30
Sep
2020

Top Rank Boxing’s remarkable October schedule, not a PPV fee in sight

Top Rank schedule

Top Rank Boxing has put together an outstanding line-up of bouts for October, topped by an undisputed lightweight unification on October 17.

Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez lock horns for all the marbles at 135 pounds. The fight in itself is worthy of a significant Pay Per View fee.

But in a gesture to loyal fans though the coronavirus pandemic, Top Rank and ESPN made the decision to air the bout via their usual method.

Even staving off broadcasting via the pay monthly ESPN+ network.

Promoted by Top Rank, Lomachenko vs Lopez (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) headlines a can’t-miss month of boxing on the ESPN family of networks.

This also includes the long-awaited return of Japanese pound-for-pound superstar Naoya “Monster” Inoue, who will defend his WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles on Halloween evening, Saturday, Oct. 31, against Australian contender Jason “Mayhem” Moloney.

The rest of the programming sees a further unified champion in Artur Beterbiev defending his belts. Whilst Emmanuel Navarrete vies for a second-weight title.

TOP RANK OCTOBER SCHEDULE

Saturday, October 3

Jose Zepeda (32-2, 2 NC, 25 KOs) vs. Ivan Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs)
MGM Grand Las Vegas
10 Rounds, Junior Welterweight
ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Zepeda and Baranchyk were scheduled to meet inside the “Bubble” July 7, but a training injury to Baranchyk forced a postponement. Zepeda, a two-time world title challenger, instead fought Kendo Castaneda on July 7, cruising to a unanimous win. Baranchyk formerly held the IBF junior welterweight world title, defeating Anthony Yigit via seventh-round TKO to pick up the vacant title in October 2018. In May 2019, he was dethroned by current WBA/IBF world champion Josh Taylor in a competitive 12-round battle. He rebounded last October with a fourth-round stoppage over Gabriel Bracero at Madison Square Garden. The winner of this bout will be ranked No. 1 by the WBC at 140 pounds for the belt currently held by Jose Ramirez.

Emanuel Navarrete




Zanfer

Friday, October 9

Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 28 KOs) vs. Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs)
MGM Grand Las Vegas
12 Rounds, Vacant WBO Featherweight World Title
ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

After five defenses of his WBO junior featherweight world title, Navarrete is ready to conquer the featherweight division. The “Mexican Iron Man” and boxing’s most active world champion, Navarrete fought six world title bouts in just over 14 months (December 2018 to February 2020). He last fought a non-title bout against Uriel Lopez on June 20 in Mexico City, scoring a sixth-round TKO. The WBO No. 1 featherweight contender, Navarrete has won 27 consecutive bouts, including 14 of his last 15 by stoppage. Villa, from Salinas, Calif., has defeated contenders Alexei Collado, Jose Enrique Vivas, and Luis Alberto Lopez in his last three bouts to earn the world title shot.

Friday, October 23

Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) vs. Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs)
Moscow
12 Rounds, Beterbiev’s WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles
ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Undercard: ESPN+, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT

Boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, Beterbiev will fight for the first time since knocking out Oleksandr Gvozdyk in a highly anticipated world title unification bout last October. A two-time Russian Olympian, Beterbiev has never fought in his home nation as a professional and will do so against Deines, a fellow Russian who now calls Germany home. Deines has won two in a row since a decision loss to Meng Fanlong, while Beterbiev has made three world title defenses since winning the vacant IBF world title with a 12th-round stoppage over Enrico Koelling in November 2017.

In the ESPN-televised co-feature, a WBO light heavyweight world title eliminator, No. 1-ranked contender Umar Salamov will face No. 2-ranked contender Maxim Vlasov, with the winner expected to fight Joe Smith Jr. for the vacant world title. Both Salamov and Vlasov recently signed promotional contracts with Top Rank.

Naoya Inoue
Naoki Fukuda / WBSS

Saturday, October 31

Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) vs. Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs)
MGM Grand Las Vegas
12 Rounds, Inoue’s IBF/WBA Bantamweight World Titles
ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT


A three-division world champion and a consensus Top 5 pound-for-pound fighter, Inoue makes his Las Vegas debut and his fourth bantamweight world title defense against a man who is ranked in the Top 5 by every major sanctioning organization. Inoue is coming off a unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire last November, a fight named by many outlets as the Fight of the Year. Prior to the Donaire bout, Inoue knocked out four consecutive opponents in three rounds or less, including a second-round stoppage over Emmanuel Rodriguez to win the IBF world title. Inoue’s ring return was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has a stiff test in Moloney, an Australian boxer-puncher who made his “Bubble” debut June 25 with a knockout over Leonardo Baez. Moloney has won four straight bouts, all by knockouts, since a controversial split decision loss to Rodriguez for the IBF world title.