Michael Polite Coffie has landed one of the names on his wish list as he prepares for his biggest fight to date.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Brooklyn’s Coffie will next face former heavyweight title challenger Gerald Washington, one of three recognizable names that he called out following his third-round knockout of Darmani Rock earlier this year. The bout will be featured on the July 31 edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox, airing live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Also to be featured on the show is an intriguing welterweight rematch between Philadelphia’s James Martin and locally based prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. The bout comes just three months after Mielnicki (8-1, 5KOs) suffered an upset unanimous decision defeat to Martin in an April 17 Fox-televised bout from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Mielnicki revealed plans for the rematch in a social media post on Monday. PBC declined official comment on verifying either bout for the show given that the event has not yet been announced.
Coffie (12-0, 9KOs) has been featured on Fox platforms for each of his past three fights, none more impressive than his last outing. The 35-year-old heavyweight—who took up the sport just prior to his 30th birthday and turned pro after proudly serving in United States Marine Corps—scored two knockdowns en route to stopping the previously unbeaten Rock (17-1, 12KOs) at just 0:59 of round three in their January 30 Fox-televised bout.
The win was the latest in a current four fight knockout streak for Coffie, who has yet to go past six rounds as a pro. In the post-fight press conference following his victory, Coffie stated his desire to test himself “against guys like a Gerald Washington, a Dominic Breazeale, a Charles Martin. I’d like to test myself against those kind of opponents. That would show me if I’m ready for the next step, which would be guys for the belt.”
The first name on the list was secured for the rising heavyweight.
Washington (20-4-1, 13KOs) has not fought since a 6th round stoppage loss to Martin last February at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The setback came seven months after resurrecting his career with a come-from-behind 8th round stoppage of Robert Helenius (30-3, 19KOs) in their July 2019 slugfest.
The 39-year-old Washington—who served in the U.S. Navy and played college football for the University of Southern California (USC)—has been stopped in all four career defeats, beginning with a 5th round stoppage at the hands of then-unbeaten WBC titlist Deontay Wilder in a February 2017 title bid.
Once formally announced, the July 31 show will serve as the first on the East Coast for a PBC on Fox event since the pandemic. The series has aired exclusively from the greater Los Angeles area since last August 22, spanning nine shows on Fox prime and another seven on FS1.
The event will now mark the second straight to take place outside of L.A., with the June 27 edition airing live from The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The last PBC on Fox show to air live from the East Coast came last March 7, when Helenius scored a fourth-round knockout of Adam Kownacki (20-1, 15KOs) at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Their rematch comes one week prior to the July 31 Fox show, serving as the chief support on the July 24 Fox Pay-Per-View topped by the third fight between Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) and heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox