ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reported yesterday evening that, per sources, the vacant IBF title fight between Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce and a rematch between Gary Antonio Russell and Emmanuel Rodriguez will join the October 15th Deontay Wilder vs Robert Helenius undercard. Jake Donovan confirmed the news today, meaning we’ve got what looks like a full pay-per-view lineup alongside Caleb Plant vs Anthony Dirrell.
We’ve talked a lot about Matias (18-1, 18 KO) vs Ponce (30-0, 20 KO) lately, so let’s focus on the other new addition. Russell (19-0, 12 KO) and Rodriguez (20-2, 13 KO) squared off in an interim WBA bantamweight title fight in August of last year, only to clash heads just 16 seconds into the first round and split Rodriguez’s forehead open. Each has fought once since; Russell edged out Alexandro Santiago on the Fulton vs Figueroa undercard, while Rodriguez took a trip down to Mexico to score a first-round knockout.
Russell is #4 with the IBF and #2 with the WBA, meaning the winner could be in line to challenge for a vacant title when/if Naoya Inoue unifies against Paul Butler and moves up to 122.
It’s still teetering on the brink of being PPV-worthy, but it’s a pretty solid card, all things considered. Plenty of action potential in at least three of the four matchups.