Fight Week Preview

After what was perhaps the most exciting weekend of boxing this year the sweet science follows up with an excellent encore as three different countries will play host to four major cards.

The action kicks off in the USA on Friday evening in San Diego, California. The Top Rank card is headlined by a world title fight between defending WBO Featherweight champ Emmanuel “Vaquero” Navarette, 34-1 (29), and former world title challenger Joet Gonzalez, 24-1 (14). Navarette who held a 122-pound world title from 2018-2020, moved up to Featherweight last year and after a single tune-up fight outpointed Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title, he then defended the title in a highly entertaining scrap against back in April against rugged contended Christopher Diaz a highly competitive fight in which “Vaquero” reigned victorious via 12th round TKO. Gonzalez has previously challenged for this exact belt back in late 2019 and was easily outpointed by Shakur Stevenson. Gonzalez has fought just once and scored a career-best win in outclassing Miguel Marriaga last September. Gonzalez has been inactive for the last 13-months.

The undercard features three- highly touted prospects in Giovani Santillan, Lindolfo Delgado, and Floyd Diaz. Three of Top Rank’s prized jewels. Santillan who is coming off an impressive points victory over Cecil McCalla will take a step up in class as he battles Angel Ruiz. Floyd Diaz, who is perhaps Top Rank’s most highly regarded youngster, had a tougher than expected scrap with Jaime Jasso back in June bounced back against Jose Ramirez. Lindolfo Delgado. looks to move in the 140-pound world title picture as he scraps with Mexican tough guy Tloxing Juan Garcia.

The action in the US continues on Saturday as former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia makes his much-anticipated return to the ring. Garcia (40-1) battles Sandor Martin in the main event in Fresno, California. Garcia has fought just once since his lopsided loss to Errol Spence jr. Who scored an entertaining and competitive decision over Jessie Vargas last February. Garcia has been out of the ring for the past 19-months. Martin has compiled an impressive record of 38-2 (13) and most recently fought in April when he outclassed Kay Prospere. He has scored nine consecutive victories since losing to Anthony Yigit in 2017. His career-best win came over Joe Hughes in late 2019 outpointing the Brit over 12-rounds for the European 140-pound title.

The event sports a sensational undercard. Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, younger brother of Joshua Franco, returns to action for the first time this year to battle Jose Burgos. Burgos battled Franco back in 2020 in Rodriguez’s hometown of San Antonio and was stopped in nine. Bam, fought three times in 2020, most recently in December when he blew away former world title challenger Saul Juarez in just two rounds. Also in action is Australian knockout artist Brock Jarvis, who sports a 19-0 (17) record and takes the biggest challenge of his young career in Alejandro Frias Rodriguez. Rodriguez sports a 13-4-2 (6) record and most recently fought back in July and won a unanimous six-round decision over a fighter named Flavio Hernandez Valverde, in what amounted to tune-up.
The action moves to the UK as Hughie Fury battles Chrisitan Hammer in a scheduled 12-rounder at the Newcastle Arena. Fury, takes his biggest challenge since losing a competitive decision to Alexander Povetkin in the summer of 2019. Fury has won two fights since the loss to Povetkin including most recently this past December he threw a near shut-out performance against Mariusz Wach at Wembley Arena. Hammer, should offer a solid test as he has recently been the distance with both Luis Ortiz and Tony Yoka. he most recently fought Patryk Kowoll, back in May and scored a third-round knockout.

The co-main event features women’s WBO Female Middleweight titleholder Savannah Marshall, who puts both her title and her perfect 10-0 (8) record on the line against Lolita Muzeya, who is also undefeated at 16-0 (8) and has most recently fought back in January where she scored a first-round knockout over Happy Daudi. The card also features the return of Chris Eubank Jr, who battles Wanik Awdijan. Eubank looks to bounce back from a lackluster UD victory over Marcus Morrison back in May. Fan-favorite knockout artist Lewis Ritson also returns for the first time since his loss to Jeremias Nicolas Ponce. He battles long-time contender and slick boxing American Hank Lundy, in what should be an intriguing contrast of styles.

The weekend’s final card is in Riga, Latvia as hometown hero, and IBF Cruiserweight kingpin Mairis Briedis returns to the ring for the first time in 2021 to battle Artur Mann. Mann, 17-1 (9) has won two consecutive fights, including his most recent win a third-round knockout of Rod Rashid in Germany, since his last loss to Kevin Lerena back in March of 2019. Briedis, a two-time world champion, had the only loss of his career in a highly competitive 12-rounds points loss to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018. The Latvian has won four consecutive fights since his lone setback. In his last outing, he outpointed dreaded Cuban KO artist Yuniel Dorticos last September.

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