The first six fight cards of the upstart Ring City USA series have generally featured competitive bouts on paper with several of them delivering on that promise.
The series, which airs on NBC Sports Net (9 p.m. ET), will have two more events in April with both main events also seeming to look as though they will be competitive. There will be cards on April 8 and April 22, a source with knowledge of schedule told BoxingScene while also outlining the main events.
The April 8 show will feature junior middleweight prospect Charles Conwell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian and one of boxing’s top up-and-comers, squaring off with on Ivan Golub in a 10-round bout.
On April 22, the main event will feature a rare clash of undefeated American heavyweight hopefuls as Jermaine Franklin will take on Stephan Shaw in a 10-round fight.
The cards both will take place at the same location, which has not yet been finalized. That follows the same pattern Ring City has employed since launching last fall.
The series kicked off in November with its first three cards taking place in the parking lot of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.
The next three shows, including the one on Thursday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, headlined by unified women’s featherweight world champion Amanda Serrano defending her belts against junior featherweight titlist Daniela Bermudez, moved to various outdoor locations in Puerto Rico.
The 23-year-old Conwell (14-0, 11 KOs), of Cleveland, earned a ninth-round knockout win over then-undefeated Madiyar Ashkeyev in the Ring City main event on Dec. 17 and will be back on the series for a second straight fight,
Golub (19-1, 15 KOs), a Ukraine native fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, was once a top-flight prospect in his own right after a stellar amateur career. Since a disputed eight-round decision loss to Jamontay Clark in June 2017, Golub has won six fights in a row and figures to be Conwell’s toughest test so far as a professional.
Franklin and Shaw were both standout amateurs and among the best of the United States’ crop of heavyweights.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Franklin (20-0, 13 KOs), 27, of Saginaw, Michigan, has gotten exposure on Showtime and has won three fights in 2019 against veteran Rydell Booker, fringe contender Jerry Forrest and Pavel Sour. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Franklin did not fight in 2020.
The 6-4, 240-pound Shaw (14-0, 10 KOs), 28, of St. Louis, is coming off a shutout eight-round decision win over Lyubomyr Pinchuk on the untelevised portion of the Conwell-Ashkeyev undercard in December. All of Shaw’s knockouts have come inside four rounds.
Also on the April 22 card, junior welterweight prospect Jonathan Navarro (17-0, 9 KOs), 24, of Los Angeles, will face an opponent to be determined.
Navarro had been scheduled to fight Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano (33-7-1, 23 KOs) in a 12-rounder on the DAZN undercard of Golden Boy Promotions’ Vergil Ortiz Jr.-Maurice Hooker undercard this past Saturday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. However, Cano was forced to withdraw on short notice due to a non-Covid-19 illness and the fight was canceled, but Golden Boy and manager Rick Mirigian were able to secure him a spot on the Ring City USA card.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.