June 28: Richard Commey to Defend Lightweight World Title Against Former Champion Ray Beltran

TEMECULA, Calif: Something has to give. IBF lightweight world champion Richard Commey is one of the division’s biggest punchers. For his first title defense, he’ll face a rugged ex-champion who hasn’t been knocked out in more than a decade.

Commey will defend his belt against former WBO lightweight world champion Ray Beltran in the Top Rank on ESPN main event Friday, June 28 at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. In the 10-round co-feature, undefeated Dominican puncher Carlos “Caballo Bronco” Adames will defend his NABO and NABF 154-pound belts against Patrick Day.

Commey-Beltran and Adames-Day will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The undercard will stream live on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, tickets for this world championship event priced at $149, $129, $79, $59, and $29 are on sale now and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in person at the Pechanga Resort Casino box office.

“I’m honored to be headlining an ESPN show as a world champion and to be fighting former world champion Ray Beltran, whom I have the utmost respect for,” Commey said. “This is an opportunity for me to show the American public that I’m here to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. The path is set, and come June 28, I’ll be ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”

“I’m excited about this fight with Richard Commey. I’ve been the WBO champion, and I intend to be the IBF champion on June 28,” Beltran said. “I expect a tough fight, but that’s the kind of fight I like. We are both very experienced, so it will come down to who is willing to lay his heart on the line that night. After losing my title to Jose Pedraza, I think some people thought I was done, but I always come back and prove that I belong. I’m excited to announce that Freddie Roach is back in my corner after all these years. When I was working with Manny Pacquiao, I saw what Freddie can do, both in camp and in the corner. I’m grateful to Top Rank and ESPN for having me back. The only thing I want for my birthday (July 23) is the IBF world title.”

“Richard Commey, the pride of Ghana, is a physically imposing, hard-punching lightweight champion,” said Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter. “We’re thrilled that his first defense will be a high-profile fight against tenacious former world champion Ray Beltran. Richard wants to be a unified champion and a star. On June 28, he has an opportunity to raise his profile worldwide.”

Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) blew away Isa Chaniev via second-round TKO Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, to win the vacant IBF world title. He had previously challenged Robert Easter Jr. for that belt, dropping a razor-thin split decision in September 2016. His only other loss came via split decision less than three months later to Denis Shafikov in Shafikov’s home country of Russia. Since then, he has won four in a row and is fully recovered from a right knuckle injury suffered during the Chaniev fight. A proud native of Accra, Ghana, Commey hails from the same neighborhood that produced former world champions Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, David Kotey, Alfred Kotey, Joseph Agbeko and the legendary Azumah Nelson.

Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KOs), the former sparring partner to the stars, realized his world championship dreams in February 2018, besting Paulus Moses by unanimous decision to win the WBO lightweight world title. His title reign was short-lived, as he was defeated by Jose Pedraza via unanimous decision last August. Beltran rebounded from that setback, returning in February to knock out then-unbeaten 140-pound contender Hiroki Okada in the ninth round.

Adames (17-0, 14 KOs) has won three straight bouts by knockout since electing to campaign at 154 pounds. A former amateur star from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Adames grew up with 35 siblings and turned to the sport at the age of 12 after an older brother took him to a gym. In his last bout, April 20 on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard, he blew away perennial contender Frank Galarza in four rounds. Day (17-2-1, 6 KOs), from Freeport, New York, has won six in a row, including two wins against previously unbeaten fighters. He made a statement Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, outboxing Ismail Iliev (11-0-1 at the time) over 10 rounds.

“This fight represents a big step in the right direction for me and my career,” Adames said. “I am thrilled with this opportunity, and as I have always promised to my people of the Dominican Republic, I will be the next world champion from the island and the new face of Dominican boxing.”

“Time to show the world who Pat Day is,” Day said. “These are the fights I dreamed of on my way to top 10 contention. Now that I am here, I intend to advance to a world title. I respect what Carlos brings to the table, but he has never fought a guy like me. I am focused on winning and looking good doing it.”

