Pierce vs. Plania tops first Overtime Boxing card

Boxing

Overtime, known for its elite basketball league for players aged 16 through 20, will debut its boxing venture Aug. 4 in Atlanta with a junior featherweight main event between Elijah Pierce and Mike Plania, Overtime officials told ESPN.

The four-fight Friday night series on DAZN from Atlanta’s OTE Arena (capacity approximately 1,200) continues Aug. 11 with Sonny Duversonne headlining against an opponent to be determined, followed by Aug. 18 with Narciso Carmona vs. TBA. The series concludes Aug. 25 with undefeated middleweight prospect Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson vs. Vlad Hernandez.

“I watch their videos on TikTok of basketball, Rob Dillingham and the twins. I was like, Overtime Boxing? That would be fire for me,” said Simpson, 23, who is from Baltimore. “I’m young like those guys. Exciting. And it’s an amazing opportunity.”

In all, Overtime Boxing (OTX) signed 30-plus boxers. Among them: Haven Brady Jr. (fighting on the Aug. 4 undercard), Raul Marquez’s son, Giovanni Marquez (Aug. 11), Money Powell (Aug. 18) and David Navarro (Aug. 11).

“Our vision with Overtime, in launching OTX, our new boxing vertical, is essentially to help young pros have a spotlight shine on them, tell their story and give them a chance to develop as fighters,” Overtime Boxing GM Brandon Rhodes told ESPN in February.

“One of the gaps that we’re seeing in the marketplace is that while Gen Z … is saying boxing is kind of the No. 4 favorite sport, there’s not a lot of storytelling that happens on a 365 basis in boxing.

“By that I mean video, social content — that’s what we do best,” he added. “We turn out content, we discover new athletes; we’ve done that in basketball and football with the likes of Zion Williamson, Trevor Lawrence and Trae Young. And we feel that in boxing there’s so many rich stories. There’s so many boxers that put in hard work, but not all of them have an opportunity to get their story told. Maybe not until they’re at the highest level.”

Two Overtime Elite basketball prospects are projected to be selected in the top five of Thursday’s NBA draft, according to the latest ESPN mock draft. Amen Thompson is projected to be drafted No. 4 by the Houston Rockets with his twin brother, Ausar Thompson, predicted to be drafted one pick later by the Detroit Pistons.

“I was hoping that I’d be a part of [OTX],” said Pierce, 26, who fights out of Atlanta. “I knew this was a platform that could introduce me to the world and ultimately that’s what I’ve been needing. I’ve been patient. I’ve fought my way back. It’s been a long, hard journey and now it’s my turn.”

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