Jaron “Boots” Ennis returns home to Philadelphia on July 13, defending his IBF welterweight title against David Avanesyan at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs), 26, from Philadelphia, was originally set to face Cody Crowley for his first title defense, but Crowley had to withdraw from the bout with eye issues. 

Avanesyan (30-4-1, 18 KOs), 35, who fights out of Newark, Nottinghamshire, U.K will replace Crowley. Avanesyan is best known for being stopped by Terence Crawford on BLK Prime in December 2022. Despite the change, Hearn remains optimistic about the match-up.

“It’s a tough fight for ‘Boots’, but we wanted a tough fight,” said Hearn. “Thank you to Avanesyan for stepping up. He has the name value, and you know what you're going to get – a tough, come-forward guy who won't take a step backward.”

Hearn also praised Ennis, who will be fighting under the Matchroom Boxing banner for the first time in 2024. A common criticism of the exciting Ennis has been his inactivity. 

Ennis fought twice in 2023, once in January and then in July when he stopped Roiman Villa. It has taken a year for his return. Hearn, who also promotes Andy Cruz, the brilliant Cuban boxer who trains with Ennis’ father, Derek ‘Bozy’ Ennis, believes Ennis is one of the top fighters in boxing.

“In my opinion, [Avanesyan is] facing one of the pound-for-pound top fighters in the sport,” said Hearn.

Hearn expressed surprise and disappointment that Ennis has not yet had a “big fight” in his hometown. Philadelphia, known for its boxing history with figures like Joe Frazier and Bernard Hopkins, has a rich fight culture. 

“I can’t believe that it hasn't been done earlier,” said Hearn. “I mean, it’s not rocket science. It’s a natural thing to do. Philadelphia is a great fight city. They’re a knowledgeable crowd. They have a true world champion, a great fighter in ‘Boots’ Ennis, and he’s going to light up the city.”