Although it had been known for quite some time that Top Rank had reserved August 25 for an ESPN card, the promotion officially made the announcement.
Top Rank will have an card televised on ESPN live Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona and feature two world title fights: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza for the WBO lightweight title and Isaac Dogboe vs. Hidenori Otake for the WBO super bantamweight title.
Beltran will be making his first defense of the title as Pedraza, the WBO Latino champion and No. 2 contender for the title, is stepping in as a replacement opponent for mandatory challenger Roman Andreev. Top Rank recently won a purse bid for Beltran vs. Andreev but Andreev went down due to an appendicitis attack and underwent surgery, leaving him unable to train for the fight.
Dogboe won the WBO interim title back in January and he became the full WBO world champion at 126 pounds after defeating Jessie Magdaleno back in April.
Although news of the world title doubleheader is unsurprising, the one potential, albeit unlikely, wrinkle that could have altered plans for the card was Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lomachenko, who won the WBA lightweight title back in May, was planned to fight on the August 25 card before he was sidelined with a shoulder surgery to fix a torn labrum.
Lomachenko recently shared a video on Instagram on him training saying that he would be fighting in August, but that amounted to mere wishful thinking on the part of the three-division champion. Lomachenko still figures into Top Rank’s and ESPN’s plans to have the pound-for-pound superstar fight before the end of 2018 but the announcement of Beltran vs. Pedraza headlining the August 25 card rules out the possibility of Lomachenko being a part of the event in a fighting capacity.
This will be the second time Beltran would enter the ring after winning the then-vacant WBO lightweight title back in February.