Smith vs Zepeda, Hitchins vs Lemos, Gill vs Barrett announced


Matchroom has unveiled a quartet of shows for this coming spring, including world title fights, a final eliminator, a clash of two top super featherweights, and a rematch of one of last year’s biggest upsets.

Things kick off on March 23rd when British/Commonwealth super lightweight champion Dalton Smith (15-0, 11 KO) steps onto the world stage against division mainstay Jose Zepeda (37-4, 28 KO). After an ugly win over Billy Allington in February, Smith got back in the driver’s seat by torching Sam Maxwell five months later. Zepeda is 1-2 in his last three, falling to Regis Prograis and Richardson Hitchins, but is genuinely elite when he’s at his best.

The show also sees Sandy Ryan (6-1-1, 2 KO) defend her WBO welterweight title against Terri Harper (14-1-2, 6 KO) in another huge women’s fight. Ryan should by all accounts be a unified champion after her bogus draw with Jessica McCaskill, while Harper was likewise deeply unfortunate to not unify the WBA and WBO super welterweight titles in a draw with Cecilia Braekhus.

On April 6th, the aforementioned Hitchins (17-0, 7 KO) battles Gustavo Lemos (29-0, 19 KO) for a crack at super lightweight champion Subriel Matias. Hitchins was originally slated to meet Jack Catterall, who ultimately turned the fight down in favor of continuing his pursuit of Josh Taylor. This opened the door for Lemos, a former lightweight mandatory challenger who lost his spot by coming in eight pounds heavy for a squash match in his native Argentina last August.

28 pounds north, Diego Pacheco (20-0, 17 KO) looks to follow last November’s war with Marcelo Coceres against Shawn McCalman (15-0, 7 KO).

A week later in Manchester, Zelfa Barrett (30-2, 16 KO) meets Jordan Gill (28-2, 9 KO) in what should be an excellent clash of fragile but skilled super featherweights. That show also sees Rhiannon Dixon (9-0, 1 KO) fight Karen Elizabeth Carabajal for the vacant WBO lightweight title left behind by Katie Taylor, plus the latest from Campbell Hatton (14-0, 5 KO) and PAt McCormack (5-0, 4 KO).

Finally, on April 27th, Ja’Rico O’Quinn (17-1-1, 9 KO) attempts to repeat his shocking knockout of top prospect Peter McGrail (8-1, 5 KO). O’Quinn was down 40-34 on all three scorecards before damn near blasting McGrail out of his boots in a shockingly accurate recreation of Julian Jackson vs Herol Graham.

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