By: Hans Themistode
Promoter Bob Arum hasn’t had a lot to smile about over the past three months. On March 14th, he was forced to cancel the first title defense of WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson. Two days later, he was given no choice but to cancel another card, this time at the expense of Featherweight prospect Michael Conlan and his annual St. Patrick’s Day event at Madison Square Garden.
Now however, Arum is smiling from ear to ear.
With the Nevada State Athletic Commission recently giving Arum’s Top Rank promotional company the green light to host cards in Las Vegas, he wasted no time in filling up the entire schedule for the month of June. Check out the full lineup below for what to expect.
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo (June 9th)
With Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) becoming the first big name casualty from Arum’s stable of fighters, it’s only right that he becomes the first to headline his own show on June 9th. His opponent, Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs), is a mostly obscure fighter but he is currently on a five fight win streak with three of those victories coming via stoppage.
Jessie Magdaleno vs Yenifel Vicente (June 11)
Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) was on his way to stardom before he ran into the right hand of Isaac Dogboe. He’s rebounded nicely since then, winning two straight contests and will be looking to make it three once he takes on Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs) who is in desperate need of a big win after splitting his last two bouts.
Joshua Greer Jr. vs Mike Plania (June 16th)
Joshua Greer Jr. (22-1-1, 12 KOs) normally makes his way to the ring with a pillow in his hands. It symbolizes one thing and one thing only. He plans on making it a short night. Mike Plania (23-1, 12 KOs) however, has never been stopped and is currently on an eight fight win streak which could mean that Greer Jr. is in for a longer than expected fight.
Jose Pedraza vs Mikkel LesPierre (June 18th)
Former WBO Lightweight titlist Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) is looking to get back into the win column after losing his last contest against Jose Zepeda. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) isn’t a huge name in the sport of boxing but a win over a former champion in Pedraza could have him vaulting up the ranks.
Emmanuel Navarete vs Uriel Lopez (June 20th)
Emmanuel Navarete (31-1, 27 KOs) went from an absolute unknown to arguably the biggest star in the Super Bantamweight division. All he needed was six months and back to back fights with former champion Isaac Dogboe. Now, the shoe will be on the other foot when he takes on Uriel Lopez. A record of 13-13-1 isn’t the most impressive, but just like Navarete changed his life with one fight, Lopez will be looking to do the same.
Andrew Moloney vs Joshua Franco (June 23rd)
Andrew Moloney (21-0, 14 KOs) may hold the WBA 115 pound title, but he is far from a known commodity. A win over perennial contender Joshua Franco (16-1-2, 8 KOs) however, could change that.
With live boxing finally back, Arum is hoping that the fights he’s put together will not only be entertaining but that other promoters will follow his lead.
“The goal was to start out with really good, competitive fights, with names that people are familiar with, who have been on ESPN shows.”
“This is a sensible way to push ahead,” Arum said. “Hopefully, the fights will be good — I know they will be — but you’ve got to make sure all the procedures are safe and so forth. Hopefully, what we’re doing will serve as a template for other promoters to put on shows.”