It can all be summarised in three long-awaited words: boxing is back.
Top Rank on ESPN returns Tuesday, June 9, as WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) takes on Puerto Rican contender Felix ‘La Sombra’ Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight bout.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and return live boxing to ESPN,” said Stevenson. “I was really disappointed when my fight got cancelled in March, and I said then that I wanted to be one of the first fights back. I stayed in shape so when that call came, I was ready. The atmosphere might be different on June 9, but I’ve fought in unique situations all over the world before so it won’t affect me. Regardless of who’s in the building, you’ll see another great performance, and I’ll remind everyone why I’m the best young fighter in boxing.”
Stevenson-Caraballo will kick off a blockbuster June boxing line-up by Top Rank, which will include multiple cards each week on the ESPN family of networks. Specifics on ESPN platforms and tune-in times to be announced soon. Stevenson-Caraballo will be the first of multiple June events to take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom.
The action will continue Thursday, June 11 when former WBO super-bantamweight champion and top featherweight contender Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) faces Dominican puncher Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
“It feels great to be one of the first fighters back,” said Magdaleno. “I’m excited to get back in the ring, especially after my last fight was cancelled. I didn’t get discouraged. I am even more ready now. I can’t wait to showcase my talent to the ESPN audience. What better way to show that the champ is back?”
These events will be closed to both the public and the media, as only essential fight camp members and event staff will be permitted on site.
“I would like to thank MGM Resorts and the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their assistance in helping to bring back world-class boxing,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “We are all looking forward to a spectacular summer of live boxing across ESPN platforms. Shakur is among the best young talents I’ve ever promoted, and he is going to put on a show on June 9.”
ESPN’s Top Rank play-by-play commentator Joe Tessitore will be calling the action from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut, studios. Andre Ward (analyst), former No.1 pound-for-pound two-division world titleholder, and 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Tim Bradley (analyst), former two-division world titleholder, and boxing insider Mark Kriegel will join from their home studios. Boxing reporter Bernardo Osuna will be on-location in Las Vegas.