Ring City USA enjoys its second consecutive main event featuring a female title fight.
Long-reigning featherweight titlist Jelena Mrdjenovich defends her WBA strap versus Erika Cruz Hernandez. The bout has been elevated to headlining act Thursday evening on NBC Sports Network from U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
The move was made in the wake of Jermaine Franklin (20-0, 13KOs) testing positive for COVID-19, forcing his withdrawal from a scheduled heavyweight clash versus Stephan Shaw (14-0, 10KOs).
Mrdjenovich’s second straight network appearance comes four months after her most recent title defense. The 38-year-old Edmonton native outpointed Iranda Paolo Torres over ten rounds last December at Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood.
The bout was intended to set up a three-belt unification clash with record-breaking seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano (40-1-1, 30KOs) due to take place earlier this spring. Those plans were abandoned when Mrdjenovich withdraw from negotiations following the passing of Milan Lubovac, her longtime trainer and mentor dating back to her pro debut in 2003. The WBC—whose title Mrdjenovich held on three occasions—downgraded her to "Champion Emeritus" status, while upgrading Serrano from interim to "World" champion, in addition to holding the WBO title.
Serrano wound up facing Argentina's Daniela Bermudez, whom she stopped in the 9th round of their Ring City USA headliner on March 27th in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Mrdjenovich—a two-division titlist who previously reigned at junior lightweight—will now attempt the 5th defense of her WBA featherweight title, though her first since breaking up her unified WBA/WBC title reign.
Cruz Hernandez (12-1, 3KOs) has won 11 straight bouts heading into her first career title fight. The Mexico City native is coming off of an eight-round shutout of Leticia Uribe in his most recent bout this past February in Tijuana.
Also on the show, Mexico City's Juan Pablo Romero (13-0, 9 KOs) makes his U.S. debut in a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight bout versus Colombia's Deiner Berrio (22-2-1, 13 KOs). The bout is among the changes endured on the show, with Berrio replacing an injured Jonathan Navarro.
Added to the NBC Sports Network telecast, Kazakhstan’s Bobirzhan Mominov (12-0, 8 KOs) will face Tijuana's Angel Ruiz (16-1, 12 KOs). The scheduled eight-round welterweight fight scheduled will open the televised tripleheader, preceded by a three-fight undercard which will stream live on Ring City USA's Twitch channel beginning 6:30 p.m. ET.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox