Philadelphia’s “King” Gabriel Rosado will step up into the main event on Friday, September 21st when “NBCSN Fight Night” returns to the Sands Hotel and Casino in Bethlehem, PA. The NBCSN broadcast will begin at 9PM ET. Rosado, ranked #3 in the world among junior middleweights, will take on #2 ranked Charles Whittaker of the Cayman Islands in a bout for the #1 position in the IBF Junior Middleweight division. The victor will be guaranteed the opportunity to fight for the IBF Middleweight Title now held by Cornelius “K9” Bundrage.
The change was made when top rated light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo, who had been slated to face hot Russian prospect Sergey Kovalev in the main event, was sidelined yesterday with a back injury suffered in training. A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia now living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kovalev (18-0-1, 16 KO’s) will move into the swing bout position where he will take on Buffalo, New York’s Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson. (12-1, 8KO’s)
In the co-feature, Bethlehem’s own Ronald Cruz will take a big step up in class when he faces Antoine Smith in what promises to be an all-action welterweight bout.
“It is unfortunate that Campillo cannot compete on September 21st,” said promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events. “But his promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, has assured me that we can reschedule this match just as soon as Campillo recovers. In the meantime, the fans will still get to see what Kovalev has to offer in a great bout with Thompson, who has been in the gym working with Chad Dawson to prepare him for this weekend’s fight with Andre Ward.”
According to NBCSN Fight Night matchmaker J. Russell Peltz, the match between Kovalev and Thompson should be outstanding. “I looked at footage of Thompson and I was quite impressed, especially after checking out his amateur background. He’s got the style to give Kovalev trouble and after getting in shape by working with Chad Dawson for the last month, who knows what can happen? In his last fight he lost by split decision to a world-rated Canadian light-heavyweight in Quebec. So you can draw your own conclusions.”
A highly-decorated amateur who counts five New York Golden Gloves titles among his many championships, Thompson followed up his stint sparring with Dawson in Las Vegas by moving on to help prepare Isaac Chilemba for his upcoming bout. Coming off a 10-round disputed decision loss to Nicholson Poulard (brother of Jean Pascal) in Poulard’s home town, Thompson has also worked as a sparring partner with Carl Froch, Troy Ross and Pascal. He is trained by former world title challenger Ross Thompson (no relation).