MICHAEL CONLAN, Shakur Stevenson and Mikaela Mayer will complete their first season as professionals on the undercard of the historic collision between world champions Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday, December 9, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) a native of Ukraine, will defend his WBO junior-lightweight world title against the WBA super-bantamweight world champion Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), of Cuba, marking the first time that two-time Olympic gold medallists have fought each other professionally at the highest level.
The four-bout telecast, headlined by Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux, will be televised live and exclusively at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
The televised undercard will feature two-time Irish Olympian Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs), from Belfast, a former World amateur champion and Olympic bronze medalist, returning to The Garden for the first time since his show-stopping pro debut, which took place on St. Patrick’s Day in front of a sellout crowd. He will be taking on Luis Fernando Molina (4-3-1, 1 KO), from Pablo Podestȧ, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a six-round featherweight bout.
Undefeated top-10 contender Christopher Diaz (21-0, 13 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, who won all his fights in 2017 by way of knockout, will battle Casey Ramos (24-1, 6 KOs), from Austin, TX., in a 10-round bout for the vacant NABO junior-lightweight title.
The telecast will open with Newark’s 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Stevenson (3-0, 1 KO), who spent most of his training camp sparing with Lomachenko, facing Oscar Mendoza (4-2, 2 KOs), of Santa Maria, Calif. Mendoza has won all of his fights this year, with the last two coming by way of knockout. Their featherweight bout is scheduled for six-rounds. Stevenson made his Garden debut on May 20, where he stopped Carlos Suarez in the first round.
Streaming live on the ESPN App, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT, (along with the televised card) will be: Mayer (2-0, 2 KOs), from Los Angeles, a three-time national champion who came within one victory of the medal round at the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, in four-round lightweight bout against former IWBF bantamweight world champion Nydia Feliciano (9-8-3), from the Bronx, New York; two-time world heavyweight title challenger Bryant Jennings (20-2, 11 KOs), of North Philadelphia, PA., in an eight-round heavyweight bout, against Don Haynesworth (13-1-1, 11 KOs), of Greensboro, N.C.; and Jose Gonzalez (8-0-1, 2 KOs), from New York, in an eight-round featherweight bout against Adan Gonzales (3-1-1, 2 KOs), of Denver, CO.
“New York is a market made for Mick, Shakur and Mikaela,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank.. “Mick has proven that with his Irish base, Shakur’s Newark fan nucleus has spread beyond state and regional borders, and Mikaela’s general appeal is limitless. We have curated incredible supporting bouts to this historic night. Every fight is relevant and meaningful. They are all stepping up and on their way to eventually headlining major events at The Garden and other major venues.”
“I’m really excited to go back to The Garden. It’s my first time back since my pro debut and I’m looking forward to putting on another great show for all the fans that are coming to see me, it feels already like it’s my second home,” said Conlan. “December 9 is a huge night for boxing and I’m honoured to be a part of it! Make sure you tune in. This is show is not to be missed!”
“I’m feeling great and ready to perform again at Madison Square Garden. My fight there in May was one of my best so I’m excited to return and outdo my last performance on one of the biggest boxing cards of the year, Lomachenko-Rigondeuax,” said Stevenson. “I’m looking to really make a name for myself and put on an amazing performance for everyone at The Theater and all the viewers tuning in on ESPN. Getting the chance to spar with Vasyl Lomachenko, in this camp, prepared me well for this fight and showed me where I am skill-wise, mentally and overall as a boxer. I am ready for anything and I was blessed to have the chance to go out to California and spar with Lomachenko.”
“On December 9, you will see a more disciplined ‘Pitufo’ — one that fights intelligently, with more quickness, but above all else, one that fights with a lot of hunger inside the ring. I have been eating gym for a couple of months and I also ate gym during Thanksgiving. On December 9, I will eat Casey Ramos,” said Diaz. “I have a great opportunity in front of me. This will be the fight and the performance that will launch me to the next level. If Lomachenko and Rigondeaux don’t give the fans the kind of fight they want, ‘Pitufo’ Diaz will steal the show.”
“I’m beyond excited to fight in New York City, not only because I’ll be fighting at the historic Garden but because of the energy I know New York boxing fans are going to bring to the venue. They’re some of the most passionate fans in the United States and I want to give them a great show,” said Mayer. “I’m grateful to be with a promoter who sees what female boxers can bring to the table and I thank them for giving me such a stage to perform on. This is where the best of us women belong and I’m ready to show New York my skills.”
“I think of Madison Square Garden as the Mecca of Boxing. Lots of history and big names have fought there. I am looking forward to coming from Texas and fighting there,” said Ramos. “Fighting for the WBO’s NABO title positions me to fight for a world title. That is what I will be seeking after beating Christopher Diaz. Fighting on ESPN makes it even more special where a fighter like me can
gain expansive fan base exposure. As far as Diaz in front of me I don’t think he’s fought the caliber of fighters I have — meaning he has less experience than me. So those advantages will be shown in the ring on December 9 — my experience and ability — in a win over Diaz.”
“There is a reason why this sport is called the Sweet Science. People may think it is easy to go into the ring on fight night but it is not. I’ve been working at our gym in Philadelphia getting into the right comfort zone while in the ring fighting. That means being at ease when you go to work and attack your opponent in special unique ways to make him unsettled and uncomfortable. There is a lot of thought process going on when you are inside the ropes. This is my fourth time at Madison Square Garden. Looking forward to it,” said Jennings.