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Top Rank lays out early schedule for June boxing return

Shakur Stevenson, Emanuel Navarrete, Jessie Magdaleno, and more are officially set for action in the coming weeks.

Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Top Rank have been getting set to resume boxing action on June 9 in Las Vegas, and we now know that the company’s shows will be taking place at the empty MGM Grand Conference Center, with no fans allowed, only fighters, their teams, officials, and production personnel and whatnot, the people who have to be there for the shows to go on.

Top Rank has worked with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in putting together the plan to get rolling again, and they’ve got their June lineup in place, mostly, with some fights in July also looking like they’re set or close to it.

The company will be running Tuesday and Thursday night broadcasts on ESPN, for the most part, with two shows per week.

Here’s the full rundown of the featured bouts (all cards will have a couple more prelim fights, too):

June 9 (Las Vegas)

  • Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo: Featherweight titleholder Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO) looks like he’ll return at 130 pounds for this non-title tune-up fight. Rafael Rivera was the original opponent, but visa issues have put Caraballo into the B-side role instead. Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KO) is pretty untested, and lost a fight in 2018 to Pedro Marquez Medina in Mayaguez. This will be his first fight outside of Puerto Rico.
  • Mikaela Mayer vs Helen Joseph: Mayer (12-0) is a 29-year-old former Olympian and emerging contender at 130 pounds. She’s had some back-and-forth with WBC titleholder Terri Harper, but Harper’s in the UK and Mayer is in the US, so that’s not happening yet. The 31-year-old Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KO) is a Nigerian-born fighter based in Connecticut, and lost last November to Delfine Persoon via decision in Belgium, her last outing. Joseph has fought between junior bantamweight and featherweight in her career.

June 11 (Las Vegas)

Jessie Magdaleno v Adeilson Dos Santos Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
  • Jessie Magdaleno vs Yenifel Vicente: Former 122-pound titlist Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KO) is looking to get into title contention at 126 pounds, and really he’s already a contender in a division that has been somewhat depleted by various top fighters moving up to 130. This fight will also take place at junior lightweight instead of featherweight, though that’s really more timing and everything than anything else. Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KO) can bang some, but the Miami-based Dominican has lost to all of his best opponents.
  • Adam Lopez vs Luis Coria: Lopez (13-2, 6 KO) was last seen in late November, stepping in on short notice to challenge Oscar Valdez, and the 24-year-old from Glendale, Calif., gave a pretty good accounting for himself, dropping Valdez in the second round before getting stopped in the seventh. He was very game in the fight. Coria (12-2, 7 KO) is a 21-year-old from Moreno Valley, Calif., who has been fighting mostly 4- and 6-round bouts, with one fight that went an eight-round distance in 2018, a loss to Thomas Valdez in Tucson.

June 16 (Las Vegas)

Mikey Williams/Top Rank
  • Joshua Greer Jr vs Mike Plania: Greer (22-1-1, 12 KO) is a 25-year-old Chicago bantamweight hoping to graduate into world title fights, but he’s struggled in his last two fights, too. Last July, he got a very debatable majority decision win over Nikolai Potapov, and followed that up with a razor-thin unanimous decision over Antonio Nieves in October. In other words, Greer has looked vulnerable despite the TV push. Plania (23-1, 12 KO) is a 23-year-old Filipino who has really fought absolutely no one save for a bout with Juan Carlos Payano in 2018, which resulted in his only loss, though he did score a knockdown and wasn’t totally blown out over 10 rounds. Plania could be a live dog here.
  • Giovani Santillan vs Antonio DeMarco: The 28-year-old Santillan (25-0, 15 KO) is an unbeaten southpaw welterweight, but at 28 the San Diego native is a bit old for a serious prospect. DeMarco (33-8-1, 24 KO) is a former lightweight titlist, but at 34 his best days are definitely behind him. That said, don’t count him out here at all; when he fought unbeaten prospect Eddie Ramirez in 2017, he stopped the younger man in under two minutes. He’s lost his last two fights to Maxim Dadashev and Jamal James, but figures to be a step up for Santillan all the same.

