Tagged in: titleholder

Deontay Wilder, Robert Helenius working on finalizing deal for PBC PPV fight in October

Former heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and Robert Helenius are in the process of concluding a deal for a PBC on FOX pay-per-view fight Oct. 15 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) contemplated retirement following a brutal 11th-round KO loss to Tyson Fury in their October 2021 fight that was named ESPN’s Fight of the Year.

The 36-year-old will lastly face a different adversary for the first time since November 2019, following two consecutive inside-the-distance defeats to Fury.

Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) last fought on the Fury-Wilder undercard, when he scored a TKO over Adam Kownacki in a second consecutive bout.

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The fringe contender, who fights out of Finland, has competed just three times since a KO defeat to Gerald Washington in July 2019.

Wilder, ESPN’s No. 3 heavyweight, delivered perhaps his most memorable career performance in defeat. He was given little chance following the second meeting with Fury, when “The Gypsy King” brutalized him en route to a seventh-round TKO, but Wilder was able to floor Fury twice in Round 4.

The Olympic bronze medalist is perhaps the most imposing puncher in boxing, and with a win he could find himself in line for a matchup versus Andy Ruiz next year if the former champ defeats Luis Ortiz on Sept. 4.

Heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez is slated to compete on the Oct. 15 undercard, sources said. BoxingScene.com first reported the Wilder-Helenius news.

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Herring set for July title defense in Las Vegas

WBO junior lightweight titleholder Jamel Herring is set to return on July 2 in Las Vegas, headlining an ESPN card in a title defense versus an opponent to be named.

The 34-year-old ex-Olympian Herring (21-2, 10 KO) won the 130-pound belt in May 2019 by defeating Masayuki Ito, and made a successful first title defense in November, out-pointing mandatory contender Lamont Roach Jr.

Herring was set to face Carl Frampton this spring, but COVID-19 shelved that fight, where Herring was set to go over to Belfast to face the popular former two-division titleholder.

Frampton (27-2, 15 KO) definitely won’t be the July 2 opponent, as he can’t get to the United States with travel restrictions, but that fight is still in the cards at some point, so long as Herring doesn’t lose his belt. Frampton doesn’t seem interested in any tune-up bouts, perhaps due to the injury problems he’s had recently.

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Of fighters ranked in the WBO’s top 15, only Abraham Nova, Jonathan Oquendo, and Lamont Roach Jr would seem available as far as travel goes.

The 26-year-old Nova (18-0, 14 KO) is probably the most interesting option of that group, and made his Top Rank debut in January, but if Top Rank feels they might have something there, they probably wouldn’t want to put him in with Herring right now.

Oquendo (31-6, 19 KO) is a 36-year-old Puerto Rican veteran, a solid fighter who might be exactly the sort of opponent everyone will settle for here, while Roach (19-1-1, 7 KO) just had his shot and came up short.

Top Rank’s Oscar Valdez is the No. 1 contender, but it’s not going to be Valdez, who is targeting Miguel Berchelt and the WBC title.Top Rank’s first card back will come on June 9 on ESPN, with Shakur Stevenson likely to main event. It’s expected the company will be running two shows per week on ESPN outlets for a while.

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