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Fury vs Schwarz: Barrera-Hart co-feature confirmed, ESPN2 to air prelims

The June 15 ESPN+ show will have lead-in fights on ESPN2.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Tyson Fury’s return to the ring on June 15 against Tom Schwarz will be his Top Rank debut, with the main event and co-feature airing on ESPN+ at 10 pm ET from Las Vegas.

The co-feature, which has been reported, has now been confirmed, and it’s the best fight on the card, really. It will be a 10-round light heavyweight bout between longtime contender Sullivan Barrera (22-2, 14 KO) and two-time super middleweight title challenger Jesse Hart (25-2, 21 KO).

Barrera, 37, recently signed with Top Rank, bolstering their impressive ranks at 175 pounds, which also includes WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev, WBC titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev, plus former super middleweight titleholder Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez.

The Cuban Barrera figures to be in the final stages of his career, while the 29-year-old Hart is looking to make an immediate impact in a new division, still chasing big fights and title opportunities. Hart twice gave Ramirez a tough fight at 168, losing a pair of narrow decisions in 2017 and 2018. With the in-house cupboard bare at 168 and bursting at 175, the move up makes sense.

Prelim fights, which usually stream on ESPN+ for Top Rank cards, will air instead on ESPN2 this time, in an attempt to get people to sign up to see Tyson Fury later in the evening. The prelims will begin at 7 pm ET.

That portion of the show will feature Mikaela Mayer (10-0, 4 KO) against Lizbeth Crespo (13-4, 3 KO) in a 10-round bout. Mayer, a 28-year-old rising contender at super featherweight, has done well in her two years in the pros after fighting at the 2016 Olympics, where she lost in the quarterfinals. Crespo is a 28-year-old Bolivian now based in Argentina, and unsuccessfully challenged Jennifer Han for the IBF featherweight title in Feb. 2018.

The prelims will also see heavyweights Guido Vianello (3-0, 3 KO) and Sonny Conto (2-0, 2 KO) in action. Vianello, 25, represented Italy at Rio 2016, losing to Cuba’s Lenier Pero in the round of 16. He was following in the footsteps of the retired Roberto Cammarelle, who had won bronze in 2004, gold in 2008, and silver in 2012, and was a two-time World Amateur Championships gold medalist (2007 and 2009).

Conto, 23, is a Philadelphia native who turned pro on Feb. 8 and fought again on March 30, winning via TKO-1 both times at 2300 Arena in his hometown. Both Vianello and Conto are legitimate heavyweight prospects.

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