HBO Boxing ushers in a new year as the premier destination for the biggest, most entertaining fights with the all-action doubleheader HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: LUCAS MATTHYSSE VS. TEWA KIRAM AND JORGE LINARES VS. MERCITO GESTA, presented SATURDAY, JAN. 27 at 10:30 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The HBO Sports team will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino. Photos by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos.
The fights will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
The main event spotlights ring warrior Lucas Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Argentina as he battles undefeated challenger Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) of Thailand for a vacant welterweight title in a scheduled 12-round clash. Making his fifth appearance on HBO, Matthysse, 35, is a fan favorite, thanks to his aggressive, come-forward style. During his 14-year career, he’s taken on all challengers, including Danny García, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Ruslan Provodnikov. Matthysse’s impressive dismantling of Emmanuel Taylor on the undercard of Canelo-Golovkin in May set the stage for this title shot.
Making his U.S. and HBO debut, Kiram, 25, looks to make a statement. With 28 knockout victories since turning pro at age 15, he would quickly catapult himself into the spotlight by defeating the respected veteran.
The night opens with Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) of Venezuela, now residing in Tokyo, defending his world lightweight title against Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) of the Philippines, now living in San Diego. The scheduled 12-round bout marks the 32-year-old Linares’ sixth defense of the crown he captured in 2014; he won an exciting fight over challenger Luke Campbell at The Forum in September.
Southpaw challenger Gesta, 30, has just one career defeat, which came in 2012 at the hands of former lightweight titlist Miguel Vázquez in his only other title shot. An impressive stretch of wins, including a knockout victory over Martin Honorio at The Forum in July, earned him this shot against the reigning champ.
Beginning its 22nd season, HBO BOXING AFTER DARK has delivered some of the sport’s most memorable moments since 1996, including Ward-Gatti 1, two fights from the Rios-Alvarado trilogy and the consensus 2016 Fight of the Year between Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido. The franchise has helped launch the careers of some of boxing’s biggest and brightest, including Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Miguel Cotto, Wladimir Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley.