Undefeated heavyweights Bryant “By By” Jennings of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Mike “The Rebel” Perez, fighting out of Cork, Ireland will clash in a title Eliminator on Saturday, May 24, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas and televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET.
The winner of the 12-round bout will become the mandatory challenger for the WBC Title, which was vacated by longtime champion Vitali Klitschko earlier this year. Jennings and Perez are currently ranked #4 and #5, respectively by the sanctioning body.
Opening the telecast is a 10-round middleweight battle between two-time former world champion Daniel “The Real Deal” Geale and perennial contender Matthew “Mack The Knife” Macklin.
“The world has been desperately seeking a heavyweight to take over the division and I believe that person is Me,” said Jennings. “By defeating Mike Perez, I will position myself as the mandatory position in the WBC. My promoter Gary Shaw ensures me that if I win this fight; I’ll be looking at a potential world title bout soon. My main focus is winning this fight against Perez and I’m doing everything in the gym to make that a reality. I’ll be ready to go come May 24th.
“My dream has always been to fight for the heavyweight championship,” said Perez. ” This has been my dream since I first started boxing and I have sacrificed a lot to get this opportunity. Jennings and I have been on crash course for a while and now with so much at risk I’m sure it will bring out the best in both of us. However, as good as Jennings is I will be victorious.”
“Mike Perez is a good fighter with an undefeated record and he is dangerous for any opponent,” said Gary Shaw. “But I feel my fighter Bryant Jennings has the athletic ability, the speed and movement to defeat him and is the all around better fighter. This is the type of fight the fans deserve, two undefeated guys putting it all on the line to get a world title shot, that’s what boxing is all about.”
Said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, “It is rare to see two undefeated heavyweights once again risk their record in a fight like this featured on HBO. However there was no hesitation from either side when the WBC ordered this eliminator because both fighters want to fight for the WBC Heavyweight Championship of the World.”
“We feel that Mike is among the best heavyweights in the world and expect him to show that on May 24th against Bryant Jennings.”
“The WBC is proud to sanction the fight between Perez vs. Jennings as a final elimination fight as part of the WBC tournament in the Heavyweight division,” stated Mauricio Sulaiman of the World Boxing Council.
“Vitali Klitschko was honored with the Emeritus Champion distinction after he decided to search his dream of becoming President of his country Ukraine and is being regarded as a hero by many.”
“The WBC ordered a tournament between all top rated fighters to fight and Perez vs. Jennings will prove to be a formidable match to find the second mandatory contender of the WBC Heavyweight division. ”
The 29-year-old Jennings, 18-0-0 (10KO’s) is coming off his career best victory, a sensational, HBO televised tenth round knockout of Poland’s Artur Szpilka on JANUARY 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Dominating the action from the outset, Jennings dropped the crafty southpaw in the sixth before finishing him off in the final round.
A highly successful amateur in his native Cuba, the 29-year-old Perez has compiled a record of 20-0-1 (12KO’s), since moving to Ireland and turning professional in 2008.
Perez has made two previous appearances on HBO, on NOVEMBER 2, against Magomed Abdusalamov from Madison Square Garden in New York City and more recently facing Carlos Takam on JANUARY 18 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Hailing from New South Wales, Australia and sporting a record of 30-2-0 (16KO’s), the 32-year-old Geale previously held the WBA and IBF middleweight titles. Most recently Geale stopped fellow countryman Garth Wood in the sixth round on FEBRUARY 19 in New South Wales, Australia.
Former world title challenger Macklin of Birmingham, England has had an illustrious 12-year career having compiled a record of 30-5-0 (20KO’s).
Despite suffering a third round stoppage at the hands of middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin on JUNE 29, 2013, Macklin stormed back into the world rankings with a dominant ten round unanimous decision over then undefeated Lamar Russ on DECEMBER 7 in Atlantic City, Jersey. Both of these bouts were telecast on HBO.
“I can’t wait to make my return on HBO and fight Mathew Macklin,” said Geale. “I’m keen to prove I am still one of the best middleweights in the world. Macklin is a very tough opponent who likes to go to war, as do I, our clash of styles could make a fight that steals the show. I will confirm my status as one of the top fighters in the division with a victory. When I win, I still want to fight Golovkin, if he comes back to 160, or the winner of Sturm vs. Solomon.”
Said Macklin, “I’m really excited about the fight with Daniel Geale. He’s a good fighter, a former world champion, and he throws a lot of punches like me so I’m expecting it to be a tough, action-packed fight. After the Golovkin fight, the win over Russ got me back on track and a much-needed 10 rounds of work. Winning on May 24th against Geale will throw me back into the world title mix, so in many ways this is almost a world title eliminator. It’s a great fight between two of the best and most exciting middleweights in the world.”
“Most people are saying that this is a 50/50 fight. I don’t know Geale personally but he seems like a good guy and I respect him as a fighter for what he has achieved and accomplished in his career. That being said though, I always believed he was tailor made for me and there only going to be one winner on May 24th and that is me.”