The IBF will have its lightweight and super lightweight mandatory challengers come July 19th when Teofimo Lopez faces Masayoshi Nakatani and Maxim Dadashev takes on Subriel Matias in Oxon Hill, MD on ESPN+.
The featured prelim, also on ESPN+, pits former champion Jason Sosa (22-3-4, 15 KO) against faltering super featherweight prospect Erick De Leon (19-0-1, 11 KO).
We’ve discussed the two marquee matchups before, so let’s talk about the stakes. Lopez (13-0, 11 KO) and Makatani (18-0, 12 KO) fight for a crack at the winner of Richard Commey vs. Ray Beltran on June 28th. The expectation is that whoever winds up with the IBF belt at the end of it all will then face either Vasiliy Lomachenko or Luke Campbell, one of whom will hold the other three major titles after their planned fight.
Whoever wins between Dadashev (13-0, 11 KO) and Matias (13-0, 13 KO), meanwhile, is next in line for the winner of the Super Series super lightweight tourney, which will be decided when current IBF champ Josh Taylor faces Regis Prograis later this year. That said, Prograis currently holds the WBA title, so there might be some mandatory conflicts after they unify.