from Hearn, and can focus on athletics instead of business as he takes on tougher opposition. Multitasking can wait.
“I am proud to stand here today as Devin Haney’s promoter. Not only do I think he is one of the best young fighters in the world, but he is also a great man and a good ambassador for the sport,” said Hearn. “He is inspiring a generation of kids coming up and he shows them what is right and how to conduct themselves. Well done to his father Bill for raising a great young man.”
Haney says training has gone well, and he’s ready for a big breakout figjht. “I’m feeling it … I am going to show the world who I am. Moran put up a great fight with Jose Pedraza, but I’m not Pedraza … I am going to prove it on Saturday, and show you something you have never seen before, especially from a 20 year old” said the self-assured Haney.
Moran says his training in Mexico at 9,000 feet of altitude have him well-prepared. “I am planning to put all that hard work on the line on Saturday,” said Moran. Moran gave Jose Pedraza a serious challenge in 2018, losing 96-94 on all three cards. Pedraza went on to become another victim of Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Moran will test the younger Haney. Haney should marshal his motivation from his new promotional partnership and showcase on Saturday. He has the opportunity for a great first impression with many new fans, but Moran will make him work for it. Both have enough power to be dangerous but not so much to freeze each other out.
Super lightweight titles on the line for Jessica McCaskill and Arahi Sanchez
Two women’s super lightweight world titles are on the line in a unification fight between WBC champiion Jessica McCaskill of Chicago (6-2, 3 KOs) and WBA champion Arahi Sanchez of Argentina (19-3, 11 KOs). This promises to be an all-action fight. McCaskill’s only loss came when she moved down to lightweight to test herself against women’s pound for pound unified champion Katie Taylor. McCaskill came back in 2018 to win a super victory against Erica Farias to win her current title.
The veteran Farias, a three division champion, suffered her own defeat to Taylor in 2017, two months before McCaskill. She has scored two knockout wins since then, and she’s ready for a third.
McCaskill says it’s a little crazy she’s getting the opportunity to fight in a title unification in only her ninth pro bout, but she’s ready. “I’ve always been the udnerdog and that’s something we roll off our back and just do what we know best,” said McCaskill. “I’m looking for this to be a great fight. Argentinian fighters always come forward and I like to come forward too..”
McCaskill says she’s hungry in all the right ways. .”I don’t sacrifice all my time for nothing. I want the fights, I want the belts, I want to be unified, I want to be undisputed.” Count on this fight to steal the thunder from the main event. These women mean business and they’ve got a lot at stake Saturday.
Heavyweight bouts add to the Oxon Hill action
On the Haney vs Moran undercard, fighters in back to back heavyweight bouts hope to advance through the division.
Michael Hunter of Las Vegas (16-1, 11 KOs) of Las Vegas hopes to continue his winning streak against Fabio Maldonado of Brazil. (26-2, 25 KOs). Maldonado, a 39-year-old former MMA fighter, says Hunter doesn’t intimidate him. “I’ve always fought the best guys in MMA, the toughest opponents. I’ve always gone forward,” said Maldonado.
“I have a determination that I won’t be moved,” said Hunter. “Come Saturday, you’re going to see it.” Hunter’s only loss came to Oleksandr Usyk in a cruiserweight division fight in 2017. In 2018, Hunter moved up to heavyweight. His last win was a solid ninth round TKO against Alexander Ustinov. Maldonado has faced limited opposition; one of his two losses is to Oscar Rivas in a lopsided unanimous decision. Hunter weighed in at 240, Maldonado at 215.
2016 Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic of Croatia (7-0, 5 KOs) will make his American debut on this card against Gregory Corbin of Dallas (15-1, 9 KOs). Hrgovic is rising quickly since turning pro with wins against Kevin Johnson and Amir Monsour. He resembles the Klitschko brothers in stature and style, standing upright and leading with a pawing jab. When he’s comfortable with his distance, he moves in with power shots as in the third round knockout of Mansour. Hrgovic is fairly nimble for a big man and should be fun to watch.
At the final news conference, Hrgovic put his sense of humor on display, When Corbin came to the podium, he sang, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day.” Hrgovic responded with a tune of his own, “It’s not going to be your day, man, stop singing” and laughed.
“I am excited for my American debut. It is an honor for me to fight here. For those who do not know, I come from Croatia, a small country in Europe. I would like to make my country proud on Saturday night.”
Flying the American flag in Florida: Ito vs Herring
WBO junior lightweight champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito of Japan (25-1-1, 13 KO) defends his title against Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring of Cincinnati (19-2, 10 KO) on a Top Rank card from Kissimmee, Florida on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The main card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The winner gets an opportunity to unify against WBC titleholder Miguel Berchelt, who will be ringside.
Ito won the title in the same venue against Puerto Rico’s Christopher Diaz last July. This is his second title defense. After a single early loss, Ito has nine victories in a row thanks to his heavy hands and excellent conditioning. Ito is the favorite to defeat challenger Herring.
Herring fighting for more than a title
But you’d have a heart of stone if you weren’t pulling for Herring to get an upset victory. The 33-year-old Herring is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, serving eight yearrs with two tours of duty in Iraq. He boxed on the Marine Corps team, and won himself a spot on the 2012 London Olympic team for the U.S. He turned pro after the Olympics and leaving military service at age 27.
Herring’s bid to achieve a title has always been an uphill climb, but no Marine is afraid of a challenge. His two losses were at lightweight, but since moving down a division and signing with Top Rank, Herring’s performances have improved. Herring now speaks openly about dealing with PTSD as a result of his military service. Boxing has been an outlet for fighting the effects.
Winning on Saturday would score a victory for veterans across the nation. It would also be a bittersweet day for Herring, because it would have been the tenth birthday of his late daughter, Ariyanna, who passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at two months old. Herring says a victory Saturday would be a gift for her. And surely for the fans, too.
ESPN+ subscribers can tune in early starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and watch the full slate of undercard bouts.
Fox Sports 1 card: Trout vs Gausha, Elibiali va Simoes
One of Herring’s Olympic teammates is also in action on Saturday. Super welterweight Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KOs) faces former title holder Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) in Biloxi, Mississippi. It is a classic crossroads fight. Both men need a win to move their careers forward.
Also on the undercard, light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali of Florida (18-1, 15 KOs) hopes to continue his climb back toward a title shot against Marios Eduardo Simoes of Brazil (13-5-1, 5 KOs). It’s among the most competitive divisions but the Egyptian born Elbiali has the skills and exciting knockout punching style it takes to compete with the big guns, short of a definitive win against a top opponent. Elbiali is now working with new trainer Justin Gamber, who also trains super middleweight champion Caleb Plant.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media: @PRProSanDiego.
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