Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Rob Brant-Vitaliy Kopylenko ESPN+ Co-Feature For Alvarez-Smith Show 8/22

Rob Brant’s opponent has been secured for his comeback bout. has learned that Brant will battle Vitaliy Kopylenko in a 10-round super middleweight match August 22 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. ESPN+ will stream Brant-Kopylenko as the co-feature before Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. meet in the main event, a 12-round WBO light heavyweight elimination match.

Brant (25-2, 17 KOs), a former WBA world middleweight champion, hasn’t fought since Japan’s Ryota Murata stopped him in the second round of their rematch in July 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Dallas’ Brant upset Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision to win a version of the WBA’s 160-pound championship in October 2018 in Las Vegas.

rob-brant (1)_3

Brant was supposed to return from this loss to Murata against Habib Ahmed on January 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That fight, which ESPN would’ve televised, was canceled when Brant suffered a torn biceps while training early in December.

Ukraine’s Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KOs), who fights out of Oxnard, California, hasn’t boxed since losing a 10-round split decision to Montreal’s Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24 KOs) in May 2019 in Las Vegas.

Brant, 29, and Kopylenko, 36, are expected to meet slightly above the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.

Alvarez and Smith, meanwhile, will compete for the right to fight for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title next.

The Alvarez-Smith winner will face the victor between Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov for the unclaimed championship Canelo Alvarez gave up after knocking out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round November 2 in Las Vegas.

Russia’s Salamov (25-1, 19 KOs) is ranked number one in the WBO’s light heavyweight ratings. Russia’s Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) is rated second by the WBO, one spot atop Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) and two spots above Smith (25-3, 20 KOs).

Alvarez, a Montreal resident raised in Colombia, and Smith, of Mastic, New York, were supposed to square off July 16 at MGM Grand Conference Center. Their 12-rounder was postponed late in June, when Alvarez sustained a shoulder injury while training. 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Top Headlines
Angelo Leo: Always Wanted To Celebrate Title Win With A Crowd, More Motivation To Stay Champion Thurman To Arum: Stop Talking Sh-t! Not My Fault You Can’t Afford Fight For Crawford Michel Rivera: Ryan Garcia Has a Great Punch But a Glass Chin Hearn Says Boxing Events Must Continue or Sport Could Fizzle Out McGirt Was Unaware of Kovalev's Doping Test, Felt Camp Was Going Well Manager: Pacquiao or McGregor Would Beat Mayweather in Rematch Dominic Breazeale Vows To Blast Out Otto Wallin With Huge Knockout Fred Levin: An Appreciation (1937-2021) Sergio Martinez Working For April Return, Eyes Murata Shot By Year's End Thunderdome Boxing Series Returns on February 26 in Perth Arum on Lopez's Options: Haney Doesn't Mean Much, Not an Attraction Like Davis, Garcia Talks Progress For Canelo Alvarez To Move Forward With Matchroom/DAZN Ivan Golub, Melissa Oddessa, Joe Williams Back on February 20 Inoue-Dasmarinas: Date, Site Of Fight Depends On COVID-19 Restrictions In Japan Junior Cruzat To Fight For WBA Regional Title on February 26 Joshua-Fury: Hearn Wants Second Fight in Cardiff, But Says Pressure May Stop It Buddy McGirt Predicts Shakur Stevenson Gets KO'ed by Teofimo Lopez, Starts Heated Squabble Artur Beterbiev Co-Trainer: Bivol Is The Most Important Fight At 175 Plant: At Some Point, Me And Canelo Are Gonna Get In There And Do Our Thing Josh Warrington May Vacate IBF Title, Fight Gary Russell Jr. Bruno Tarimo Cracks IBF's Top Ten, Inches Closer To Title Shot Terri Harper's Manager Hopes To Achieve Undisputed Goal in Two Fights Teofimo Lopez: If No Kambosos - Then I Want Haney, Garcia, Davis Chris Eubank Jr. Has Golovkin as #1 Target on List, Says Promoter Carlos Ocampo Destroys Abraham Juarez in One Round Gervonta Davis on Sparring Teofimo, Haney - Pushing For Fight With Ryan Garcia Robeisy Ramirez: If Not This Year - By 2022 I'll Be Fighting For a World Title David Morrell Aims To Fight Four Times By The End of 2021 Bjornsson Drops Ward, Who Rallies in Third: Both React To Exhibition Hearn: If Both Win Their Fights, Expect Josh Kelly vs. Conor Benn in 2021 Berchelt: Valdez Motivated By Those That Say He Has No Chance; It's Going To Be A War Ryan Garcia: Can Only Become Greater Learning From Reynoso, Canelo Joseph Diaz Eager To End 130-Pound Title Unification Drought Daily Bread Mailbag: Sonny Liston, Ryan Garcia, Heavyweights, More David Benavidez Demands Caleb Plant Fight, Eyes Canelo Alvarez Demetrius Andrade: I Never Ducked Charlo, That's Crazy! Povetkin-Whyte Rematch Could Go To Gibraltar, Monaco or Middle East Victor Pasillas Grinding Hard For Ra'eese Aleem Clash Chantelle Cameron: Let's See if Melissa Hernandez Backs Up Her Talk McGregor's Boxing Coach: 85-90% Chance Pacquiao Fight Happens
Latest Forum Threads