Kubrat Pulev to face Bogdan Dinu, March 23 on ESPN
Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev will face Bogdan Dinu on March 23, Top Rank officially announced Wednesday evening.
The 10-round bout will take place at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California. Preceding the Pulev-Dinu bout will be the featherweight debut of Jessie Magdaleno, who will take on former junior featherweight titleholder Rico Ramos.
Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
The Top Rank card was originally scheduled to take place at The Forum in nearby Inglewood. WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt was scheduled to defend his title against Francisco Vargas but the fight was scratched when Berchelt suffered an injury to his hand in late January.
Pulev (26-1, 13 knockouts) defeated fringe contender Hughie Fury by unanimous decision in his most recent fight, on October 27, in his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
The 37-year-old Pulev has won his six bouts since losing by knockout to then-world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in November of 2014. His most notable fight since the Klitschko fight was a split decision win over Dereck Chisora in May of 2016.
Pulev is currently ranked No. 10 by The Ring magazine.
“I’m excited to be fighting at The Hangar and on ESPN, as I continue my quest to become the heavyweight champion of the world,” said Pulev, who is the IBF mandatory challenger. “I have a great team behind me and I am focused and ready to take care of business on March 23.”
Dinu (18-1, 14 KOs) suffered his first loss as a pro in his most recent fight on November 17. The 32-year-old Dinu was dropped twice before getting knocked out by heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller in four rounds.
“I know this is a big opportunity for me to get to the top of the heavyweight division,” said Dinu, who is from Bucharest, Romania. “I am happy to be fighting in the United States against a real top heavyweight in Pulev. When I win, I will be considered a top heavyweight.”
After fighting most of his pro career as a junior featherweight and unable to secure a rematch against former WBO beltholder Isaac Dogboe, Jessie Magdaleno will now campaign at 126 pounds.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs), who resides in Las Vegas, has not fought since the knockout loss to Dogboe on April 28. Magdaleno knocked Dogboe down in the opening round before getting dropped in round five and was ultimately stopped in round 11.
The 27-year-old Magdanelo won the WBO junior featherweight title, defeating Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision in November of 2016.
Magdaleno, who is managed by Frank Espinoza, believes he will be successful in attaining another world title belt as a featherweight.
“I haven’t fought in a long time but I am ready to show the fans that I am the same guy who won the title not too long ago,” said Magdaleno. “I feel comfortable in my new weight class and now that I’m back, the goal is to become a two-weight world champion.”
Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs) outpointed Daniel Olea over eight one-sided rounds in his most recent bout on September 28. The former WBA junior featherweight titleholder has won his last six bouts since losing by knockout to Claudio Marrero in July of 2015.
“I’m preparing my best to give the fans a great show,” said Ramos, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Pico Rivera. “The fight will get me one step closer to becoming a two-time world champion.”
Also on the Top Rank card:
Welterweight contender Chris Van Heerden will make his debut under the Top Rank banner when he squares off against Mexico’s Mahonry Montes.
Junior welterweight Javier Molina, who represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games, will face Abdiel Ramirez of Mexico.
Junior lightweight Erick De Leon returns to action following a shoulder injury in his most recent bout on July 14. He squares off against Jose Luis Gallegos.
All the preliminary fights will stream live on ESPN+, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/ 3:30 p.m. PT.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.