A terrific flyweight fight previously placed on hold is once again ready for public consumption.
The IBF title eliminator between flyweight contenders Jay Harris and Ricardo Sandoval will move forward with a new date, with the bout now set to take place June 25 at University of Bolton Stadium in Bolton, England. The event—which will headline the latest installment of MTK Fight Night—will take place six weeks after its originally scheduled May 14 date at the same location, and with the stakes remaining the same for both fighters.
“Really pleased to finally get the fight on, been frustrating for both fighters,” promoter Lee Eaton told BoxingScene.com, “But [in] two weeks’ time, they finally get it on and it’s got the ingredients to be a Fight of the Year contender!”
The previously scheduled May 14 date was removed from the schedule due to unforeseen circumstances, though never with the sense that a lengthy delay was in store. The show now moves on, airing on ESPN+ (U.S.) and IFL TV (worldwide) and armed with another title eliminator as former titlists Paul Butler (32-2, 15KOs) and Joseph Agbeko (38-5, 28KOs) collide to determine the next mandatory challenger for WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero.
The winner of the rescheduled title eliminator between Harris and Sandoval will become the mandatory challenger to the IBF flyweight titlist. Sunny Edwards recently claimed the strap with a 12-round unanimous decision win over long-reigning Moruti Mthalane in a masterclass boxing performance this past April at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England.
Edwards and Wales’ Harris (18-1, 9KOs) both fight under the MTK Global banner but are prepared to put aside their friendship for the sake of business inside the ring.
“This is Jay’s big chance to secure another world title shot which would be against his friend Sunny Edwards,” notes Eaton. “Exciting time for all involved. We’re hopeful that Jay can get the win and move a step closer to another world title shot.”
Harris saw his stock rise in his lone career defeat, a 12-round loss to reigning WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez last February 29 in Frisco, Texas. Harris came up short on the scorecards but offered a credible account of himself, as expected given his breakout 2019 campaign that included a decision win over former title challenger Angel Moreno and—in a career-best performance to date—a 4th round knockout of Ireland’s Paddy Barnes, a three-time Olympian, two-time Olympic Bronze medalist and former title challenger who was beaten into retirement.
Of course, the upcoming eliminator is hardly a foregone conclusion for the Welshman.
Sandoval (18-1, 13KOs), 22, agreed to hit the road for what will represent his first career fight outside of North America. The streaking flyweight contender from Rialto, California—who is represented by Golden Boy Promotions—is currently riding a 14-fight win streak, having stopped his last five opponents. The most recent came in a 7th round stoppage of Philippines’ Raymond Tabugon last February.
“Jay Harris has been desperate for this fight with Ricardo Sandoval for a while so we are thrilled to be working with Golden Boy so that it is finally here,” notes Eaton. “It is certain to be non-stop action from start to finish.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox