Natasha Jonas has agreed to defend her IBF welterweight world title against American star Mikaela Mayer on January 20 in Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.
Sky Sports will also broadcast Naoya Inoue’s undisputed super-bantamweight battle with Marlon Tapales on December 26 and the all-British showdown between Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez, which is now scheduled for February 3.
These events are part of an exciting boxing line-up on Sky Sports. In the early hours Friday morning elite fighters Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete are competing in a world title doubleheader in Las Vegas while on Saturday Adam Azim and Tyler Denny are both challenging for European titles in Wolverhampton.
Cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe, the No 1 ranked contender for the WBO title, will also fight Dylan Bregeon on the November 18 bill.
Next month on Sky Chris Billam-Smith puts the WBO cruiserweight world title on the line in Bournemouth on Sunday December 10 and on January 14 Callum Smith will challenge Artur Beterbiev for the unified light-heavyweight in Quebec City.
‘An all-time great’
Inoue, arguably the best fighter in the world today, became the undisputed bantamweight champion when he knocked out Paul Butler last year.
In his first contest at super-bantam he took out Stephen Fulton to win the unified WBC and WBO belts.
Now the “Monster” is looking to become a two-weight undisputed champion against Tapales, who holds the IBF and WBA titles, in Tokyo on December 26.
“The sensational Naoya Inoue astounds with every performance. We are witnessing an all-time great fighter in the prime of his career,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
“He has a very difficult task at hand on December 26 against a tough, powerful Filipino champion in Marlon Tapales, but I am confident ‘The Monster’ will pass this test with flying colours.”
‘A monumental year’
US star Mayer moves up to welterweight to challenge IBF world champion Jonas at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on January 20, with British and Commonwealth champion Jack Cullen fighting Zak Chelli on the undercard.
Jonas became a three-belt super-welterweight world titlist last year and in July moved down to 147lbs, beating Kandi Wyatt to become a two-weight world champion.
“2024 promises to be a monumental year for BOXXER and Sky Sports, and we’re thrilled to kick things off with another massive night for women’s boxing as Natasha Jonas defends her world title against Mikaela Mayer in a matchup set to showcase the pinnacle of the sport. Natasha and Mikaela are two fantastic athletes – both former Olympians and world champions – from either side of the Atlantic, ready to put it all on the line to secure their legacy,” BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom said.
Mikaela Mayer said, “These are the types of match-ups boxing needs. I am feeling better than ever at my new weight and confident that 2024 is when I take it all back.”
“We almost sorted it out between us at the end of her last fight,” Jonas told Sky Sports News. “It’s all agreed, she wants to fight, I want to fight and the best woman will win.
“This may just come a little bit too soon for Mikaela,” Jonas warned. “This time she’s stepping into the lion’s den and hats off to her, respect to her for doing that.”
Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez, former sparring partners turned light-heavyweight rivals, were due to box this year but after sustaining a back injury Azeez had to withdraw.
Their clash has now been rescheduled for February 3 and will take place at Wembley Arena.
January 13 was held by BOXXER as the targeted date at The O2 but a clash with the light-heavyweight world title contest between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith meant Azeez’s coach Buddy McGirt, who also trains Smith, would be unavailable.
“Obviously my trainer Buddy is with Callum for his world title fight so I’m happy we’re able to move it on a couple of weeks to February 3 at the OVO Wembley Arena,” Azeez told Sky Sports.
“I’m feeling good, my back’s getting better and hopefully by February 3 it should be better than ever.”
Ranked No 1 and No 2 with the WBA respectively, Buatsi and Azeez are fighting for a shot at the world title next.
“It’s a fight that has to happen,” Azeez said. “It’s a big fight, everywhere I go it’s ‘we’re looking forward to the fight.’ A lot of people are intrigued by the fight and are looking forward to it. I’m happy we’ve got a date locked in.”
Upcoming boxing events live on Sky Sports:
Shakur Stevenson vs Edwin De Los Santos (WBC lightweight)
Emanuel Navarrete vs Robson Conceicao (WBO super featherweight)
Franck Petitjean vs Adam Azim (European super-lightweight)
Matteo Signani vs Tyler Denny (European middleweight)
Chris Billam-Smith vs Mateusz Masternak (WBO cruiserweight)
Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales (WBC, WBA, WBO & IBF super-bantamweight)
Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith (WBO, WBC & IBF light heavyweight)
Jason Moloney vs Saul Sanchez (WBO bantamweight)
Natasha Jonas vs Mikaela Mayer (IBF Welterweight)
Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez (WBA final eliminator)