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Saturday, April 10th World Light Heavyweight Championship: Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov – April 10TH on ESPN

World Light Heavyweight Championship: Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov – April 10TH on ESPN

Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Smith (26-3, 21 KOs), the “Common Man” from Long Island, hopes his 2021 kicks off where 2020 concluded. Last August, he broke through inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, knocking former world champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez out and through the ropes. Smith has won three straight bouts since his first world title opportunity in March 2019, a unanimous decision loss to Dmitry Bivol. He became a household name in boxing in 2016 when he knocked living legend Bernard Hopkins through the ropes and into retirement. Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs), from Samara, Russia, is 3-0 at light heavyweight since moving down from cruiserweight, where he became a top contender and challenged for an interim world title. He had a banner 2019 at light heavyweight, knocking out the 14-1 Omar Garcia, avenging a previous defeat with a unanimous decision over Isaac Chilemba, and shutting out the 15-0 Emmanuel Martey over 10 rounds.

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Saturday, April 24th World Featherweight Championship: Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz – April 24TH on ESPN

World Featherweight Championship: Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz – April 24TH on ESPN

Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla

Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs) burst onto the world scene in December 2018, battering Isaac Dogboe over 12 rounds to win the WBO junior featherweight world title. He is 7-0 since then, including five title defenses, all by stoppage. Navarrete moved up to featherweight and picked up the vacant WBO world title last October with a unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Ruben Villa. Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs) is not unbeaten, but he is battle-tested, having challenged Masayuki Ito for the WBO junior lightweight world title in July 2018. He lost to Ito by unanimous decision and has gone 3-1 since moving down to featherweight. Diaz rebounded from a 2019 points loss to Shakur Stevenson, besting former world title challenger Jason Sanchez over 10 rounds last June inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

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Saturday, May 22nd Undisputed Junior Welterweight Championship: Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor – May 22 on ESPN

Undisputed Junior Welterweight Championship: Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor – May 22 on ESPN

MGM Grand

Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) has been a world champion since March 2018, when he toppled Amir Imam via unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC strap. Following the Imam victory, he hired noted trainer Robert Garcia, and the duo has combined to go 4-0 in world title fights. Ramirez knocked out Maurice Hooker in July 2019 to unify world titles and defended his belts last August with a majority decision over former world champion Viktor Postol. Taylor toppled Postol by unanimous decision in 2018 and won the IBF world title the following year with a decision over Ivan Baranchyk. He unified the IBF and WBA titles in October 2019, edging Regis Prograis by majority decision in a brutal masterpiece. He made his first defense as a unified champion last September, blasting out mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong in the first round.

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