June 18 (Las Vegas)

Masayuki Ito v Jamel Herring Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
  • Jose Pedraza vs Mikkel LesPierre: Pedraza (26-3, 13 KO) will look to right the ship after a decision loss to Jose Zepeda last September, his second L in his last three outings. The 31-year-old “Sniper” is facing LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KO), a 35-year-old originally from Trinidad and Tobago, now in Brooklyn. LesPierre got a shot at the WBO 140-pound title in Mar. 2019 and was totally shut down by Maurice Hooker.
  • Gabriel Flores Jr vs Josec Ruiz: The 20-year-old Flores is a young ticket seller out of Stockton, Calif., who has the hype machine behind him but certainly still some questions. At 17-0 (6 KO), his power has been questioned a bit at 130/135. He did score a brutal knockout in May 2019, but that’s the only one of his last 11 fights that hasn’t gone the distance. Ruiz (21-2-3, 14 K) is a native of Honduras, living in Miami. He hasn’t lost since 2013, but he’s also ranked No. 203 in the world by BoxRec as of this moment, and frankly if he were thought to be a big threat to Flores, he probably wouldn’t be fighting the kid.

June 20 (Mexico City)

Jeo Santisima v Emanuel Navarrete Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
  • Emanuel Navarrete vs Uriel Lopez: Navarrete (31-1, 27 KO) is the WBO titleholder at 122 pounds, but this will be a non-title fight. And if you thought recent opponents like Francisco De Vaca, Juan Miguel Elorde, Francisco Horta, and Jeo Santisima were lacking, the club fighter Lopez (13-13-1, 6 KO) definitely isn’t going to get you excited. He’s lost his last three fights, one to Santisima, and a pair to fighters who came in with records of 5-14-3 and 10-7-1. Frankly, Lopez shouldn’t be sanctioned to fight Navarrete, but what are you gonna do, really? This one will be held at TV Azteca Studios and likely will stream on ESPN+ on a Saturday night.

June 23 (Las Vegas)

Boxing Mania 6 Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images
  • Andrew Moloney vs Joshua Franco: The best matchup on this list so far, and pretty easily so. Moloney (21-0, 14 KO) made it over to the States from Australia with his twin brother Jason, and is set to make his U.S. debut; he had been scheduled to fight Israel Gonzalez on Apr. 17 in Tulsa. The 29-year-old “Monster” holds the WBA’s secondary “world” title at 115 pounds (Roman Gonzalez holds their “super world” title, being bumped after a win over Kal Yafai, which also bumped Moloney from interim to “world”). Franco (16-1-2, 8 KO) is coming off a trilogy with Oscar Negrete, in which he went 1-0-2, with draws in the first and third bouts and the middle one going to Franco, now 24, via split decision. You could argue he should’ve lost all three or won all three. He last fought on Jan. 11, beating Jose Burgos via ninth round TKO in San Antonio.
  • Christopher Diaz vs Jason Sanchez: Diaz (25-2, 16 KO) is a 25-year-old former 130-pound title challenger, losing a vacant title fight to Masayuki Ito in 2018, and he also lost a 10-round decision to Shakur Stevenson in 2019. He still has his sights set on a world title. The 25-year-old Sanchez (15-1, 8 KO), an Albuquerque native, took a big step up in June 2019 against Oscar Valdez in a WBO 126-pound title fight. He gave it a go, but was outclassed. Both of these two fighters had their last bouts, both wins, against Adeilson dos Santos, Sanchez Oct. 2019 and Diaz in Jan. 2020.

We’ve also seen tentative reports for June 30 (Alex Saucedo vs Sonny Fredrickson), July 2 (Jamel Herring vs Jonathan Oquendo for Herring’s WBO 130-pound title), and July 9 (a good matchup, Ivan Baranchyk vs Jose Zepeda).

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