The action-packed ESPN+ stream will include the following bouts:

  • Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (23-0-1, 17 KOs) will take on Miguel Angel “Miguelito” Gonzalez (24-4, 21 KOs) in a super featherweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds. Rodriguez has notched a pair of knockout wins since returning from a nearly two-year layoff.
  • Middleweight prospect Tyler Howard (17-0, 11 KOs) will face the upset-minded Manny “Shake Em’ Up Woods (16-8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
  • Ruben Rodriguez (6-0, 2 KOs), a 22-year-old super lightweight prospect from Indio, California, will fight Vicente Morales (2-2-2, 1 KO) in a six-rounder.
  • Raymond Muratalla (7-0, 5 KOs) will look to extend his knockout streak to three against Javier Martinez (4-6, 3 KOs) in a lightweight fight scheduled for six rounds.
  • Super featherweight sensation Christopher “The Boy” Zavala (4-0, 2 KOs) will fight Prisco Marquez (4-0-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder.
  • Middleweight prospect David “Lion of Zion” Kaminsky (4-0, 2 KOs), an 18-year-old from Israel, will face veteran Osbaldo Gonzalez (6-4, 4 KOs) in a four-rounder.
  • 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis (1-0, 1 KO) will see action in a six-round middleweight contest in his Top Rank debut.
  • Super lightweight prospect Elvis Rodriguez (2-0, 2 KOs) will face an opponent to be named in a four-rounder.

Use the hashtags #CommeyBeltran and #AdamesDay to join the conversation on social media.

Puerto Rico Media Workout Quotes: Jose Pedraza Amped Up for Lozada Challenge

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico: It is personal for former two-division world champion and current lightweight contender Jose “Sniper” Pedraza. His opponent May 25 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida, is Antonio Lozada Jr., who in March of last year knocked out then-undefeated Felix Verdejo in the 10th round. Verdejo and Pedraza both hail from Puerto Rico, and Pedraza, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko, hopes to avenge his countryman’s defeat.

Pedraza-Lozada will serve as the co-feature to Masayuki Ito’s WBO junior lightweight title defense against Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET).

The undercard (ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET) is chock full of Puerto Rico’s best young talent, including 130-pound puncher Henry Lebron (8-0, 6 KOs) and super flyweight contender Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5 KOs). Lebron will face Luis Lizarraga Jr. (6-12-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder, while Cintron, a two-time Puerto Rican Olympian, will battle former interim flyweight world champion Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Pedraza, Cintron, and Lebron worked out for the media Wednesday at Felix Pagan Pintor Boxing Gym. This is what they had to say.

José Pedraza

“I am very motivated for this fight. Lozada is a very dangerous fighter, and the sport of boxing is very unpredictable. He is the typical Mexican warrior who always comes forward and applies pressure at all times, but we have worked very hard, and I am sure that I will come out victorious for all of Puerto Rico on May 25.”

“I want to get rid of that thorn (avenging Verdejo’s loss against Lozada), but I have to modify my words. I’m not going for revenge necessarily because only Felix can take revenge on Lozada. As the good Puerto Rican brothers that we are, I’m coming to take that thorn out because he beat one of my longtime friends. I’m coming to win this fight!”

“After this fight, I would like to return to the world title scene at 135 pounds, and I would like to be able to have a championship opportunity by the end of this year. But if I do not get that chance, I will examine my options at 140 pounds. I would like to become a three-division world champion.”

Jeyvier Cintron

“I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time. I’ve been working hard with my coach, Iván Calderón, and I’m ready for big fights. It’s my time to shine, and on May 25, I’m going to show that I’m ready to face the great fighters at 115 pounds.”

“I’m going to face an experienced fighter who has already been an interim world champion, but I’m coming with everything. I’m going to give everything in the ring, and I assure my people that I will come out with the victory.”

Henry Lebrón

“I feel super happy to be representing the new wave of Puerto Rican fighters in front of the fans in Kissimmee. Many Boricua fighters will see action on May 25 at Osceola Heritage Park, and we are coming to give an excellent show to our people. Kissimmee is like our house.”

“My opponent is a Mexican fighter that endures a lot of punishment. He takes punches very well, and I think that this will be a long fight. I am prepared to go the distance, but I also have punching power. If I hurt him, I’m going for the knockout.”

“I am a young fighter. I am in the process of continuing to grow and learn, but in 2019, I would like to fight for a youth world title. If I get the opportunity to become a youth world champion, I will take full advantage of the opportunity.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing and Teiken Promotions, tickets are on sale now. Priced at $100 (ringside) and $50 (general admission), including all taxes and facility fees, tickets may be purchased online via ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800.745.3000 or in person at Osceola Heritage Park box office (open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. and on event days). For more information: www.ohpark.com.

For more information, visit: www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.

