If unbeaten heavyweight knockout artist Deontay Wilder gets beyond Friday night’s Showtime-televised clash with ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, Calif., the 6-foot-7 2008 Olympic bronze medalist could face the winner between Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola on Sept. 6, Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer said on Thursday.
“We know that we have Deontay Wilder and Sergei Liakhovich this weekend in a helluva fight. Biggest step up for Deontay Wilder so far,” said Schaefer. “And if he comes through this fight, I think that the potential for his next fight may be the winner of Chris Arreola against Seth Mitchell.”
Wilder (28-0, 28 knockouts) is coming off a first-round knockout of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison in April, while Liakhovich, 36, is 2-4 with two knockouts since rising from a seventh-round knockdown to defeat Lamon Brewster for the WBO belt in April of 2006.
The Wilder-Liakhovich undercard will match junior middleweight prospect Jermall Charlo (14-0, 10 KOs) against Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 KO), Mexican junior lightweight Francisco Vargas vs. fellow unbeaten standout Brandon Bennett, and unbeaten featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. against Juan Ruiz.
“This weekend,” said Schaefer, “I think that we continue with the tradition of toe-to-toe fights and great battles on Aug. 9 from Fantasy Springs on ShoBox. So I’m very excited about this weekend.”
Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KOs) is in a potentially “do or die” fight with Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs), a bout which will also happen at Fantasy Springs on Showtime.
Mitchell is coming off June’s unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks that avenged a second-round stoppage loss in November, and Arreola had surgery in May to repair a broken nose suffered during April’s unanimous-decision loss to Bermane Stiverne.
“I think that what we’re trying to do here is determine between Arreola and Seth Mitchell and Deontay Wilder, who is going to be the real American heavyweight threat to become the heavyweight champion of the world,” said Schaefer.
“So, between Deontay Wider and Sergei Liakhovich, and Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell, I think these are two terrific fights. You look at Arreola and Seth Mitchell, two guys who come to fight, so we’re really looking forward to that Sept. 6 card from Fantasy Springs.”
The Mitchell-Arreola card will also feature two-division champ Rafael Marquez, a 38-year-old veteran who recently signed with Golden Boy, ending an11-month ring absence against Efrain Esquivias in a featherweight bout.
“It’s going to be Chris Arreola against Seth Mitchell, and the return of Rafael Marquez against Efrain Esquivas,” said Schaefer. “Two great fights, and I think that for both of these fights, it’s a must-win for fighters. It’s a must-win night for Rafael Marquez, and it’s must-win night for Chris and for Seth.”
Note: Wilder weighed 224 pounds to 232 for Liakhovich; Vargas out-weighed Bennett, 130-to-129; Charlo weighed 154 to 159.6 for Smith; and Russell, 127-to-125.6 for Ruiz.
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]