Davis Defends Against Unbeaten Liam Walsh To Open the Show From London; Russell Faces Mandatory Challenger Oscar Escandon In Main Event from Outside Washington D.C.
NEW YORK (May 10, 2017) – America’s youngest world champion, Gervonta Davis, will make his first world title defense in the opening bout and featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. will make his mandatory world title defense in the main event of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event on Saturday, May 20, live on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT*.
Davis will travel to Britain to defend his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship against undefeated No. 1-ranked contender and local favorite Liam Walsh from Copper Box Arena in London. Russell will make a long-awaited homecoming—his first professional fight in the region—and his second WBC Featherweight World Championship defense against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.
*Editors’ Note: In order to present all four bouts on one program, the Davis vs. Walsh bout may air on a delay basis of up to 30 minutes.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING host Brian Custer will anchor the four-fight telecast from Maryland with coverage of Davis vs. Walsh provided by BT Sport. Veteran sportscaster Mauro Ranallo will handle play-by-play at MGM National Harbor with Hall of Famer Al Bernstein and former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi serving as analysts. Emmy award winning sports reporter Jim Gray and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Farhood will also serve from ringside. Secondary Audio Programming will be offered in Spanish by Alejandro Luna and former world champ Raúl Marquez.
From London, John Rawling will handle play-by-play for Davis vs. Walsh with former world champion Richie Woodhall providing the color commentary at Copper Box Arena.
“May 20 will be a big night of boxing and it kicks off a run of four consecutive weeks of world class fights on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®. “We have consistently delivered the biggest and most important boxing events from around the globe to SHOWTIME subscribers. This unique presentation—four fights, two world championships and two title eliminators, from different continents, all on one show—is yet another example of our unrivaled commitment to the sport.”
The 22-year-old Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) is the youngest reigning world champion from the United States and the second youngest in the world. The Baltimore native and Floyd Mayweather protégé will travel to hostile territory in his first title defense against Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) in a matchup of undefeated southpaws.
Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) will look to make a statement in the loaded featherweight division against mandatory challenger Ecandon (25-2, 17 KOs), who owns a stunning knockout of former world champion Jesus Cuellar. Russell vs. Escandon is the sixth featherweight title bout on SHOWTIME since February 2016.
Two world title eliminators will round out the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING quadrupleheader. Top super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and José Uzcátegui (26-1, 22 KOs) will face off in an IBF Super Middleweight Eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for champion James DeGale.
Undefeated Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) will meet Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a WBA Super Lightweight Eliminator for unified champ Julius Indongo. Barthelemy, who won titles at 130 and 135, will earn an opportunity to become Cuba’s first three-division champion with a win over the hard-hitting Relikh.