Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev, ranked No. 1 by the IBF, will put his rating on the line against Bogdan Dinu in a 10-round showdown on Saturday, March 23 at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif.
In the co-feature, former world champions Jessie Magdaleno and Rico Ramos will clash in a 10-round featherweight bout with potential world title implications.
Pulev-Dinu and Magdaleno-Ramos will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard, including the return of top junior welterweight contender Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev against Ricky Sismundo, will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $75 and $60 are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.socafights.com.
“I’m excited to be fighting at The Hangar and on ESPN as I continue my quest to become the heavyweight champion of the world,” Pulev said. “I have a great team behind me, and I am focused and ready to take care of business on March 23.”
“I know this is a big opportunity for me to get to the top of the heavyweight division,” Dinu said. “I am happy to be fighting in the United States against a really top heavyweight in Pulev. When I win, I will be considered a top contender.”
“I haven’t fought in a long time, but I am ready to show the fans that I am the same guy who won the title not too long ago,” Magdaleno said. “I feel comfortable in my new weight class, and now that I’m back, the goal is to become a two-weight world champion.”
“I’m thrilled to be fighting on ESPN,” Ramos said. “I would like to thank Top Rank for the opportunity to showcase my skills on boxing’s biggest stage. I’m preparing my best to give the fans a great show. This fight will get me one step closer to becoming a two-time world champion.”
Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) is closing in on a second world title shot, the first coming in 2014 when he put up a valiant effort before being stopped by longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko in the fifth round. He has won six straight since the Klitschko loss, most recently defeating fellow contender Hughie Fury via unanimous decision in front of his hometown fans at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Dinu (18-1, 14 KOs), a one-time top amateur in his native Romania, will be making his second ring appearance in America. He is looking to bounce back from a fourth-round stoppage loss to Jarrell Miller.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) will be fighting for the first time since Isaac Dogboe snatched the WBO junior featherweight world title from him last April in a Fight of the Year contender. Dogboe bounced back from a first-round knockdown to stop Magdaleno in the 11th round. Magdaleno, who had difficulty making the 122-pound limit, hopes a win over Ramos propels him toward a featherweight world title shot.
Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs) captured the WBA super bantamweight title on July 9, 2011 in Atlantic City with a stunning one-punch knockout of Akifumi Shimoda. He lost the title the following January to Guillermo Rigondeaux via sixth-round knockout. Ramos has been on a hot streak since a 2015 knockout loss to Claudio Marrero, winning six in a row while campaigning at both super bantamweight and featherweight. He won a pair of fights in 2018, including an eight-round unanimous decision over Daniel Olea last September that streamed on ESPN+.
In other undercard action:
Javier Molina (18-2, 8 KOs), who represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics, will face knockout artist Abdiel Ramirez (24-3-1, 22 KOs) in a super lightweight bout scheduled for 10 or eight rounds. Ramirez is coming off a stunning knockout victory over Michael Perez on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza undercard Dec. 8 in New York City.
Detroit product and surging 130-pound contender Erick De Leon (18-0-1, 10 KOs) will fight Jose Luis Gallegos (16-5, 12 KOs) in a dual set for 10 or eight rounds. De Leon hasn’t fought since July 14 when he suffered a shoulder injury in a decision win versus Adrian Young.
Longtime welterweight contender Chris “The Heat” van Heerden (26-2-1, 12 KOs) will fight battle-tested veteran Mahonry Montes (35-8-1, 24 KOs) in a bout scheduled for 10 or eight rounds.
Top featherweight prospect Tyler McCreary (15-0, 7 KOs) will make his Top Rank debut against Roberto Castaneda (23-11-1, 16 KOs) in a contest scheduled for eight or six rounds.
David Kaminsky (3-0, 2 KOs), the 18-year-old former amateur standout, will fight Estevan Payan (1-6-1, 1 KO) in a four-round middleweight bout. Payan has also fought 30 times as a professional mixed martial artist.
Bobirzhan Mominov (9-0, 8 KOs) will aim for his fifth consecutive knockout against Jonathan Steele (9-2-1, 6 KOs) in a welterweight battle scheduled for six or eight rounds.
Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (1-0) will return in a four-rounder against Alejandro Lopez (1-3, 0 KOs).
Use the hashtag #PulevDinu to follow the action on social media.