Jose Zepeda KO’s Ivan Baranchyk in potential fight of the year


October’s boxing action kicks off Saturday with a key bout between junior welterweight contenders Jose Zepeda and Ivan Baranchyk, which headlines the latest card emanating from Top Rank Boxing’s bubble at the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs), a former IBF junior welterweight world titlist, suffered the only loss of his career at the hands of Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series semifinals in May 2019. Baranchyk suffered a rib injury that postponed the fight against Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) from its initial June date.

Zepeda, who has won two fights in a row including a July outing in the Top Rank bubble, is likewise looking to elevate his status in a competitive division. His two career losses have come in world title fights, including a razor-thin majority decision defeat at the hands of Jose Ramirez in February 2019.

The winner of Baranchyk-Zepeda will be keeping a close eye on the potential title unification bout between Taylor and Ramirez that could come late this year or in early 2021.

In the co-main event bout, undefeated 20-year-old lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores, Jr. (18-0, 6 KOs) returns for his second fight inside the bubble. The Stockton-born standout will take on Ryan Kielczweski (30-4, 11 KOs), as Flores fights for the second time inside the Top Rank bubble, after a June victory over Josec Ruiz.

There’s also a heavyweight clash between highly touted prospect Guido Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) and Kingsley Ibeh (5-1, 4 KOs). Both are returning to action inside the Top Rank bubble — Vianello for the second time, and Ibeh for the third — and this fight was initially set to take place in July, but was postponed when Ibeh returned a positive test for COVID-19.

Follow along live throughout the night as Steve Kim breaks down all of the action.

Featherweights: Haven Brady Jr. vs. Gorwar Karyah

Fight in progress

Mariano scores quick TKO of Reed

In the opening bout of the night at the MGM Grand Conference Center, welterweight JJ Mariano made quick work of Mathew Reed, stopping him in under 90 seconds in Round 1.

Reed (1-1, 1 KOs) who came in a couple of pounds over the weight limit on Friday afternoon, was struck by a left hook as he stepped inside. Reed hit the canvas, and as he rose, he was on shaky legs. Mariano (3-0, 2 KOs) peppered Mariano with quick punches that further dazed Reed.

At that point, referee Robert Hoyle waved off the fight at 1:27.

Still to come:

Junior welterweights: Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk (10 rounds)

Lightweights: Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Ryan Kielczweski (10 rounds)

Heavyweights: Guido Vianello vs. Kingsley Ibeh (6 rounds)

Featherweights: Duke Ragan vs. John Moraga (4 rounds)

Junior lightweights: Frevian Gonzalez vs. Carlos Marrero III (4 rounds)

Heavyweights: Mitchell Sipe vs. Jimmy Barnes (4 rounds)

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