Use the hashtags #ItoHerring and PedrazaLozada to join the conversation on social media.

Top Rank Signs Australian Twin Sensations Jason and Andrew Moloney

Two Moloneys are better than one.

The Moloney twins — undefeated super flyweight contender Andrew and top bantamweight contender Jason — have each signed a multi-year promotional agreement with Top Rank.

The 28-year-old Moloneys, who are scheduled to fight in separate 10-round bouts June 15 in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia, will showcase their talents in the United States and on ESPN platforms in 2019.

“I am personally very thrilled that we have signed the Moloney twins,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are two very talented youngsters who are destined for great things.”

“This is a dream come true to sign with the biggest and best promotional company in world boxing,” said Andrew Moloney. “I am now more motivated than ever. Top Rank has built so many great champions over the years. I will continue working hard every day to make sure I am the next one.”

“With the great team of people I have around me, and now the addition of the best promotional company in the world, I really think the sky is the limit,” Jason Moloney said. “This is the start of something very special.”

“I believe the Moloneys are the future of world boxing,” said Tony Tolj, Jason and Andrew’s manager. “We are excited to join the Top Rank team. This is going to be one hell of a ride for everyone involved.”

Andrew Moloney (19-0, 12 KOs), nicknamed “The Monster,” is on the precipice of a world title shot after less than five years in the paid ranks. Ranked in the top five by three of the four major sanctioning organizations, Andrew Moloney turned heads last September when he stopped former world champion Luis Concepcion in 10 rounds on a card that streamed live in the United States on ESPN+. He won a WBA super flyweight title eliminator March 22 in Chile, knocking out hometown hero Miguel “Aguja” Gonzalez in the eighth round.

Jason Moloney (18-1, 15 KOs) nearly tasted world championship glory, dropping a disputed split decision to IBF bantamweight world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez last October in Orlando, Florida. He rebounded in sterling fashion, knocking out Filipino southpaw Cris Paulino over five dominant rounds on March 30. Jason Moloney is ranked No. 3 in the world by both the WBA and WBC and is angling for another crack at a world title.

Rio Revenge? Michael Conlan to face Olympic Nemesis Vladimir Nikitin August 3 in Belfast

BELFAST: Michael “Mick” Conlan’s amateur career ended in controversy and a pair of middle fingers. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan appeared to have bested Russian standout Vladimir Nikitin in the 56-kilogram quarterfinals. The judges disagreed, and Conlan responded with a memorable double middle-finger salute.

Almost three years to the day since Conlan flashed those digits, the Olympic rivals will run it back in the paid ranks, this time on Irish soil.

Conlan will face Nikitin in a 10-round featherweight bout Saturday, Aug. 3 in a massive outdoor fight at Falls Park in his home city of Belfast. Conlan-Nikitin will take place as part of the annual Féile an Phobail, Europe’s largest community festival.

Conlan-Nikitin will stream live in the United States beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, on a special international edition of Top Rank on ESPN.

“This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to right what most observers felt was an injustice,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”

“I am delighted that I will be fighting Vladimir Nikitin in front of 10,000 fans,” Conlan said. “This is literally home turf for me and it is absolutely huge. I am West Belfast and Falls Road born and bred so this means everything to me. Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait to set the record straight.”

“When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal. Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge. Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast, here I come!”

“The fight with Vladimir Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now, and MTK Global and Top Rank have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen.”

Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) entered the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting figures, having earned an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and gold medals at both the European and World Championships in 2015. He was favored to win Olympic gold in 2016, but Nikitin and the judges thwarted those plans. “The Conlan Revolution” turned pro in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He won the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt last December in Manchester, England, besting Jason Cunningham via unanimous decision. In his last bout, in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan defeated Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds.

Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of clear-cut unanimous decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again.

It will finally happen, in front of more than 10,000 of Conlan’s rowdiest supporters. Will it be Rio Revenge or another shining moment for Nikitin?

ESPN+ is the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. Fans can sign up for ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) at www.espnplus.com.

Use the hashtags #ConlanNikitin and #TheConlanRevolution to join the conversation on social media.

Miguel Berchelt defends his WBC super featherweight world title; Navarrete knocks out Dogboe in the 12th

TUCSON, Ariz.: It was pure savagery in the desert. Miguel Berchelt defended his WBC super featherweight world title over Francisco Vargas after Vargas retired on his stool following the sixth round of a brawl in front of 4,424 fans at Tucson Arena.

