There will be no shortage of fisticuffs of with Philly ties to start off the new year. The first round of 2020 will be quiet the opening weekend but after that will have champions and contenders fighting across multiple locations and networks each looking to further their place in the hallowed halls of Philadelphia boxing history.
We’re going to give you the rundown of who when and where for this busy month of boxing.
Jaron Ennis vs. Bakhtiyar Eyubov (January 10th Ocean City Resort, Atlantic City NJ 7pm Showtime)
Jaron “Boots” Ennis (24-0-0 22 KO’s) could very well become the next belt holder from Philly. The welterweight contender finishes fights and has a size advantage over most of the current champions in the welterweight division. Eyubov will likely present a step up in competition but Boots will need more before he’s ready for the top echelon fighters in his division. He’s ranked #7 by ESPN on their list of 2019’s top boxing prospects. It’s a slow burn for sure but Ennis will entertain you for the short amount of time he tends to spend in the ring.
This fight will be on Showtime and is the undercard to the matchup of Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazian for the vacant WBC and WBO Female Jr. Middleweight titles. Alicia Espinosa meets Elin Cederroos with the WBA and IBF Female Super Middleweight titles on the line.
Jesse Hart vs. Joe Smith Jr. (January 11th Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City NJ 7pm ESPN)
The grudge match finally goes off the next night just down the street. Jesse Hart (26-2-0 21 KO’s) is out to avenge his mentor Bernard Hopkins as he takes on former title contender Joe Smith Jr. Hart will be in his second fight at light heavyweight as he tries to vault up the rankings in his new division. Smith Jr. will be looking to secure a 2nd shot at a belt. It’ll be power puncher against power puncher, but Hart’s best chance at victory will likely be by trying to outbox Smith. If he sticks to that remains to be seen.
The fight is deeply personal for Hart. After Hopkins was knocked through the ropes by Smith, his legendary career came to a crushing end. A mentor for Hart most of his life, that moment has been burned into his mind. He’s promised to hurt Smith, no matter the personal cost. There are no major titles on the line, but the fight is guaranteed to be violent.
If you’re tuning into ESPN for the fight, the undercard will feature ESPN’s 13th ranked prospect Joseph Adorno. After going 3-0 in 2019 and pushing his record to 14-0 12 KO’s and will get a push from Top Rank very soon. His younger brother Jeremey Adorno is also on the card and has a perfect record, and Shinard Bunch, a hard hitting prospect from Trenton who has shown top tier talent in his short career. It might be as good as the fights of yesteryear in AC.
Julian Williams vs. Jeison Rosario WBA, IBF, IBO Super Welterweight Title Fight (January 18th Liacouras Center, Philadelphia PA, Fox 8pm)
After getting knocked out in his first attempt at a world title, Julian Williams (27-1-1 16 KOs)made the climb back up the mountain and stunned a decent portion of the boxing world by dropping and then successfully out dueling Jarret Hurd for the lions share of titles at super welterweight. Now he’s making his return to Philly with belts on the line at the Liacouras Center against Jeison Rosario, a tough Dominican who is determined to do to Williams, exactly what he did to Hurd last year.
On the undercard is an all Philly matchup that could be a show stealer. Paul Kroll (6-0 5 KOs) is a former Team USA member and he faces off against a popular local fighter in Marcel Rivers (7-2 4 KOs) in an eight round super welterweight contest. Also poised to be a fun bout is Jorge Cota (29-4-0 26 KOs) vs. NJ native Thomas “Cornflake” Lamana (28-2-1 10 KOs) in another super welterweight fight, this one a 10 rounder. Plus in the semi final fight, undefeated Chris Colbert (13-0-0 5 KOs) battles a cagey vet in Jezzrel Corrales (23-3-0 9 KOs) for the interim WBA super featherweight title.
Danny Garcia vs. Ivan Redkach and Stephen Fulton vs. Arnold Khegai (IBO World Super Bantamweight Title, January 25th Brooklyn NY, Showtime 9pm)
The one time face of Philly boxing Danny Garcia (35-2-0 21 KOs) is one win away from likely being back in the title picture. He could be facing Errol Spence or maybe even Manny Pacquiao, but he’s got to get passed Ivan Redkach (23-4-1 18 KOs) in order to do so. The Ukrainian veteran has stopped his last two opponents, but is still relatively new to the weight class. Garcia is expected to win without much trouble.
The more compelling bout may be on the undercard. Another Philadelphian in Stephen Fulton (17-0-0 8 KOs) will fight his 2nd straight undefeated opponent as he makes his 2nd title defense, this time against Arnold Khegai (16-0-1 10 KOs), who despite being from the Ukraine had recently based himself in Philly. A former world champion Thai boxer, after a knee injury he focused in on his hands and now has a title shot in a very unconventional Philly on Philly matchup.
This one is on Showtime so if you don’t have it make plans to see someone who does it, but it could very much be worth it if you’re unable to haul yourself over to the Barclays Center.
Tevin Farmer vs. Joseph Diaz IBF World Super Featherweight Title (January 30th Meridian at Island Gardens, Miami FL, DAZN 9PM)
There has been a lot of trash talk between Tevin Farmer (30-4-1 6 KOs) and Joseph “Jojo” Diaz (30-1-0 15 KOs) over the last year or so and its finally going to culminate in a co main event bout to help close out the month. Farmer battled back from being shot in the hand to becoming a champion, and has already made four successful title defenses. Diaz will have a power advantage over Farmer but Farmer will have the reach and defense rated amongst the best in the division. He’s also got Jono Carroll hanging around his camp, a former opponent for his title. It’ll be his toughest defense to date, and with Gervonta Davis now out of the division it might lead to a unification bout for the winner.
This one will be streaming on DAZN and part of a trio of title fights on the evening. Daniel Roman will risk his WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Murodjon Akhmadaliev, a highly ranked prospect from Uzbekistan. The main event will be another title defense by Demetrius Andrade as the undefeated (28-0-0 17 KOs) WBO champion fights Luke Keeler (17-2-1 5 KOs) a European Champion. A word of advice though, be careful when you tune in, or you might have to watch Jake Paul fight again.
It’s a busy busy month coming forward for Philadelphia fight fans, so stock up on snack and beverages, put some money in the PPV fund and enjoy!