Former welterweight world titleholder Shawn Porter is in a mandatory position to fight for another belt, but unified titlist Keith Thurman is sidelined with an injury until at least early next year.
The WBC plans to order Porter to fight fellow former titlist Danny Garcia, but that fight could not be made before the end of the year.
However, Porter, limited to one fight in 2016 (a razor-close decision challenging Thurman for his title in a fight of the year candidate), did not want to finish 2017 with only one bout, and he has been vocal about wanting activity. He was heard, and his team has taken care of business, handing Porter a scheduled 10-round fight with Adrian Granados that figures to serve up a heavy dose of action.
The fight was set as the co-feature of the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz heavyweight world title fight on Nov. 4 (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. However, the Wilder-Ortiz bout is off after Ortiz tested positive for banned substances.
In the opening bout of the card, Sergey Lipinets will take on Akihiro Kondo for a vacant junior welterweight world title — one of the belts recently vacated by then-undisputed world champion Terence Crawford.
“Shawn Porter versus Adrian Granados is an all-action, fan-pleasing fight that will once again have fans at Barclays Center cheering,” said Lou DiBella, who is promoting the card. “Sergey Lipinets is a knockout artist and up-and-coming star attempting to secure his first world title.”
Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs), 29, who fights out of Las Vegas, is coming off a ninth-round knockout of former titleholder Andre Berto on April 22, also at Barclays Center, in a title elimination fight that earned him another title shot.
“I’m excited and looking forward to this opportunity,” Porter said. “Against Granados I’m getting into the ring with someone who is very established as an amateur and a professional, has great skills and isn’t going to go in there and lay down. That’s always going to bring out the best in me, and that’s always going to create a very exciting matchup. I know that when I do what I’m planning to do, it’s going to be exciting, entertaining and fill the seats.”
Porter had been scheduled to fight Thomas Dulorme on Aug. 26 on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard but withdrew because of a death in his family shortly before the fight.
Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs), 28, of Chicago, has a bit of a deceptive record. All five of his defeats are by either split or majority decision, including a hard-fought split decision to former four-division world titleholder Adrien Broner on Feb. 18.
“Adrian Granados is as tough as they come and while he may lack the name recognition of Porter, he should not be overlooked,” said TGB Promotions CEO Tom Brown, Granados’ promoter. “You look at his record and he has five losses, but those five losses are three split decisions and two majority decisions and two draws that are split draws. This is another huge opportunity for him. Adrian feels he’s paid his dues and belongs in a fight of this magnitude.”
Granados has been anxious to get back in the ring with another quality opponent since giving Broner such a tough fight.
“I’m very excited to be fighting one of the best welterweights in the world in Shawn Porter,” Granados said. “With our styles it’s going to be fireworks from the opening bell. I was getting ready for a fight in October but when this opportunity arose I jumped at it. It’s a tremendous card to be fighting on with the whole world watching and I’m looking to put on a great performance.”
On Aug. 19, Crawford knocked out Julius Indongo with a third-round body shot to take his two belts and add them to his own two, thus becoming only the third fighter to unify all four major belts. However, with the victory, Crawford inherited the overdue mandatory fight with Lipinets, and not only would he not be ready to fight again before the end of the year, he is likely going to move up to welterweight and, therefore, vacated.
That leaves Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs), 28, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Los Angeles, to face Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs), 32, of Japan for the vacant 140-pound belt.
Lipinets became a mandatory challenger by virtue of an eighth-round knockout of Lenny Zappavigna in a December title eliminator.
“I feel very privileged to be in the position to fight for this world title,” Lipinets said. “I will prepare to face the best possible fighter on that night and I promise that I will not disappoint. The lights will be bright but I have trained too hard not to leave the ring as a world champion.”
Kondo, who will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time, has won eight fights in a row but never faced a recognizable opponent.
In another fight on the card, which Showtime will stream live on its website, former heavyweight world titleholder Bermane Stiverne is scheduled to face former title challenger Dominic Breazeale in a 10-rounder.
However, DiBella said Stiverne, from whom Wilder won the title by one-sided decision in 2015, could be elevated from his undercard bout to face Wilder in a rematch.
Stiverne is Wilder’s mandatory challenger, and the fight is overdue. But with no television network interested in buying the fight, Stiverne accepted a step-aside deal to allow Wilder to make an optional defense against Ortiz. In addition to a payment, Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), 38, of Las Vegas, also was given a fight on the undercard against 2012 U.S. Olympian Breazeale (18-1, 16 KOs), 32, of Los Angeles.