It was the fifth successful title defense for Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs), who defeated Vargas (25-2-2, 18 KOs) via 11th-round knockout in January 2017 to the win the belt.

“I did what I said I was going to do in the ring,” Berchelt said. “More importantly, I want to thank Francisco ‘Bandito’ Vargas. He’s a true Mexican warrior, and more than anything, let me tell you, he gave me my first opportunity at a world title. So, it was only fair that I would give him a shot to win his world title back. But his corner did the right thing in saving him from more punishment.”

“I want to prove that I’m the best 130-pounder in the world. In {two weeks}, it will be Jamel Herring taking on {WBO champion Masayuki} Ito. I want the winner of that fight because I don’t want to leave any doubt as to who the best super featherweight in the world is.”

Said Vargas: I am going to speak with my team, and we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Navarrete KOs Dogboe

Emanuel Navarrete did it again. The WBO junior bantamweight world champion defended his title against the man he beat five months prior, Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe, via 12th-round TKO. Navarrete won a unanimous decision versus Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs) in their first meeting last Dec. 8 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, and the rematch was more of the same.

At the time of the stoppage, two of the judges had Navarrete ahead 109-99, with the third judge scoring it 109-98.

Navarrete (27-1, 23 KOs) scored knockdowns in the sixth and 12th rounds. Following the knockdown in the 12th, Dogboe’s father and trainer, Paul Dogboe, threw in the towel.

“It really surprised me that he took so many hard shots, but at the same time, he continued to throw strong punches,” Navarrete said. “I want to thank Dogboe because he gave me the opportunity to become a world champion, and now in this second fight, he gave me the opportunity to demonstrate that my first triumph wasn’t by accident and that there is a reason why I have the title. And to all the fighters at122 pounds, I tell them that if they want my title, then they can come and try and take it. ‘El Vaquero’ is here!”

“It’s not over until the final bell. Hats off to Navarrete. He did a great job,” Dogboe said. “Making super bantamweight is getting too difficult. My next fight, I will be moving up to {featherweight}. I will be much more comfortable there.”

The CompuBox stats told the story of the bout. Navarrete landed 314 punches, 215 of which were power shots. Meanwhile, Dogboe landed only 121 of 523 punches.

In other action:

Mykal “The Professor” Fox (20-1, 5 KOs) upset 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin “Fayzi” Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round super lightweight bout, winning by scores of 96-92 2x and 95-93. Fox had a nearly nine-inch height advantage and used his southpaw jab and long arms to his advantage.

Phoenix native Carlos Castro (23-0, 9 KOs) defended his WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight belt for the first time, outlasting the game Mario Diaz (18-3, 7 KOs) by scores of 100-89 2x and 98-91. Castro knocked down Diaz in the second round and kept him at bay with his 70-inch reach.

“We knew it was a tough fight, and that’s why we prepared so hard for this battle. But this is my title, and no one is going to take it from me,” Castro said My next step is to keep working hard and to move closer to a world title shot. I love fighting in front of my home state fans. The fans in Tucson are special.”

Former three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (28-3, 24 KOs) kept his hopes for a fourth world title shot alive, knocking out fellow Colombian and late replacement Ruben Cervera (10-2, 9 KOs) following the conclusion of the third round.

Marriaga scored a pair of knockdowns in the second round, while Cervera notched a flash knockdown of his own in the third. Marriaga’s body attack was too much, and Cervera elected to retire on his stool.

“He was a last-minute opponent that came a little heavier than what I’m used to fighting, and that’s why I focused on punishing the body,” Marriaga said. “He connected well with a solid punch and I went down, but he didn’t hurt me badly. My plan was to punish him with body shots until he did not want to continue and finally he didn’t come out to fight following the third round.”

Super lightweight prospect Miguel Parra (17-1-1, 12 KOs) made short work of David Morales (13-11,13 KOs), as Morales was unable to continue following the first round. Parra has now won eight fights in a row.

Tucson native Manny Guajardo (5-0, 0 KOs) kept his unbeaten record alive, edging Jonathan Espino (2-4, 3 KOs) by four-round majority decision (40-36, 39-37 and 38-38) in a middleweight bout.

