On a night where VASILIY ‘Hi-Tech’ LOMACHENKO will challenge WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight champion JORGE ‘El Niño de Oro’ LINARES for division supremacy, a slew of prospects and contenders will look to steal the show May 12 at Madison Square Garden.
Welterweight contender Carlos ‘Caballo Bronco’ Adames (13-0, 11 KOs) will make his Top Rank debut in the 10-round, ESPN-televised co-feature against Alejandro Barrera (27-4, 17 KOs); Irish sensation Michael Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs) will see action in an eight-round featherweight contest against Ibon Larrinaga (10-1, 2 KOs); Jamel Herring (16-2, 9 KOs) takes on the durable Juan Pablo Sanchez (29-15, 14 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout; top lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (8-0, 6 KOs) faces veteran Vitor Freitas (13-1, 7 KOs) of Salvador, Brazil, in a scheduled eight-rounder; female boxing sensation Mikaela Mayer (4-0, 3 KOs) will face Baby Nansen (6-2-1, 0 KOs) of Auckland, New Zealand, in a six-round lightweight fight; and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin ‘Fayzi' Gaibnazarov (3-0, 1 KO) returns in a scheduled eight-rounder against Jesus Silveyra (8-5-2, 3 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico.
Linares vs. Lomachenko and Adames vs. Barrera will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on the ESPN App beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy Promotions, Teiken Promotions, and Madison Square Garden, tickets for the Linares vs. Lomachenko world championship card are ON SALE NOW. Priced at $506, $406, $306, $206, $106, and $56, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and MSG.com.
Adames, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, carries a big punch in his 5-foot-11-inch frame. After a lengthy amateur career, Adames turned pro on July 24, 2015 and knocked out 10 of his first 11 opponents. He stopped 2004 Venezuelan Olympian Patrick Lopez in the fourth round in April 2016, and in February 2017, he scored a second-round TKO over 2004 Venezuelan Olympian Jean Carlos Prada.
His most impressive pro win to date was his near-shutout 11-round unanimous decision over former International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight world champion Carlos Molina on July 26, 2017.
"I have a message for all the boxing fans: Set your alarms and mark your calendars for May 12 because I am going for the knockout,” Adames said. “I am very happy to be debuting with Top Rank. This will be a great step in my career, and on May 12, I will put the welterweight division on notice.”
Conlan, a 2016 Irish Olympian, returns to his home away from home. The Belfast native will be making his fourth appearance in New York as a pro, and his debut at the big arena at Madison Square Garden. He last fought on St. Patrick’s Day, helping pack nearly 5,000 fans into the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Conlan used a sustained body attack to knock out David Berna in the second round.
"It felt great to be in there against Berna,” Conlan said. “The fans turned out and the atmosphere was simply amazing. I wish the fight had gone on longer, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
Herring, from Coram, N.Y., will be making his Madison Square Garden debut. A former U.S. Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a field electrician, he captained the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team and turned pro later that year. Herring won his first 15 pro bouts before suffering a 10th-round TKO to Denis Shafikov on July 2, 2016. Following a third-round TKO win over Art Hovhannisyan, he dropped a close unanimous decision against Ladarius Miller on Aug. 22, 2017. Since the Miller defeat, Herring has changed his team, signing with Top Rank and Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre’s B&B Boxing. Trained by McIntyre, Esau Dieguez, and Red Spikes, Herring has recently served as a sparring partner for pound-for-pound elite TERENCE ‘Bud’ CRAWFORD.
“I’m happy to be coming back home because I haven’t fought in New York since 2013. To be on a great card like this, it’s a huge honor,” Herring said. “With my new trainers and Bud, it’s a blessing. Bud wants to see me do better and succeed. He criticizes me as a lot, but I take it as constructive criticism. It’s a great feeling being around somebody with that much experience who also wants to see you succeed.”
Lopez burst onto the professional scene following an illustrious amateur career that saw him compete for his parents’ birthplace, Honduras, at the 2016 Olympics. He made his professional debut on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas undercard on Nov. 5, 2016 and went 6-0 with five knockouts in 2017. In his last bout, on Feb. 3, he overcame a cut over his left eye to defeat Juan Pablo Sanchez via six-round unanimous decision.
The last time Lopez fought at Madison Square Garden, on May 20, 2017, he knocked out Ronald Rivas in the second round with a single left hook.
“What better way to come back in 2018 than on a card like this,” Lopez said. “We all know what happened last time I fought at The Garden, and I look forward to doing it again. I know what the atmosphere is going to be like, and I’m just excited to display my skills on a big platform.”
Mayer, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, last fought March 10 on the Oscar Valdez vs. Scott Quigg undercard, scoring a knockout in 35 seconds over Maria Semertzoglou. The Los Angeles native will be making her second New York appearance, having fought at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden last Dec. 9.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the Mecca of Boxing again and alongside my fellow Olympians,” Mayer said. “I plan on giving the fans another exciting knockout. See you in New York City!”
Gaibnazarov, a two-time Olympian, captured a gold medal for Uzbekistan at the 2016 Olympics (141 pounds). Gaibnazarov turned pro in April of last year and immediately began fighting in scheduled eight-rounders. In his last ring appearance, on Sept. 22, 2017, he won an eight-round decision over Victor Rosas.