Before hometown hero and WBO No. 1 featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson headlines against Alberto Guevara at Newark’s Prudential Center on Saturday evening (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10:30 p.m. ET), boxing fans will be treated to a trio of world-class cards exclusively on ESPN+, the industry-leading sports streaming service.
Set your alarm clocks and smartphone alerts and get ready for a weekend fistic extravaganza.
FRIDAY (7 a.m. ET on ESPN+)
“Breakfast and Boxing” returns with one of the year’s most highly anticipated rematches, as Rob Brant will make the second defense of his WBA middleweight world title against the man he defeated to win the belt, Ryota Murata, at EDION Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan.
Brant (25-1, 17 KOs) upset Murata last October in Las Vegas, snatching the belt in a thrilling performance that saw him throw 1,262 punches, the second-most ever recorded by CompuBox in a middleweight bout. Murata (14-2, 11 KOs), who became a sporting hero in Japan after capturing Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympics, has not fought since. Brant, meanwhile, defended his belt in February on his home turf with an ESPN-televised 11th-round TKO over the previously undefeated Khasan Baysangurov in Hinckley, Minnesota.
In the co-feature, Ken “The Amazing Boy” Shiro will make the sixth defense of his WBC light flyweight title against Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing.
Shiro (15-0, 8 KOs), Japan’s longest-reigning current world champion, won the title May 20, 2017, with a majority decision over Ganigan Lopez. He went 3-0 in 2018, including a second-round knockout over Lopez in May on a card that streamed on ESPN+. In his last fight, Dec. 30 in Tokyo, he won a near-shutout decision over Saul Juarez. Taconing (28-3-1, 22 KOs) will be making his third attempt at the WBC light flyweight title. He lost a technical decision to Kompayak Porpramook in 2012 and a unanimous decision to Ganigan Lopez in 2016.
FRIDAY (3 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
#MTKFightNight returns from Liverpool Olympia, as former world title challenger James “Jazza” Dickens will battle Australian contender Nathaniel May in a 10-rounder for the vacant IBF European featherweight title.
Dickens (26-3, 11 KOs) has won four in a row since back-to-back losses to Guillermo Rigondeaux and Thomas Patrick Ward. May (21-1, 12 KOs) has won 17 consecutive bouts and is coming off a first-round stoppage over Jose Miguel Tamayo on June 14 in Tijuana, Mexico.
In other streaming action, former middleweight and super middleweight world title challenger Martin Murray (37-5-1, 17 KOs) will face Rui Manuel Pavanito (10-8-1, 5 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight bout; former British amateur standout Natasha Jones (7-1, 5 KOs) will take on Bec Connolly (2-5, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight; and former lightweight world champion Terry Flanagan (33-2, 13 KOs) will look to halt a two-bout skid against Jonas Segu (19-8-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout.
SATURDAY (2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
Queensberry Promotions presents a can’t-miss heavyweight doubleheader from the famed O2 Arena in London.
In the main event battle of unbeatens, Daniel “Dynamite” Dubois will fight Nathan Gorman in a scheduled 12-rounder for the vacant British title. Dubois (11-0, 10 KOs) has seven stoppages in two rounds or less and is coming off a spectacular fourth-round knockout April 27 over Richard Lartey on a card that streamed on ESPN+. Gorman (16-0, 11 KOs) has defeated former world title challengers in his last two bouts (Kevin Johnson and Razvan Cojanu) and is confident that he’ll pull off the upset.
In the 12-round co-feature, 2016 Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) will take a seismic step up in class versus former world title challenger Bryant Jennings (24-3, 14 KOs). Joyce has extended his perfect KO record with knockout wins this year over former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov and former world champion Bermane Stiverne, while Jennings is hoping to rebound from a shocking January TKO loss to the undefeated Oscar Rivas. The winner will be in prime position to challenge for a world title in the near future..