Ocampo-Ponomarev 147-lb eliminator booked


Unbeaten welterweight contenders Carlos Ocampo and Konstantin Ponomarev will square off in a title elimination fight for the right to challenge for a world title with the terms of their fight laid out at a purse bid on Tuesday.

Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, which promotes Ponomarev, was the only bidder present at the IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey, and offered $30,150. Zanfer Promotions, which represents Ocampo, did not bid.

The fighters will split the winning offer, meaning each man would be due a purse of $15,075. Top Rank has 15 days to deliver signed contracts to the IBF with the fight having to take place within 90 days. Moretti said the plan is for Top Rank to put the fight in late September or mid-October.

The winner of the fight will become the mandatory challenger for 147-pound world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs), who won the belt by 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook on May 27 in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. Spence likely will make an optional title defense this fall before having to face the Ocampo-Ponomarev winner.

Ocampo and Ponomarev are not that well known since they have had little television exposure, but Moretti said he expects their styles to mesh well.

“It’s an interesting-style fight as it matches a boxer in Ponomarev against a puncher in Ocampo,” Moretti said. “And certainly the winner will get a shot at a world title and Errol Spence, so there is a lot on the line for both guys. It was a good day. I went to Springfield, New Jersey, won a purse bid and now I’m staying in Springfield to complete 18 holes at the renowned Baltusrol Golf Club.”

Ponomarev (32-0, 13 KOs), of Russia, owns wins against previously undefeated Mikael Zewski, whom he easily outpointed over 10 rounds in May 2015, and Brad Solomon, who he won a split decision against in April 2016. In his most recent bout, Ponomarev outpointed veteran fringe contender Ed Paredes on May 20 on the Terence Crawford-Felix Diaz undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Mexico’s Ocampo (21-0, 12 KOs) has faced overall weaker opposition than Ponomarev. He owns a 2015 decision win against Jorge Paez Jr., knocked out former world title challenger Charlie Navarro in the fifth round in 2016 and is coming off a shutout 10-round decision win against countryman Daniel Echeverria on Jan. 14.


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