(June 23, 2021) — Welsh flyweight contender Jay Harris needs one more victory to receive a second crack at world title glory. Harris will take on Ricardo Sandoval in a 12-round IBF world title eliminator this Friday, June 25 from Bolton, England.
The co-feature will see former bantamweight world champion Paul Butler fight Mexican veteran Willibaldo Garcia in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBO International bantamweight title.
Harris-Sandoval and Butler-Garcia will headline a scheduled five-fight stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
Harris (18-1, 9 KOs) was one half of one of 2020’s best fights when he dropped a unanimous decision to Julio Cesar Martinez for the WBC flyweight world title. He returned in fine form last October, topping Marcel Braithwaite via unanimous decision to move up the rankings and into this title eliminator. Sandoval (18-1, 13 KOs), from Montclair, California, has won 14 consecutive bouts, including five straight by stoppage. He last fought in February 2020 and knocked out Filipino veteran Raymond Tabugon in seven rounds.
WBO No. 2 bantamweight contender Butler (32-2, 15 KOs) won the IBF bantamweight world title in 2014, then vacated the belt to challenge Zolani Tete for the IBF junior bantamweight world title. He fell to Tete via eighth-round stoppage but is 15-1 in the six-plus years since, winning regional titles at both junior bantamweight and bantamweight. Garcia (12-4-1, 6 KOs) is 11-1-1 since a 1-3 start to his career, with his only defeat in that stretch coming via majority decision to former world title challenger Alejandro Santiago Barrios. This will be his first fight outside of Mexico.
In other streaming action on ESPN+:
- Dublin-born junior welterweight prospect Pierce O’Leary (6-0, 2 KOs) will make his second appearance of 2021 against Czech veteran Jan Marsalek (8-3, 7 KOs) in a six-rounder. Marsalek last fought on the Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders undercard in May and knocked down unbeaten prospect Kelvin Davis, ultimately losing a four-round unanimous decision.
- Undefeated lightweight contender Gary Cully (12-0, 6 KOs), who is coming off a March stoppage victory over Viktor Kotochigov, will fight Viorel Simion (22-5, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Simion is a 15-year pro who has fought the likes of Shakur Stevenson, Lee Selby and Scott Quigg.
- In a 10-round eliminator for the British light heavyweight title, Hosea Burton (25-2, 11 KOs) will face Liam Conroy (18-6-1, 9 KOs), who has participated in a number of notable all-action brawls over the years. Burton and Conroy are each looking to bounce back from defeats suffered in MTK Global’s Golden Contract tournament.