Here are the most eye-catching stories from this week’s/weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford is officially official. The long-awaited welterweight title unification is now set for July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with a rematch clause firmly in place.
The two welterweight kingpins appeared on screen together at ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith this past Friday in their first public appearance since the fight was announced.
“Great things take time,” Spence responded when asked why the fight took so long to make. “We both was going through negotiations and things but we’re here now, so all this stuff in the past. It’s the present, we here, we fighting each other, may the best man win. I feel like this is the best welterweight fight of the last probably 40 years. This is a fight of the decade, the best versus the best.”
“Every fight is meaningful,” Crawford said. “Every fight is ‘I need to win this fight’ and I’m 100% certain Errol feels the same. So there’s a lot riding on this fight, this is the biggest fight in boxing in decades. So, of course I want to go out there and put on a tremendous show and win in spectacular fashion. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong, I’m ready to go next week if need be. But at the same time, everything has its time, the sun shines on everybody, and the sun gonna shine on me, July 29th.”
– In this weekend’s ring action:
Luis Alberto Lopez stopped Michael Conlan in the fifth round in the first defense of his IBF featherweight title on Conlan’s home turf of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Leigh Wood avenged his February TKO loss to Mexico’s Mauricio Lara with a decisive unanimous decision victory in Manchester, England to recapture the WBA featherweight title.
In Indio, California, highly-ranked welterweight Alexis Rocha battered and stopped an overmatched Anthony Young in the fifth round of their twelve round contest.
Chris Billam-Smith took the WBO cruiserweight title via majority decision over defending champion Lawrence Okolie in London, England.
– Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter, K2 Promotions, won the purse bid for his WBA mandatory heavyweight title defense against Daniel Dubois this past week with a winning bid of $8.06 million. The current plans see Usyk making this defense on August 12 in Wroclaw, Poland.
Efforts to make a four-belt heavyweight unification bout with WBC champ Tyson Fury fell apart earlier in the year when the two fighters reportedly beefed over details regarding the contractual rematch clause.
– It’s been confirmed that Artur Beterbiev will defend his IBF, WBC, and WBO light heavyweight titles against former super middleweight titlist Callum Smith on August 19 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. No movement has been made thus far in making a unification bout between Beterbiev and WBA champ and fellow Russian Dmitry Bivol, who has been tied to a possible rematch with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September.
– TGB Promotions won the right to stage the first title defense of WBA junior lightweight champ Hector Luis Garcia as he faces Lamont Roach with a winning purse bid of $410,000. The proposed dates for the 130 lb. title defense are July 22 or August 19.
Garcia captured his title in August of last year versus Roger Gutierrez. The native of the Dominican Republic would then move up and get stopped by Gervonta “Tank” Davis in a failed bid to take Davis’ WBA “regular” lightweight title this past January.
– In a pairing that nobody asked for and nobody even thought about, the 55-year-old James Toney and the 59-year-old Donovan “Razor” Ruddock will meet in an exhibition bout on November 11 in Kingston, Jamaica. Proceeds will benefit the ‘Gloves over Guns’ youth development program at Ruddock’s childhood school.