SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 15, 2020 – Bantamweight contender Joshua “Don’t Blink” Greer Jr. takes the stage on Tuesday as Top Rank on ESPN’s summer schedule resumes with a trio of shows this week starting on Tuesday from “The Bubble” at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The action gets started at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with all five fights getting air time on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
“It is exciting to see these great fighters back in action and in fights that promise to be action-packed,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who said if Greer wins, he could earn his way to a title challenge later this year.
Greer Jr. of Chicago (22-1-1, 12 KOs) faces Mike Plania of the Philippines (23-1, 12 KOs) in a scheduled ten-round bantamweight fight.
Greer has made himself memorable by taunting his opponents with custom-made pillows ready for the moment he puts them to sleep with a knockout. But Greer isn’t exactly Deontay Wilder with barely half of his fights ending in a stoppage. Greer hopes to use this bout to step up to a title fight opportunity as the WBO’s number one contender.
But Greer just squeaked out a victory in October against Antonio Nievas, and had a decision win in his prior fight. Will a pandemic layoff make him ripe for the picking?
Plania would love to mess up Greer’s plans. Since a close decision loss in March 2018 to Juan Carlos Payano, who then took a nap himself at the hands of pound-for-pound powerhouse Naoya Inoue, Plania has shown his resilience and determination. He’s not showing up just for a paycheck.
“Whoever the opponent is, it doesn’t matter. I prepare the same,” said Greer. “Every fight is a world title fight for me. I’m ranked number one in the world, so I have to take advantage of this opportunity. ‘Mr. ESPN’ is back!”
San Diego showdown: DeMarco vs Santillan
Call the co-feature a San Diego showdown. Former world champion Antonio DeMarco, who now lives in the eastern San Diego County community of Lakeside (33-8-1, 24 KOs) takes on San Diego native Giovani Santillan (25-0, 15 KOs) in a ten-round welterweight fight.
DeMarco, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to top contender Jamal James, presents a significant name on the resume of 28-year-old Santillan. Santillan knows more than most what it’s like to be out of the ring. Sidelined over contract problems for 19 months, he got in a single two-round knockout fight before the coronavirus pandemic kept him home for another three months. Santillan might be better prepared than most to come off a layoff.
Undercard bouts feature prospects to watch
Nikoloz Sekhniashvili of Georgia (5-0, 4 KOs) makes his 2020 debut against Isiah Jones of Detroit (8-1, 3 KOs) in a six round super middleweight bout. Sekhniashvili trains in Florida with Javiel Centeno alongside stablemates Xander Zayas and lightweight contender George Kambosos Jr.
Bobirzhan Mominov of Kazakhstan, also now training in Florida up the road in Kissimmee with Fernando Soto (10-0, 8 KOs) faces local Las Vegas product Cameron Krael (17-15-3, 4 KOs).
Puerto Rican-born heavyweight Hector Perez (6-2, 3 KOs) gets into the ring against southpaw Juan Torres of Cypress, Texas (5-2-1, 2 KOs). Torres has won two straight and has never been knocked out in a professional match.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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