<
>

Errol Spence Jr. to defend welterweight title as part of The Star's boxing debut

Welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr.'s homecoming title defense is set.

Spence will make a mandatory defense against Carlos Ocampo on June 16 (Showtime) at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, TGB Promotions announced Monday.

The fight will headline the first boxing card inside the 12,000-seat Ford Center, which is part of the Dallas Cowboys' training facility and team headquarters.

Spence, from nearby DeSoto, Texas, will be fighting in his home region for the only the second time since turning pro following his run at the 2012 Olympics.

"I'm honored to be fighting in Dallas before my hometown fans and the people who have supported me from the beginning," said Spence, who last fought in Dallas in 2015, when he knocked out Alejandro Barrera in the fifth round. "This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. It's going to be great to fight at The Star, and because I'm a big Dallas Cowboys fan, I'm looking forward to fighting on the campus of Dallas Cowboys world headquarters."

The Spence and Ocampo teams came to terms for the fight in early March, but several venues were in the running for the bout.

"Errol Spence Jr. has emerged as one of the most exciting champions in the sport today with a combination of skills that he has crafted into a fan-friendly style,'' TGB Promotions president Tom Brown said. "This is an opportunity for Errol to defend his title before the fans in his hometown and to continue to demonstrate why he is the top man in the 147-pound division. Carlos Ocampo, a young hungry contender, will certainly bring his A-game, and that will bring out the best in Errol."

Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), a 28-year-old southpaw, will be making his second title defense. In May, he traveled to Kell Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England, and knocked him out in the 11th round to win a 147-pound world title before he made his first defense Jan. 20, stopping former titlist Lamont Peterson in the seventh round in Brooklyn, New York.

"I believe that I'm the No. 1 fighter in the welterweight division, and I'll step into the ring on June 16 with that feeling," Spence said. "I'm going to draw from the energy of my fans. I've studied some of Ocampo and I can tell he likes to box, but he's willing to get into a fight. I know how he feels going into someone else's hometown for his first shot at the title. This is his big opportunity, and it's going to make this a great event."

Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs), 22, of Mexico, is a prospect who has yet to face a top opponent, so he will come into the fight with Spence taking an enormous step up in competition. He is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Dario Ferman on Nov. 11 in Mexico.

As he prepares for his United States debut, Ocampo is looking forward to the biggest fight of his career.

"I'm training very hard for my fight against Errol Spence Jr.," Ocampo said. "This is the opportunity that I've worked my whole life to get, and I'm coming to take Spence's belt on June 16. I will give the fans a very exciting fight and show once again what Mexican fighters are made of."

Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones, son of team owner Jerry Jones, said the organization is looking forward to hosting a hometown fighter in a world title defense.

"It's known how energetic and exciting the sport of boxing is, but to be able to host IBF world champion Errol Spence Jr. here at The Star to represent our city and his hometown will be an unforgettable experience for all," Stephen Jones said.