It’s a busy weekend for boxing, as Premier Boxing Champions comes to NBC, Zou Shiming fights for a world title in Macau, Zolani Tete defends against Paul Butler, and more. Goodbye, winter boxing doldrums!
BoxNation (UK), 2:00 pm EST, Zolani Tete vs Paul Butler, Jazza Dickens vs Josh Wale. A rare Friday show for BoxNation, and a welcome kickoff for a busy weekend, as Zolani Tete puts his IBF super flyweight title on the line against Paul Butler in Liverpool, which is one of the best fight crowds in the world. This fight has been in the works for a while now, and was postponed last time it was scheduled. Butler won the IBF bantamweight title last June, then vacated to move down in weight and go for another belt against Tete. Finally that fight has arrived. Dickens-Wale is for the vacant British super bantamweight title, too. BLH will have live coverage.
FOX Sports 1, 10:00 pm EST, Joseph Diaz Jr vs Juan Luis Hernandez, Santiago Guevara vs Carlos Morales, Jason Quigley vs Lanny Dardar. Oscar De La Hoya is obsessed with the idea of a “club fight” special in Los Angeles. Fight Night Club at Club Nokia was a total dud, and you can think of LA Fight Club as sort of a reboot of that idea. In truth, it’s a fine idea — mid-level, prospect-filled fights that return to the same area repeatedly and hopefully build a fan base. But it was sort of halfassed last time, and that happens a lot with boxing series ideas. Diaz and Quigley are all both legit prospects, though, and Guevara will have a chance to impress on TV. BLH will have live coverage.
ESPN2, 11:00 pm EST, Tony Harrison vs Antwone Smith, Ievgen Khytrov vs Jorge Melendez. A late starting FNF, but a nice doubleheader, too. Harrison is an unbeaten Kronk fighter who has shown good power so far as a pro, and Smith is a nice next step for him, a crafty veteran type who knows how to stay in fights. Khytrov is a very good prospect, too, and Melendez has decent power if nothing else. Rau’shee Warren, Erickson Lubin, and Jamel Herring are also scheduled to fight on this card. And Phil Lo Greco. BLH will have live coverage.
BoxNation (UK), 7:30 am EST, Amnat Ruenroeng vs Zou Shiming, Glen Tapia vs Daniel Dawson, Ik Yang vs Patomsuk Pathomothong. HBO2 will have a tape delay airing of this in the afternoon, but we’ll be here in the morning with full live coverage. Shiming is fighting for a world title in his seventh pro fight, and there’s every bit of reason to suspect he might lose this fight. He has been solid but hardly outstanding as a pro thus far, and Ruenroeng is an unbeaten titleholder with wins over Rocky Fuentes, Kazuto Ioka, and McWilliams Arroyo in his last three — all good fighters, all really good wins. If anyone has the idea that this is another soft touch for Shiming, or that they found some weak paper champion, that is absolutely not the case. BLH will have live coverage.
Sky Sports (UK), 2:30 pm EST, Tommy Coyle vs Martin Gethin, Shayne Singleton vs Sam Eggington, Luke Campbell vs TBA. Eddie Hearn gets a lot of credit for promoting and building fighters nicely, and for putting on some big fights, and for monopolizing the airwaves at Sky, but hey, how about this: this card is “rubbish,” as they say in jolly “old” England. Coyle is on a nice run and Singleton is unbeaten. Campbell doesn’t have an opponent named yet. Rocky Fielding and Bradley Saunders are also in action against no-hopers. BLH might have live coverage.
HBO2, 5:00 pm EST, TAPE DELAY: Ruenroeng-Shiming, Tapia-Dawson.
NBC, 8:30 pm EST, Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero, Adrien Broner vs John Molina, Abner Mares vs Arturo Santos Reyes. Al Haymon and his team are really putting together some progressive stuff leading up to these PBC cards, and this is the first one that will air. NBC gets the first crack with PBC, and it’s a damn good main event between Thurman and Guerrero, as Thurman looks to take another step forward, and Guerrero looks to upset the apple cart. Don’t count Guerrero out, either — this is a rough, gritty, tested fighter, and Thurman hasn’t yet had to deal with someone like him. Broner-Molina seems like an “easy” fight for Broner on paper, but Molina does a lot of the things that Marcos Maidana was able to do to beat Broner back in 2013. Molina is not as good or as heavy-handed as Maidana, but he can punch, and if he can make this his fight, Broner could be in for a long night. Mares-Reyes is a tune-up fight that Mares is taking because it’s what was available on this date. This is the third straight outing for Mares against an uninspiring opponent, but given his track record, it’s kind of forgivable. This is a guy that fought Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko (twice), Anselmo Moreno, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Jhonny Gonzalez from 2010-13. He’s trying to settle in at 126 and keep his batteries fresh right now. BLH will have live coverage.