WBC lightweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner will return to the ring on Feb. 16 against former beltholder Gavin Rees of Wales at Boardwalk Hall in in Atlantic City on HBO, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer confirmed on Friday.
“I am very happy that this fight got made,” said Schaefer. “These are two very exciting fighters and will provide a lot of fireworks at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Feb. 16.”
A 23-year-old from Cincinnati, Broner (25-0, 21 knockouts) is coming off November’s eighth-round knockout that dethroned Antonio DeMarco in Atlantic City on HBO.
A former WBO junior lightweight titletholder, Broner has won five straight by knockout and ended DeMarco’s streak of five consecutive wins, four of them by stoppage.
Reese (37-1-1, 18 KOs) is 10-0-1, with five knockouts since, himself, having been dethroned as junior welterweight titleholder via 12th-round stoppage by Andreas Kotelnik in March of 2008.
Schaefer had attempted to achieve a matchup between Broner and WBO lightweight beltholder holder Ricky Burns (35-2, 10 KOs), a 29-year-old winner of 20 consecutive fights, seven of them by knockout, but the fight did not come to fruition.
“We were looking at several opponents, and in the end, the only one which was willing to step up to the plate was Gavin,” said Schaefer. “I applaude him for that. It was easy to get a deal done with [Rees' promoter] Eddie Hearn since he wanted the fight as much as his fighter.”
Rees, 32, earned consecutive victories over previously unbeaten fighters John Watson and Andy Murray by 11th-round knockout and unanimous decision in November of 2010 and June of last year, respectively.
After battling to a draw with Derry Mathews in October of last year, Rees scored two straight knockouts, the last in the ninth round over Mathews in July.
On the Broner-DeMarco undercard, Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) floored Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs) three times in the second and final round, ending a streak for Mitchell that had gone for 23 consecutive victories, 18 of which were knockouts, including the past 10 straight.
Banks also rose to 9-0-1, with five stoppage wins during thar run as a heavyweight, last falling in his final bout as a 200-pound cruiserweight by eighth-round stoppage against Tomasz Adamek in February of 2009.
“As promoters, we want to bring fight fans exciting showdowns, and Feb. 16 will be such a night,” said Schaefer. “The opening bout will be the rematch between Seth Mitchell and Jonathan Banks. Seth knows what’s a stake and will want to prove that the first time was a fluke.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org