By Jake Donovan
Light heavyweight contenders Thomas Williams Jr. and Gabriel Campillo are all set for Friday's ESPN2-televised headliner at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington.
Williams Jr. came in right at the divisional limit of 175 lb.; Campillo was slightly under at 174.8 lb.
The bout headlines on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. The winner will be eligible to participate in a final eliminator for the right to challenge current unified titlist Bernard Hopkins.
Williams (17-0, 12KOs) makes his third consecutive appearance on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, all coming in 2014. The unbeaten southpaw from Ft. Washington, Maryland is coming off of a 3rd round knockout of Enrique Ornelas this past April.
Campillo (23-6-1, 10KOs) once reigned as a light heavyweight titlist but has since struggled to stay afloat at the contender level. The 35-year old Spanish southpaw suffered a pair of knockout losses in 2013, beginning with a painfully one-sided 3rd round knockout at the hands of then rising-contender Sergey Kovalev-now an unbeaten light heavyweight title claimant-that had many calling for Campillo's retirement.
A far more credible version was offered last August, boxing well versus Andrzej Fonfara before falling apart and suffering an 8th round stoppage in their non-stop thriller. He has since bounced back with a stay-busy win this past May.
The televised chief support features the ring return of former super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell. A bronze medallist for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing squad, Dirrell (21-1, 14KOs) rose to prominence early in the pro ranks, including a run in Showtime's Super Six super middleweight tournament.
However, a series of strange choices - including his dropping out of the aforementioned tournament, leaving promoter Gary Shaw and adviser Al Haymon - resulted in separate periods of inactivity that have given him just one fight in the past 30 months.
Dirrell has since returned to Haymon's stable, leading to his ring return on Friday. He faces journeyman Vladine Biosse in a scheduled 10-round bout. Both fighters weighed in at 172 lb.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox