TV Picks of the Week: Jaron “Boots” Ennis vs. David Avanesyan

Pick It: Jaron “Boots” Ennis vs. David Avanesyan

When to Watch: Saturday, July 13

How to watch: DAZN. The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time (1 a.m. BST)

Why to Watch: If the two top welterweights of recent years are truly gone from the division, then the man who was looking to supplant them will need to do so on his own.

Jaron “Boots” Ennis was aiming for fights with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence. Alas, Crawford — who became undisputed champion when he demolished Spence last year — is moving up to 154, at least for now, to challenge Israil Madrimov for a world title. Spence is also anticipated to move up to junior middleweight to challenge Sebastian Fundora after spending most of his career at 147.

That leaves Ennis to establish the welterweight division as his kingdom against those who remain, rather than those who reigned.

That starts this Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where the 27-year-old Ennis will perform in front of his hometown crowd. He’ll take on replacement opponent David Avanesyan.

In recent years, Ennis has faced off against foes such as Sergey Lipinets, Thomas Dulorme, Custio Clayton, Karen Chukhadzhian and Roiman Villa. Ennis was mostly impressive in those wins, barring needing to settle for a distance win with the defense-minded Chukhadzhian.

That fight with Chukhadzhian was for the IBF’s interim belt. Crawford won the full IBF title from Spence but has since vacated it. Ennis, 31-0 (28 KOs), has since been upgraded, and this will be his first defense.

Ennis was initially supposed to face Cody Crowley. But Crowley pulled out due to eye problems and Avanesyan stepped in.

Avanesyan isn’t special, but he will attempt to put up a fight until that fight is beaten out of him. The 35-year-old, born in Russia and living in England, had a couple of setbacks years ago, with losses to the likes of Lamont Peterson by decision in 2017 and Egidijus Kavaliauskas by TKO in 2018. Then Avanesyan put forth a six-fight win streak, taking the zeroes of previously unbeaten Kerman Lejarraga and Josh Kelly.

While neither Lejarraga nor Kelly was proven at the upper levels, this string of victories meant that many of us wanted Avanesyan to get an opportunity against other recognizable, more established names. We just didn’t expect it to come against Crawford.

But there was Avanesyan in the ring with Crawford in December 2022. And there went Avanesyan, stopped in the sixth round. He’s picked up one win since against a designated opponent, moving to 30-4-1 (18 KOs).

Assuming Ennis does what’s expected of him on Saturday, it will then be time for him to seek fights with the other worthy welterweights.

It’s not the deepest of divisions at the moment, but it would be good to see Ennis against the likes of Eimantas Stanionis, Mario Barrios (who may face a returning Manny Pacquiao) or Brian Norman Jr.

One wonders whether Ennis signing with Matchroom Boxing, and being featured now on DAZN, will serve as a hindrance given promotional and network allegiances. The same kind of thing that long stood in the way of Crawford vs. Spence.

That question will need to be answered soon. But first, Ennis needs to take care of the business in front of him. 

More Fights to Watch

Wednesday, July 10: Sam Goodman vs. Chainoi Worawut (Main Event pay-per-view in Australia)

The free preliminary broadcast begins at 5:30 p.m Australian Eastern Standard Time (3:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time, 8:30 a.m. BST). The PPV begins at 7 p.m. AEST.

Goodman is a junior featherweight contender who seemed destined for a date with Naoya Inoue — especially after entering the ring following Inoue’s win over Luis Nery in May. The 25-year-old from New South Wales, Australia, had earned a mandatory challenger position and put together a string of good wins, including a split decision over the previously unbeaten Ra’eese Aleem.

Instead, Goodman is taking an in-between bout and hoping the Inoue opportunity remains. For that to be possible, Goodman, 18-0 (8 KOs), will have to get by Worawut, a 27-year-old from Bangkok who is 25-0-1 (15 KOs) but who will be taking a significant step up in quality of opposition.

Worawut will also be fighting outside of Thailand for the first time. This show, at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, is just down the road from where Goodman lives.

Wednesday, July 10: Nicklaus Flaz vs. Alfredo Escarcega (

The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Flaz is a 28-year-old welterweight from Puerto Rico. He is 12-2 (8 KOs) and has won three straight since getting stopped in one round by Janelson Bocachica back in 2020.

Escarcega is a 26-year-old from the United States who is 15-1-1 (7 KOs). Only three of his victories have come against foes with winning records.

The undercard includes a fight between Najee Lopez, 10-0 (8 KOs), who’s been fighting at light heavyweight, and Steven Sumpter, 9-0-1 (7 KOs), who will be moving up from super middleweight.

(Note: is owned by ProBox.) 

Thursday, July 11: Nelson Hysa vs. Thorsten Fuchs (ESPN+)

The broadcast begins at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (7 p.m. BST).

Hysa is an unbeaten 39-year-old heavyweight from Albania with a record of 17-0 (15 KOs). He’ll headline in his nation’s capital of Tirana, taking on Fuchs, a 33-year-old from Germany who’s mostly competed at cruiserweight and is 13-1 (10 KOs).

Friday, July 12: Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Rober Barrera (ESPN+)

The broadcast begins at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. (2 a.m. BST).

Gonzalez — the former world titleholder at 105, 108 and 115, and former lineal flyweight champion — is returning for what could be the last run for this future Hall of Famer.

“Chocolatito” turned 37 in June, has been a pro for 19 years, and is fighting for the first time since December 2022, when he lost a majority decision in his rubber match with Juan Francisco Estrada. He’s now 51-4 (41 KOs) and will headline in his hometown of Managua, Nicaragua, against a former junior flyweight and flyweight contender named Rober Barrera.

Gonzalez vs. Barrera is up at bantamweight. If Chocolatito wins, he could remain at 118 and face any of the four titleholders there: Takuma Inoue, Junto Nakatani, Ryosuke Nishida and Yoshiki Takei. All four are from Japan, a country that has been like a second home to Chocolatito; he’s fought there 10 times over the course of his career. 

However, if Chocolatito is willing and able, he could also remain in the mix back down at super flyweight, or any of these 115-pounders might also be willing to move up three pounds to take on the living legend.

Of course, that all depends on what happens with Barrera, a 31-year-old from Colombia who is 27-5 (17 KOs).

Barrera has come up short against several familiar names, dropping a split decision to junior flyweight Carlos Canizales in 2015, stopping in nine rounds in a fight with 108-pound titleholder Ryoichi Taguchi in 2017, stopped while ahead on the cards in the 11th round of a fight with flyweight Luis Concepcion in 2020, outpointed by flyweight Muhammad Waseem in 2021, and on the short end of a split decision against Pablo Carrillo in 2022. 

Barrera has won three straight since against opponents with a combined record of 12-55-4.

Saturday, July 13: Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Andrei Mikhailovich (ESPN+ in the United States, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom)

The preliminary broadcast begins at 6:50 p.m. Eastern Time. (11:50 p.m. BST)

Alimkhanuly is a unified middleweight titleholder in a division that is lacking in depth and star power. Canelo Alvarez long ago departed. Gennadiy Golovkin is basically but unofficially retired. Jermall Charlo’s personal struggles have led to significant inactivity; he was finally stripped in May of the WBC belt, which he’d last defended in 2021.

In that vacuum, Alimkhanuly was upgraded from interim to regular WBO titleholder in 2022 and then added the IBF belt in a unification win over Vincenzo Gualtieri last October. The 31-year-old is originally from Kazakhstan and now fights out of Oxnard, California. His record is 15-0 (10 KOs).

Mikhailovich is a 26-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, who is 21-0 (13 KOs). He’s coming off a TKO5 of a previously unbeaten Edisson Saltarin in April 2023 — a win that is less meaningful now that Saltarin has added two more defeats — and Mikhailovich then scored an 84-second TKO of a 39-17 foe named Les Sherrington this past April.

This should be another Alimkhanuly win. And then hopefully there will be unification bouts against the likes of Carlos Adames (WBC) or Erislandy Lara (WBA), or defenses against rising contenders such as Hamzah Sheeraz, or even taking on guys with recognizable names such as Chris Eubank Jr.

The co-feature will see up-and-coming lightweight Raymond Muratalla take on his best opponent yet when he faces former 130-pound titleholder Tevin Farmer. 

Muratalla, a 27-year-old from Southern California, is 20-0 (16 KOs). His past three fights saw him take out Jeremia Nakathila in two rounds in May 2023, stop previously unbeaten Diego Torres Nunez in eight last November, and outpoint Xolisani Ndongeni this past March.

Farmer, a 33-year-old from Philadelphia, is 33-5-1 (8 KOs). He captured a junior lightweight world title in 2018 and made three successful defenses before losing it to Joseph Diaz Jr. at the start of 2020. Farmer then spent more than three years away before returning in June 2023, notching three victories since then.

Saturday, July 13: Kaine Fourie vs. Siseko Makeleni (DAZN)

The broadcast begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (6 p.m. BST).

Fourie is an unbeaten lightweight from South Africa with a record of 7-0-2 (5 KOs). He’ll headline in Johannesburg against Makaleni, who is 10-4 (6 KOs).

Monday, July 15: Prizefighter Quarterfinals (DAZN) 

The broadcast begins at 4 a.m. Eastern Time. (9 a.m. BST)

This middleweight tournament was announced in January and was originally supposed to start at the end of March. Instead, it kicks off this coming Monday at the Yamato Arena near Osaka, Japan with a set of 10-rounders.

The four fights are:

Kazuto Takesako, 16-2-1 (15 KOs), vs. Mark Dickinson, 6-0 (2 KOs) 

Riku Kunimoto, 11-1 (5 KOs), vs. Eiki Kani, 8-4-3 (4 KOs). These two fought once before, this past March, with Kunimoto stopping Kani in the sixth.

Kieron Conway, 20-3-1 (5 KOs), vs. Ainiwaer Yilixiati, 19-1 (14 KOs)

Aaron McKenna, 18-0 (9 KOs), vs. Jeovanny Estela, 14-0 (5 KOs)

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.

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