Paro vs. Love, Andy Cruz & Bridges vs. Mathie all star on Haney-Prograis card
October 17 2023
Paro and Love meet in 140lb showdown – Cuban sensation Cruz returns – all-Australian World title clash
Liam Paro and Montana Love will clash for the WBO Global Jr. Welterweight title, Cuban star Andy Cruz returns against Hector Tanajara and Ebanie Bridges defends her IBF World Bantamweight title against fellow Australian Avril Mathie on the undercard of the blockbuster WBC 140lb title clash between Devin Haney and Regis Prograis at Chase Center in San Francisco on December 9, live on DAZN PPV in North America and on DAZN worldwide.
Paro (23-0 14 KOs) will be itching to get in the ring and put on a big performance after agonizingly missing out on a World title shot against headline star Prograis in June. Injury ruled the Australian out of the contest, but now the unbeaten 27 year old gets to stake his claim for World title action in 2024 against Love, and steps back into the ring for the first time in over a year having blasted away Brock Jarvis inside a round as the top of the bill act in Matchroom’s first ever Australian show in October 2022 in his Queensland hometown.
“Love is just another guy trying to get in the way of where I want to be and I’m not going to settle for that,” said Paro. “Next year, I want that World title! But for now, December 9 is only thing on my mind.”
For Love (18-1-1 9 KOs) it is back-to-back Australian foes as the Cleveland ace gets back into action following a controversial homecoming clash with Stevie Spark in November, where Love was DQ’d. The 28 year old will be eager to get back to winning ways in San Francisco and get back into the World title mix, making this 140lb clash must-win for both men.
“When you pray for rain you, gotta deal with the mud,” said Love. “December 9, Love hurts.”
Cruz (1-0) made his hotly anticipated pro debut in July in Detroit, comfortably outpointing Juan Carlos Burgos to pick up the IBF strap that he defends in December. The former Cuban amateur sensation, who struck Olympic gold at the 2020 games, can add the WBA Continental Latin-Americas title to his collection in his second pro outing, but faces a stiff test against San Antonio’s Tanajara (21-1-1 6 KOs).
“The wait is over!” said Cruz. “I’m more than ready to get back into the ring and make it rock. I came here to fight the best, so I ask them, who would be the brave ones to take on my challenge and join the action? Let’s talk about challenges!”
“I’m excited to be fighting on DAZN on a great card,” said Tanajara. “I would like to thank Matchroom for the opportunity. We will be more than ready come Dec 9, to give the fans a great show and bring home the win to San Antonio.”
There is more World title action on the card as Bridges (9-1 4 KOs) makes a long-awaited return to the ring against Mathie (8-1-1 3 KOs). Fight night will be one day shy of a year since Bridges successfully defended her title for the first time in her adopted UK home of Leeds, where she stopped another Australian, Shannon O’Connell, in the eighth. The 37 year old became IBF champion in in March 2022 in the same arena against Maria Cecelia Roman, and has expressed her desire to unify the titles – but will need to take another Aussie scalp in Mathie, who will be looking to bounce back from tasting defeat to Ramla Ali in New York in February.
“If Avril thinks because it’s December and it’s the beginning of the holiday season, she’ll be going home with an early Christmas present she is sadly mistaken,” said Bridges. “After the fight and my hand is raised in victory it’s going to look like she’s celebrating Halloween. I intend to put on a show for the fans live in San Francisco, on DAZN and all over the world.”
“I am beyond excited to be challenging for the IBF bantamweight title on December 9, and on such a big card in front of what looks like will be a sold-out arena in San Francisco,” said Mathie. “I am confident people will be seeing the best version of me to date. Everything leading up to this fight has prepared me both mentally and physically to leave San Francisco with that championship belt.
“I am expecting the best version of Ebanie that night as well, which I know is going to make this fight an absolute banger and be a huge win for women’s boxing overall. I want to thank Eddie Hearn, Matchroom, DAZN and my manager Peter Kahn for making this fight a reality. I would also like to thank Ebanie for giving me the opportunity to challenge for the World title.”
Brazilian star Beatriz Ferreira (3-0 1 KO) fights for the second time in 2023 after a shut-out win against Karla Zamora in Sheffield, while Oakland native Amari Jones (9-0 8 KOs) moves into double figures in the paid ranks.