Nevada commission approves Top Rank June fight dates
The final hurdle to allow Top Rank Boxing to resume putting on fight cards in Nevada was cleared Wednesday morning. That’s when, the Nevada State Athletic Commission formally approved the promotion to hold two upcoming fight cards June 9th and 11th.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on the virtual meeting that the Nevada Commission held, at which time they approved both the Ultimate Fighting Championship (MMA) card that will take place Saturday night at the organization’s Apex Training Center in Las Vegas.
And, they also approved the Top Rank shows, which are believed to be slated at the MGM Resorts in 2 weeks:
Nevada is once again open for business to combat sports promoters https://t.co/kKp8CbXyb4
— Las Vegas Review-Journal (@reviewjournal) May 27, 2020
NSAC, executive director Bob Bennett said of the move to approve both organizations having “combat sports” without fans resuming in the near-term,
“….We’re ready to move forward and he has the governor’s support provided they (promoters) adhere to their operational plan and our protocols. The UFC, like Top Rank, has been very aggressive, creative and enthusiastic about providing the best operational plan possible to make the environment as safe as possible. Now we just have to carry that out.”
Bennett also complimented both organizations for taking a comprehensive plan approach on dealing with all safety and health aspects for the fight cards to be held there, including testing of everyone involved and the procedures of what to do if there is a positive test?
The UFC had to deal with this immediately, when one of it’s fighters and his two cornermen tested positive for Coronavirus upon arrival in Jacksonville, FL, before their first show. The fighter and team were quarantined and then sent home, with no other infections reported.
Bennett said Wednesday of that handling and the expectations in Nevada,
“They got better and better with their protocols at each event,” he said. “Just like when you have a soft opening when you’re opening a casino, you’re going to hopefully get the majority of it right and then constantly improve upon it and I think that’s exactly what they did.
And that’s exactly what we’ll do here. We’ll adhere to the governor’s directives, to the CDC mandates and ensure social distancing and everyone wearing masks. And if they don’t have masks, they’ll be behind plastic shields.”
Top Rank will be the first major U.S. promotion to hold a fight card, when 13-0, 7 KOs, WBO Featherweight Champion Shakur Stevenson fights in a non-title main event on Tuesday night June 9th. It is believed that his opponent will be Felix Caballaro from Puerto Rico, although that has not been formally announced, as of yet.
Top Rank will then be back in the ring just two nights later and according to Boxingscene.com, the main event will be a non-title 128 lb. fight between Las Vegas’ Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs).
Both shows are expected to be televised by ESPN and/or the ESPN + app.
TopRank has also requested approval to have fights on June 16, 18, 23 and 25, but the Nevada Commission has yet to address those dates, and will do so at a subsequent meeting.
As we wrote last night, it is believed that the first U.S. fight, since the Covid-19 shutdown in mid-March involving a world title belt, will be WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Jamel Herring fighting in Las Vegas on Thursday July 2nd.
Herring is expected to defend against Jonathan Oquendo in the second defense of his 130 lb. title that he won a year ago this past weekend.