Recent super bantamweight title challenger Franklin Manzanilla has been tabbed to replace Hairon Socarras in the main event of a July 13th Top Rank on ESPN card, taking on Shakur Stevenson in Newark.
Shakur Stevenson's homecoming just got a new opponent: former world title challenger Franklin Manzanilla. Plus, Joseph Adorno and Vijender Singh are included in an incredible undercard— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 25, 2019
Don't miss #StevensonManzanilla Saturday, July 13 on @ESPN and @ESPN+! pic.twitter.com/rynKIdlwjO
Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KO) is, all things considered, a better pick than I’d feared. He was a gimme opponent for Julio Ceja, then the WBC #1 super bantamweight contender, but wound up breaking Ceja’s nose and forcing him to bow out after four. The Colombian took his Ceja’s place in the queue and challenged Rey Vargas this past February, and though he lost clearly, he did floor the champ in the second round.
Considering Vargas fights Tomoki Kameda on the 13th, you could say this is Manzanilla’s second time competing against him.
While Stevenson (11-0, 6 KO) will still be the heavy favorite and massively outclasses Manzanilla on a technical level, Manzanilla can punch and showed against Vargas that he can force an elite fighter into a gritty, ugly sort of tussle. I’d say it’s more interesting than the Socarras matchup.
The ESPN portion of the broadcast also includes a bantamweight bout between Joshua Greer Jr. (20-1-1, 12 KO) and Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1, 11 KO). You can check out the ESPN+ undercard lineup here; notable names include Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh (10-0, 7 KO) and 20-year-old lightweight puncher Joseph Adorno (12-0, 10 KO).