MATCHROOM ANNOUNCE ACTION-PACKED START TO UK 2021 SCHEDULE
Warrington, Kelly, Whyte, Okolie and Benn feature
Matchroom’s 2021 schedule launches with a bang on Saturday February 13 as Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs) faces Mexico’s Mauricio Lara (21-2, 14 KOs) as he waits for a huge fight later in the year, Manchester Super-Featherweight contender Zelfa Barrett (24-1, 15 KOs) defends his IBF Intercontinental Title against Spain’s former Super-Bantamweight World Champion Kiko Martinez (41-9-2, 29 KOs) in the chief support bout, Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (23-2, 13 KOs) clashes with unbeaten Doncaster man Reece Mould (13-0, 6 KOs) for the vacant British Featherweight Title, fast-rising Sheffield Super-Lightweight talent Dalton Smith (6-0, 5 KOs) takes on Rotherham’s Lee Appleyard (16-5-1, 5 KOs) and Leeds Featherweight Hopey Price (3-0, 1 KO) looks to build on his win over Jonny Phillips at Fight Camp last summer.
Russia’s European Welterweight Champion David Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) makes his long-awaited Title defence against Josh Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) at the top of the bill the following week on Saturday February 20, undefeated Welterweights Florian Marku (7-0-1, 5 KOs) and Rylan Charlton (6-0-1, 3 KOs) meet in what promises to be an explosive ten-round battle, Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10 KOs) returns against Spain’s Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7 KOs) following his win over Adam Harper at Fight Camp, Amy Timlin (4-0-1) and Carly Skelly (3-0-1) rematch for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title after their split draw on the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Derek Chisora undercard last October and explosive Romford Heavyweight Johnny Fisher makes his highly anticipated professional debut.
Alexander Povetkin’s (36-2-1, 25 KOs) blockbuster Heavyweight rematch with Dillian Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) lands on Saturday March 6, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all other markets excluding the UK and Ireland, with details of the chief support bout to be announced shortly, Bermondsey’s Ted Cheeseman (16-2-1, 9 KOs) meets Liverpool’s James Metcalf (21-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant British Super-Welterweight Title, Ipswich Heavyweight talent Fabio Wardley (10-0, 9 KOs) steps-up again against USA’s former World Title challenger Eric Molina (27-6, 19 KOs), Manchester Super-Featherweight Campbell Hatton – son of British fight legend Ricky Hatton – makes his professional debut and Wembley Super-Featherweight Youssef Khoumari ( 11-0-1, 4 KOs) faces Birmingham’s Kane Baker (14-7).
Hackney Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (15-0, 12 KOs) attempts to become Britain’s next World Champion in just his sixteenth fight when he clashes with Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO crown on Saturday March 20, Northampton’s Chantelle Cameron (13-0, 7 KOs) makes the first defence of her WBC Super-Lightweight Word Title against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Hernandez (23-7-3, 7 KOs), Bournemouth’s Commonwealth Cruiserweight Champion Chris Billam-Smith (11-1, 10 KOs) takes on Chelsea’s English Champion Deion Jumah (13-0, 7 KOs) for the vacant British Title, Somali-British prospect Ramla Ali (1-0) steps through the ropes for a second time as a pro and Birmingham’s former Team GB standout Solomon Dacres makes his professional debut.
On Saturday April 10 rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Title against Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) following his career-best performance last time out against Sebastian Formella. ‘The Destroyer’ dominated Germany’s Formella over ten rounds, impressively outfighting and outboxing the former IBO World Champion to remain undefeated in the red hot 147lbs division. Vargas has shared the ring with current WBC and IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr, two-weight World Champion Danny Garcia and former Unified Super-Lightweight World Champion Amir Khan. Also on the card, Aldridge’s Rachel Ball (7-1) and Watford’s Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs) rematch with the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title on the line, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) makes the first defence of her WBO Middleweight World Title after her emphatic win over Hannah Rankin in October, Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Felix Cash (13-0, 9 KOs) fights for the first time since his win over Jason Welborn and Glasgow Bantamweight Kash Farooq (14-1, 6 KOs) returns after his masterclass win over Angel Aviles.
Matchroom Sport Managing Director Eddie Hearn said: “Even in a pandemic I feel like this is the strongest start to a year Matchroom have had in a long time. It’s going to be a rough ride over the next couple of months but with plenty of drama and excitement along the way. We have some thrilling main events and stacked cards that feature some of the biggest names in British boxing returning to action as we look to make a real statement in 2021.”
Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development for Sky Sports, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with our strongest start to a New Year as we bring you more of the biggest names in British boxing. The hugely popular Josh Warrington kicks off our first live show on Sky Sports against Mauricio Lara, with a unification clash in touching distance.
“Josh Kelly settles his long-running rivalry with David Avanesyan, while Amy Timlin and Carly Skelly share the ring again on the same bill after battling to a draw. Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin delivered one of the most dramatic Heavyweight fights of last year and we’re expecting more fireworks in their rematch, with Campbell Hatton also making his pro debut, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
“Lawrence Okolie finally receives his World Title fight against Krzysztof Glowacki on another exciting night that features Ramla Ali’s return and Chantelle Cameron’s first defence of her WBC belt. It’s then Conor Benn’s turn to take centre stage in a crucial showdown with Samuel Vargas. Boxing is back in 2021, so get ready for more epic fights on Sky Sports.”
DAZN EVP Joseph Markowski said: “From a Heavyweight rematch to championship fights to a highly anticipated pro debut, the early 2021 schedule from Matchroom has a little bit of everything and we look forward to delivering these events to fans around the world on DAZN.”