Badou Jack Challenges 175-Pound Champ Nathan Cleverly & Undefeated Andrew Tabiti Takes on Two-Time World Champion Steve Cunningham In Trio Of High-Stakes Matchups Preceding Mayweather vs. McGregor Main Event
Saturday, Aug. 26 Live on SHOWTIME PPV at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT From T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (August 10, 2017) – Two world championship fights including a title defense by America’s youngest world champion are part of the trio of high stakes matchups on the Mayweather vs. McGregor SHOWTIME PPV undercard on Saturday, Aug. 26 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and presented by Mayweather Promotions.
The four-fight SHOWTIME PPV event, beginning live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, is headlined by the unprecedented super welterweight matchup between boxing‘s undefeated all-time great Floyd Mayweather and UFC superstar Conor McGregor. In the co-featured bout, undefeated rising star Gervonta “Tank” Davis will make the second defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship against undefeated challenger Francisco Fonseca as the 22-year-old looks to continue his reign as the youngest current champion from the U.S.
WBA Light Heavyweight Titlist Nathan Cleverly will defend his title against former 168-pound world champion Badou Jack “The Ripper”, who is stepping up in weight and into this world title tilt.
The pay-per-view telecast will open with undefeated rising cruiserweight contender Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti taking ontwo-time world champion Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham in a 10-round bout for the USBA cruiserweight title.
“What a night this will be for fight fans,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Not only will they witness a first of its kind main event, but they will also see two incredible world title fights, as Mayweather Promotions’ very own current and former world champions go head-to-head in separate bouts. Gervonta Davis is nothing short of pure boxing talent with dynamite power. Former super middleweight world champion Badou Jack is making his light heavyweight debut, and looking to take the title away from a tough and experienced Nathan Cleverly. But first, Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti will open the pay-per-view telecast with what I expect to be a magnificent performance. This diverse card is an epic, international affair stacked with talent. Make sure you don’t miss the biggest event the sport has ever seen.”
“This undercard includes three meaningful matches featuring fighters we’ve seen develop over the years on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Gervonta Davis has fast-tracked himself to stardom on this network, we’ve seen Badou Jack develop from prospect to champion, and we’re now witnessing similar growth with Andrew Tabiti. We’re excited to watch them compete in tough, competitive matchups on this global stage.”
Gervonta Davis vs. Francisco Fonseca – IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship
One of the fastest-rising young stars in the sport, Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) became the youngest reigning champion from the U.S. when he knocked out Jose Pedraza in January to capture the IBF 130-pound crown. The 22-year-old made his first title defense in style when he went to London and stopped Liam Walsh in May. Both bouts aired live on SHOWTIME. Representing Baltimore, Davis won the 2012 National Golden Gloves championship and scored knockouts in his first eight fights after turning pro in 2013. He enters this matchup on a streak of nine-straight fights that have ended with a knockout victory.
“I’m really excited to fight as the co-main event on the biggest card in combat sports history,” said Davis. “I plan to put on a great show for everyone in attendance in Las Vegas and for those who purchase the PPV. I want to thank my team for this incredible opportunity. I’m ready for Floyd Mayweather to pass his torch to me. To my fans, I appreciate all of you. Support me and I’ll fight for you!”
Fighting out of San Ramon, Costa Rica, Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs) has won 19 straight fights after turning pro with a majority draw in 2013. Fonseca quickly established himself as one of the top fighters from his country with victory after victory, including a fourth-round knockout of Luis Gonzlaez to capture a regional 130-pound belt last August. The 23-year-old will make his U.S. debut when he faces Davis and he enters this contest having won his last five bouts inside of the distance. Fonseca began his 2017 with a third round knockout of Eliecer Lanzas in March and is trained by two-time world champion Ivan Calderon.
“I am super grateful for this great opportunity,” said Fonseca. “The dream of every young boxer is to fight for the world title and this opportunity comes at the best moment of my career and in the biggest in the history of this sport. I will beat Gervonta Davis and I will shock the world that night.”
Nathan Cleverly vs. Badou Jack – WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship
A two-time world champion at light heavyweight, Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) bounced back from a defeat to Andrzej Fonfara in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender to defeat hometown champ Juergen Braehmer last October to pick up his WBA title. Cleverly’s previous title reign saw him take down the likes of Tony Bellew, Nadjib Mohammedi, Shawn Hawk and Tommy Karpency before dropping a contest to Sergey Kovalev. The Wales resident will make his fourth start in the U.S., having won two of his first three contests stateside.
“This is a fight I have wanted ever since Badou Jack moved to light heavyweight and I’m delighted to fight in Vegas on an event like this,” said Cleverly. “I’ve trained long and hard for this fight and I’m ready to be let off the leash. This is the biggest fight of my career so far and I’m going to do a number on Badou Jack on August 26.”
Now fighting in the 175-pound division, Jack’s final fight at 168 pounds came in a title unification on SHOWTIME in January against James DeGale. Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) shook off an early knockdown to floor DeGale in the final round in a close majority draw in which both fighters retained their belts. The 2008 Olympian from Gambia won his world title in 2015 by defeating then unbeaten Anthony Dirrell and defended the belt against current champion George Groves and former champion Lucian Bute. The 33-year-old is unbeaten in his last six bouts as he seeks a world title in a second weight class.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity and I’m excited about getting another shot at a world title,” said Jack. “To be a part of this event and fighting on this card is historic. Nothing beats it. I’m excited to get back in the ring. I’m getting ready to take that belt, and win a title in my second weight class. The biggest difference between past training camps and preparing for this fight is the fact that I was training to get the weight down, now I’m training to build muscle and perfect my boxing strategy. This will be a tough fight, but I don’t see any issues getting through it. I feel confident and fans can expect a win by knockout or decision. He’s not leaving with that belt. It’s staying right here in Las Vegas.”
Andrew Tabiti vs. Steve Cunningham – 10 Round Cruiserweight Bout
Originally from Chicago but fighting out of Las Vegas, Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs) recorded victories against previously unbeaten fighters Keith Tapia and Quantis Graves in his last two outings – both on ShoBox: The New Generation – as he works to solidify himself as a contender in the red hot cruiserweight division. The 27-year-old turned pro in 2013 after amassing a solid 32-6 amateur record and scored knockout victories in his first 10 fights. He’ll battle his most experienced opponent to date when he faces the multiple-time champion Cunningham.
“I’ve always been dedicated when it comes to training and this camp has been no different,” said Tabiti. “I know I am fighting a veteran who has a lot of experience, so I can’t slack on my conditioning and training. He’s tough and he’s only been stopped once and that was when he moved up in weight to heavyweight, so it would be a big statement for me to stop him. This fight is a test for me. Anytime you get in the ring you never really know how things will pan out, but I have a great team. To the fans, expect a victory and a great fight on August 26th because I am going to make sure I come out on top.”
Representing the great fight city of Philadelphia, Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs) returned to action in March with a victory over Felipe Romero after an exciting challenge of cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki in April 2016. Twice a world champion as a cruiserweight, he defeated Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in 2006 to capture his belt before successfully defending his title against Marco Huck via a twelfth-round TKO. He became a world champion again in 2010 when he stopped Troy Ross in the fifth round. The experienced veteran also owns victories over previously unbeaten fighters Amir Mansour and Natu Visinia and scored a knockdown of Tyson Fury in a losing effort during their 2013 bout.
“This is one of the biggest cards of the decade and its mind blowing to be a part of it,” said Cunningham. “I have to top it off with a victory. Taking on a good, undefeated young prospect is a challenge in itself, but a victory will prove age is just a number. Hard work is a part of my everyday life.”
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing