A deal has been reached for undefeated heavyweights Mike Perez and Bryant Jennings, who are handled by K2 Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions, respectively, to fight on the undercard of unbeaten WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin's July 26 defense against former IBF/WBA beltholder Daniel Geale at Madison Square Garden in New York, the promoters announced on Monday.
"We’re very excited to add this outstanding heavyweight matchup to the action-packed 'G-4' boxing event featuring the return of Gennady Golovkin to Madison Square Garden," said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
"There is a lot at stake in this heavyweight fight and it's fitting that it take place at the 'Mecca of Boxing,' where so many legendary heavyweight bouts have been held. There is nothing like heavyweight boxing at Madison Square Garden."
Jennings (18-0, 10 knockouts), 29, was last in action scoring a 10th-round stoppage of Artur Szpilka in his last fight on January 25, one week after Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs), 28, battled once-beaten Carlos Takam to a draw.
Perez was cleared to begin training after suffering a shoulder injury canceled his original May 24 fight against Jennings. The entire Jennings-Perez card was canceled including a supporting bout between Geale and former title challenger Matthew Macklin.
"I commend HBO for sticking to their guns on making Jennings vs. Perez happen after the fight was called off. I know Bryant is thrilled to be returning to the Madison Square Garden, where he made his HBO debut and defeated Artur Szpilka, who was undefeated at the time," said Shaw.
"Jennings is eager to show everyone he's the best heavyweight contender out there. This will be a fight the fans will not want to miss. The next great American heavyweight will be on display and I'm talking about Bryant Jennings."
Jennings, for his part, emphasized Shaw's sentiment.
"The fight is on again and I'm ready to make a statement against Perez. My fans can expect another great performance on July 26 as I return to the Madison Square Garden," said Jennings. "HBO shows it's serious about bringing the heavyweight division back to its glory days by making this fight happen and I'm here to make a name for myself."
Perez-Jennings would represent the WBC's second title elimination bout.
"I'm very happy this bout has been rescheduled. My dream is to fight for the WBC heavyweight championship and a win over Jennings will bring me that much closer," said Perez. "I look forward to fighting on HBO again and I will prove that I deserve a shot at the heavyweight championship when I am victorious on July 26."
In the first WBC eliminator, Bermane Stiverne scored a sixth-round stoppage over Chris Arreola last month for the title vacated by Vitali Klitschko. Stiverne must make his first defense against Deontay Wilder and the victor between Stiverne and Wilder has been mandated to face the winner of Perez-Jennings.
"The WBC is proud to sanction the fight between Perez vs. Jennings as a final elimination fight as part of the WBC tournament in the heavyweight division," said Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC. "The WBC ordered a tournament between all the top rated fighters to fight and Perez vs. Jennings will prove to be a formidable match to find the second mandatory contender of the WBC heavyweight division."
In the main event, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) will pursue his 17th consecutive stoppage victory against Geale (30-2, 16 KOs).
A 32-year-old Kazakhstan native, Golovkin fought four times in 2013, stopping Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida and Curtis Stevens. In February, Golovkin scored a seventh-round stoppage of Osumanu Adama, who was knocked out for the first time in his career.
Geale is coming off February's sixth-round stoppage of Garth Wood, which followed a split decision loss to Darren Barker in August. Geale unified the WBA and IBF titles with a victory over Felix Sturm in 2012 but elected to avenge his lone defeat at the time - against Anthony Mundine - and gave up the WBA belt rather than face Golovkin. He lost the IBF title to Barker.
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