AFTER a hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic, Showtime Sports in the US, in conjunction with Premier Boxing Champions, have announced an ambitious roster of fights for the rest of the year.
The highlights on their schedule include Jermall Charlo versus Sergey Derevyanchenko in a pay-per-view double header with twin brother Jermell Charlo versus Jeison Rosario to unify the WBC, WBA and IBF super-welterweight world titles on September 26.
“We’re the future of boxing. We’re going to let everyone in the world see the great things that me and my twin brother have done for the sport,” said Jermall Charlo. “Of course, the pandemic made us separate a lot of things in our routine and do things slightly differently. But I also can work out here at home so it hasn’t been too tough for me to stay sharp.
“Every fight is tough and I’m coming in prepared like always. Derevyanchenko is a highly rated fighter and we’re both going to go in there to get the job done.
“It would definitely deliver a statement to the boxing world if I knock him out. The power is for real and I can get in there and hurt just about anybody.
“I feel like we’re going to meet in the middle of the ring and let our hands go. May the best man win. My game plan is going to be to shut his game plan down. We’ll see on fight night.”
Another top level clash will see Gervonta Davis fight Leo Santa Cruz for the WBA super-featherweight title in another pay-per-view bout on October 24.
Showtime’s run of events begins with Stephen Fulton fighting Angelo Leo on August 1. On August 15 WBC super-middleweight titlist David Benavidez defends against Roamer Alexis Angulo.
“I’m very excited to come back. We’ve been out of the ring for almost a year,” Benavidez said. “It was a little difficult getting this camp started because Seattle was the epicenter of the pandemic. So, the number one key was to stay home, stay safe, and train at the right times. Now that we have the fight in August, we’ve brought a couple guys from different cities and everyone has been tested and everything has been good. I’m in my dad’s gym, so we can train whenever we want. We’ve been having a great training camp so far and now it’s just getting to the date smoothly.
“My main goal right now is to give the fans at home the best possible fight I can possibly give them. Angulo has a nice record and he has a lot of knockouts. I have a lot of knockouts so it’s going to be fireworks all night,” he added. “I’m expecting him to come forward, this is his second world title fight. I think he’s here to make a statement and I know he’s taking this fight very seriously. I want these tough fights. I want these brawls. I want these barn burners. You don’t want to blink because this fight is going to end in a knockout.”
Looking to his own future he said, “My main goal is to get to Caleb Plant [the IBF champion]. That’s the fight I want the most, that’s the fight I feel the fans want the most. Since we’re in the same promotion company that’s fairly easy. I was hoping to get that fight by the end of this year but the pandemic kind of messed up a lot of things. I’m not looking past Angulo – he looks like a great fighter and he looks like a strong fighter. I want to get past this fight and then hopefully by the beginning of next year we can get to Caleb Plant.
“As of right now there are a lot of great fights at 168lbs. There’s Caleb Plant, there’s Callum Smith, there’s Canelo, there’s Billy Joe Saunders. There are so many great fighters at 168 and there are a lot of great fights to be made. I’m going to be here until I make all of those fights. I have a long time left in this boxing game. I still have about 10 or 13 years in this boxing game left, so I don’t have to move up too quick. As soon as I get all of these fights and all of the belts I want to get at 168, then it’s time to move up.”
Another high quality super-welter contest sees Erickson Lubin fight Terrell Gausha on September 19.
Sergey Lipinets versus Kudratillo Abdukakhorov and Chris Colbert versus Jaime Arboleda are set for October 10 and November 28 respectively.
Showtime’s run of events culminates in Nordine Oubaali fighting Nonito Donaire for the WBC bantamweight title.
“We’re thrilled to announce what we believe is the strongest and most comprehensive schedule in all of boxing. Meaningful fights, competitive matchups. This is what boxing fans have been waiting for ever since the sport shut down in March. Between that March date, our last event on ShoBox, and August 1 will be 141 days that we’ve been down. Like everyone else, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time coming up with protocols – but also a tremendous amount of time coming up with this schedule. From highly regarded prospects to emerging stars and big-time champions, we put them all in tough matchups. This lineup really delivers on our promise to boxing fans with the biggest fights, the most exciting fights, and the highest quality presentation in the sport. We’re doing nine telecasts with what are unquestionably the most significant fights in the sport since boxing has restarted,” said Showtime president Stephen Espinoza. “This is a really high-quality schedule with five months of meaningful fights, competitive fights and fights that are really going to determine champions and challengers for the foreseeable future.
“We weren’t going to come back just for the sake of coming back. We wanted to come back at a high level with meaningful fights – with fights which would remind the public why they’re excited about the sport of boxing. So, we put together a schedule week after week of competitive fights, with big names, with meaningful fights. Before we know it, this sport is going to be back where it should be in terms of momentum and positive energy.”