Oscar Valdez-Jason Sanchez Headlines Top Rank on ESPN Card June 8 at Reno-Sparks Convention Center

RENO, Nev.: Boxing’s preeminent action superhero, Oscar Valdez, will make the sixth defense of his WBO featherweight world title Saturday, June 8 against the upset-minded Jason “El Alacrancito” Sanchez at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

Valdez-Sanchez and the 10-round light heavyweight showdown between title-hungry contenders Sullivan Barrera and Michael Seals will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. Gabriel Flores Jr. (13-0, 6 KOs), fresh off his third-round knockout over Eduardo Pereira Reis in front of more than 10,000 fans in his hometown of Stockton, California, will see action on the undercard.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $103, $68 and $43 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.

“Jason Sanchez is the real ‘Cinderella Man,’” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He is young, hungry and capable of pulling off a major upset. It should be an exciting battle.”

“I’m excited to be back in the ring for the sixth defense of my world title. I know there is a big target on my back because I’m the champion, but nobody is going to take this title away from me,” Valdez said. “This will be my second fight training with Eddy Reynoso. Training with Eddy, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I felt great in the ring during my first fight with Eddy in my corner. I know that I will look even better this time out. The fans in Reno and watching on ESPN and ESPN Deportes can expect a great showing from me on June 8.”

“I am truly honored and blessed to have an opportunity like this,” Sanchez said. “Coming from Albuquerque, New Mexico, I knew I had to work extra hard to be noticed and to get where I’m at right now. I will be bringing this belt home to Albuquerque, to my family, my supporters, and most of all, my late brother Alan Sanchez. I believe he guided me down this road and that my journey is only beginning.”

Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs), Mexico’s first two-time Olympian, has thrilled boxing fans with his go-for-broke style. He won the WBO featherweight title in July 2016 and proved his mettle with a trio of 12-round bloodbaths against Miguel Marriaga, Genesis Servania and Scott Quigg in consecutive bouts. Valdez outlasted an over-the-weight Quigg last March by unanimous decision despite fighting more than half the bout with a severely broken jaw. Following the Quigg bout, Valdez took nearly a year off, returning Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, to knock out then-unbeaten Italian challenger Carmine Tommasone in the seventh round.

The 24-year-old Sanchez (14-0, 7 KOs) enters this championship fight as one of the featherweight division’s fastest-rising young guns. Last October, he stunned then-unbeaten Jean Carlos Rivera via unanimous decision in Panama City, Panama. Following the Rivera victory, Sanchez signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank. He impressed in his Top Rank debut Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas, knocking out Daniel Olea in the second round. Sanchez hopes to become only the fifth men’s boxer from New Mexico to win a world title.

Barrera (22-2, 14 KOs), a former Cuban amateur standout, defected to the United States in 2009 and turned pro later that year. The Miami-based bruiser won the first 17 bouts of his career before dropping a decision to pound-for-pound great Andre Ward. A perennial contender, Barrera holds victories over Joe Smith Jr., Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Karo Murat and former super middleweight world champion Jeff Lacy. He challenged Dmitry Bivol for a light heavyweight world title last year and fought valiantly before being stopped in the 12th and final round.

Seals (22-2, 16 KOs), a former linebacker for Alabama A&M University, traded in his cleats for trunks and turned pro after a five-fight amateur career. He was 19-0 when he clashed with Edwin Rodriguez in November 2015. In a seesaw battle that included five knockdowns, Rodriguez knocked out Seals in the third round of a Fight of the Year contender. Seals is 3-1 since the Rodriguez battle, the lone loss coming via disqualification after he hit his opponent while he was on the ground. The winner of this can’t-miss action fight will be in line for a potential world title opportunity.

“I am very excited to have signed with Top Rank, a world-class organization with the best light heavyweights in the world,” Barrera said. “I am excited about the future, but the first step is to handle business June 8 and then I can look forward to a shot at a world title. My ultimate goal is Sergey Kovalev. I’ve been chasing him my whole career. Hopefully, we can finally fight this year.”

“This means everything to me. I had a great opportunity with Edwin Rodriguez, but I went into that fight with a torn rotator cuff. I was basically fighting with just my right hand,” Seals said. “Now, I am 100 percent healthy. This is my time. Barrera had his time. I feel good. I feel sharp. I feel young. I have sacrificed so much and have had a lot of time to reflect on the decisions I’ve made and all of the hardships I’ve gone through. On June 8, I’m going to unleash all of my frustration on Barrera. I don’t want to take anything away from Barrera. He’s a world-class fighter, but I am as well.”