Montana Love returns to the venue that housed his breakout performance.
The unbeaten junior welterweight enjoys his first televised headliner as he faces Australia’s Steve Spark this Saturday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Love’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Love and Spark each weighed 140 pounds, right at the junior welterweight divisional limit for their scheduled twelve-round regional title fight (Saturday, DAZN, 8:30 p.m. ET).
Love (18-0-1, 9KOs) provided a slam dunk of a performance in his previous appearance at the home of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring a one-sided, seventh-round knockout of former IBF 140-pound titlist Ivan Baranchyk. It took place last August 29 on the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley undercard, after which Love signed an exclusive promotional contract with Matchroom Boxing.
Saturday marks the third fight under the Matchroom banner for Love. In his most recent outing, the 27-year-old southpaw traded knockdowns with Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela before prevailing in a twelve-round decision win on the Dmitry Bivol-Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Spark (15-2, 14KOs) has won three straight since a stoppage loss to Tim Tszyu last July 7 in Newcastle, Australia. The last-minute opportunity saw Spark agree to move up two weight divisions to face the unbeaten Tszyu at junior middleweight after countryman Michael Zerafa withdrew over travel concerns during Covid restrictions.
A truer indication of Spark’s capabilities came in his most recent win, a third-round knockout of former title challenger Apinun Khongsong on June 11 in his Toowoomba hometown. Saturday marks his first fight in the U.S. and just second outside of Australia.
DAZN main card, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT
Montana Love (18-0-1, 9KOs), Cleveland, 140 pounds vs. Steve Spark (15-2, 14KOs), Toowoomba, Australia, 140 pounds—12 rounds, junior welterweight
Richardson Hitchins (14-0, 6KOs), Brooklyn, New York, 140 pounds vs. Yomar Alamo (20-1-1, 12KOs), Caguas, Puerto Rico, 138 ½ pounds—10 rounds, junior welterweight
Raymond Ford (12-0-1, 6KOs), Camden, New Jersey, 126 pounds vs. Sakaria Lukas (25-1-1, 17KOs), Windhoek, Namibia, 128 pounds*—10 rounds, featherweight
* Lukas is two pounds over limit, not eligible to win Ford’s WBA Continental Americas Featherweight title
Christian Tapia (15-0, 12KOs), Coamo, Puerto Rico, 129 ½ pounds vs. Thomas Mattice (19-3-1,15 KOs), Cleveland, 129 ½ pounds—10 rounds, junior lightweight
Beatriz Ferreira (pro debut), Salvador, Brazil, 130 ½ pounds vs. Taynna Cardoso (5-0,1 KO), Jundiai, Brazil, 131 pounds—6 rounds, junior lightweight
DAZN ‘Before The Bell’ prelims, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT
Raynell Williams (13-1, 7KOs), Cleveland, 130 ½ pounds vs. Ryizeemmion Ford (8-2, 6KOs), Alliance, Ohio, 131 pounds—6 rounds, junior lightweight
Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (7-1, 5KOs), Sherman Oaks, California via Gori, Georgia, 153 ½ pounds vs. David Rodriguez (6-0, 2KOs), Akron, Ohio, 155 pounds—6 rounds, junior middleweight
Khalil Coe (3-0-1, 2KOs), Flemington, New Jersey, 174 pounds vs. Bradley Olmeda (5-0, 3KOs), Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, 175 ½ pounds—6 rounds, light heavyweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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