Elijah Pierce gets step-up chance vs. Mike Plania in DAZN main event on Aug. 4
Elijah Pierce has overcome early losses in his career to put himself in a position to be a contender at 122 pounds.
Pierce will face Mike Plania in a crossroads bout on August 4, manager Trifon Petrov confirmed to The Ring. The eight-round bout will take place at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, and will stream live on DAZN
The Pierce-Plania fight will be the debut of the Overtime Boxing series, which will run on four consecutive Fridays in August. Overtime is best known for its basketball league featuring top high school and collegiate-age players.
The 26-year-old Pierce (17-2, 14 knockouts), who resides in Midwest City, Oklahoma, scored an impressive win in his last bout on April 22, defeating former world title challenger Tramaine Williams by unanimous decision. The win came about five months after Pierce stopped Juan Carlos Pena in the second round.
Pierce has won his last eight bouts, including wins over Jesse Garcia, who entered the fight unbeaten, and Ryizeemmion Ford. Despite the setbacks in losing to Giovanni Cabrera and Sulaiman Segawa in 2018 and 2019, respectively, Pierce believes he is now a more complete fighter and is confident to face the likes of Plania, who is ranked No. 8 by The Ring at 122 pounds.
“I’ve long awaited to be in this position,” Pierce recently told The Ring. “I went through various personal turmoil to get here, but nevertheless, I remained relentless in my approach and now it’s time. It’s a very special moment for me to headline on DAZN.
“I’m a natural-born entertainer who was made for the spotlight. August 4 will be my coming out party and the world will finally see what I am about. My opponent, ‘Magic’ Mike Plania, is a tough opponent, but my job is to make tough look easy and, come fight night, I’ll be the one who’s the magician. Much appreciation and love to my team and Overtime Boxing for presenting me with this opportunity.”
Pierce’s team believes their charge can make noise in the junior featherweight division.
“Pierce will be a tough out for any junior featherweight in the world,” said promoter Tony Jeter. “He’s a world champion in waiting.”
Manager Petrov agrees.
“This is the most significant fight in Elijah’s career,” said Petrov. “He is fighting another world-class fighter, but he’s more than ready to take on the best in the division. I truly believe Elijah could beat anybody in the division.”
Plania (28-2, 15 KOs) stopped Mark Anthony Geraldo in the opening round of his last fight on May 17 in his hometown of General Santos City in the Philippines. Plania has won his last two fights since losing by unanimous decision to Ra’eese Aleem on September 4.
Plania, also 26, has notable wins over former contender Joshua Greer, Jr. and Giovanni Gutierrez.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]