With April ready to begin, Top Rank Boxing is set for multiple cards outside of Las Vegas, each headlined by a world title fight.
Several world title fights highlight a solid month of boxing for the promotional company with ESPN platforms broadcasting each card in some form.
Joe Smith & Maxim Vlasov Get Their Title Bout
Top Rank has an ESPN-televised card on April 10 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, headlined by the vacant WBO light heavyweight title bout between Joe Smith and Maxim Vlasov. The fight wraps up a long saga concerning the title ever since Canelo Alvarez vacated the belt in the spring of 2020.
Smith enjoyed a very successful 2020, having kicked off the year with an impressive win over Jesse Hart in January, followed by a stoppage win over former world champion Eleider Alvarez in August. Smith previously challenged for the WBA light heavyweight title in 2019, but suffered a decision loss to Dmitry Bivol.
As for Vlasov, ranked No. 2 by the WBO at 175 pounds, has not fought since November 2019 when he defeated Emmanuel Martey by unanimous decision. After competing as a cruiserweight for years, Vlasov is 3-0 in his current run at light heavyweight, which includes a win over former title challenger Isaac Chilemba.
In the co-main event, heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba will take on Brian Howard. Among the names fighting in the ESPN+ undercard, heavyweights Jared Anderson, Sonny Conto and Trey Lippe Morrison will be in action in separate bouts. In addition, Robson Conceicao, Albert Bell, Troy Isley and Duke Ragan have been previously announced to fight on the undercard.
April 24 Card Loads Up On Puerto Rican Talent
On April 24, Top Rank will head to Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida for an ESPN-televised card filled with up-and-coming Puerto Rican talent. The event will be headlined by Emanuel Navarrete’s latest WBO featherweight title against Christopher Diaz. In the co-main event, Edgar Berlanga, known for winning all 16 of his fights in the first round, will take on Demond Nicholson.
Navarrete, a two-division world champion, won the WBO featherweight title back in October 2020 when he defeated previously-unbeaten fighter Ruben Villa. Navarrete is known for his activity and is entering his eighth world title fight since December 2018.
Diaz will be looking to win his first world title after coming up short back in the summer of 2018 when he lost to Masayuki Ito for the WBO super featherweight title. Since then, Diaz moved down to featherweight where he is 3-1 in the four fights after losing to Ito. Diaz’s only loss in that span came against former featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson.
Fighters announced for the ESPN+ undercard for April 24 include Puerto Rican prospects such as Josue Vargas, Xander Zayas, Orlando Gonzalez, Henry Lebron, Joseph Adorno and Jeremy Adorno.
Top Rank Heading To Dubai For Jamel Herring-Carl Frampton Clash
Before either card can take place, Top Rank will have an ESPN+ event from Dubai on April 3. On that card, WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring will have his long-awaited title defense against Carl Frampton. The fight was originally set for February, but it got moved to April and re-located to Dubai. On the undercard, Zhankosh Turarov will take on Tyrone McKenna, Keyshawn Davis will face Richman Ashelley and Tursynbay Kulakhmet will box Heber Rondon. In addition, former world champion Donnie Nietes will have his first fight since New Year’s Eve in 2018 and take on Pablo Carrillo.