Smith-Molina lands at Las Vegas Hard Rock on July 19

Newly crowned junior middleweight titleholder Ishe Smith will make the first defense of his IBF belt against top-10 contender Carlos Molina on Friday, July 19, at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in his native Las Vegas.

The event is presented by Mayweather Promotions and will be televised live on Showtime beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). The co-featured bouts of the broadcast will include unbeaten lightweight standout Mickey Bey and highly touted super middleweight prospect Badou Jack in separate fights.

“This is the homecoming I’ve been waiting for my entire career and there is no way that Carlos Molina is leaving Las Vegas with my championship belt,” said Smith. “He’s a tough fighter and a guy no one wants to fight, but that’s why I have no problem fighting him in my first title defense. I’m here to fight the best and show that I’m a true champion.”

Smith became the first Las Vegas native to win a major world title when he outpointed Cornelius Bundrage in Februrary.

“I respect Ishe Smith for stepping up and taking this fight, because not many world champions would,” said Molina. “That being said, this is my opportunity to win the title and it may not come around again, so I have to make the most of it and I will.”

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