By Keith Idec
Jessie Magdaleno and Artur Beterbiev will be showcased in separate bouts ESPN will televise October 31 as part of its new partnership with promoter Top Rank Inc.
Carl Moretti, Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, confirmed to BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that Magdaleno will headline the Halloween evening telecast from an undetermined location. In the main event that night, Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs), a southpaw from Las Vegas, will make a mandatory defense of his WBO super bantamweight title against Mexico’s Cesar Juarez (20-5, 15 KOs).
The co-feature will match Russia’s Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) against Germany’s Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KOs) in an IBF light heavyweight elimination match. The winner between Beterbiev, ranked No. 2 by the IBF at 175 pounds, and the third-ranked Koelling will become the mandatory challenger for IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs).
Top Rank surprisingly won a purse bid July 25 to earn the right to promote the Beterbiev-Koelling fight. Bob Arum’s company bid $315,000, much more than the only other bid – $80,000 by Sauerland Event, Koelling’s promoter.
Winning the purse bid initiated conjecture regarding Beterbiev eventually signing with Top Rank. The knockout artist is engaged in litigation with promoter Yvon Michel over the validity of Beterbiev’s contract with Michel’s company.
As for the Magdaleno-Juarez/Beterbiev-Koelling doubleheader, it likely will take place somewhere on the West Coast. The telecast – a rare Tuesday night boxing offering by ESPN – won’t begin that night until 10:30 p.m. ET.
This doubleheader will air on a Tuesday night because ESPN already has committed to televising college football games on Saturday nights in September, October and November.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.