The vacant middleweight world title fight between Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Daniel Jacobs was made official Friday along with two other world title bouts on the undercard.
Derevyanchenko and former secondary titlist Jacobs will meet Oct. 27 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, where they will duke it out for a 160-pound world title stripped from Gennady Golovkin on June 6 for failing to make a timely mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko.
The card will also feature junior lightweight titlist Alberto Machado defending against Yuandale Evans in the televised co-feature and a vacant women's featherweight title fight pitting Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent in a rematch, although their bout will not be part of the HBO broadcast.
Derevyanchenko-Jacobs has been in the pipeline since Golovkin was stripped. The deal between promoters Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, Jacobs' promoter, and Derevyanchenko promoter Lou DiBella was made a few weeks ago, but now the match is officially on after they finally settled with HBO on a date and venue.
Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs), 32, a 2008 Olympian for Ukraine who fights out of Brooklyn, and Jacobs (34-2, 29 KOs), 31, are very familiar with each other. They have known each other for years. They share the same manager in Keith Connolly, have sparred numerous times and also share trainer Andre Rozier, who will be with Jacobs for the fight.
The fight is the third on Jacobs' exclusive contract with HBO since signing with Hearn and HBO after his close decision loss to Golovkin in March 2017, and on paper, it's his most challenging.
"I'm excited to be back in New York City fighting in my hometown," said Jacobs, a Brooklyn native. "This opportunity for a world title is one I don't take lightly, and I'm preparing myself to be in an incredible fight with Sergey Derevyanchenko. I've always felt that I was the best middleweight in the world. With this type of fight, I'm that much closer to all that glory and to proving to the world I am the best."
Said Hearn: "When we started working with Danny, the goal was always to become world champion, and now the time has come."
Derevyanchenko became one of Golovkin's mandatory challengers by virtue of his 12th-round knockout of Tureano Johnson 13 months ago and has fought just once since, a sixth-round knockout of Dashon Johnson in March, while awaiting his title opportunity.
"I'm a step away from my dream, and I will not miss this chance," said Derevyanchenko, who was 390-20 as an amateur. "From my time in the amateurs to my pro career, this has been a long time coming for me. I've beaten everyone they've put in front of me to earn this shot. Having trained with Danny, I know him very well and we are friends. However, it will be strictly business in the ring. I will not be denied. The belt will be mine."
Said DiBella: "With over 400 amateur bouts, a trip to the Olympics and experience in the World Series of Boxing, Sergey was adamant with me that he wanted to fight for a world title against the biggest name available. I've known Danny since he was a kid. He is a great fighter in and out of the ring.
"Stylistically, this is a can't-miss action fight. Sergey studies his opponents, finds their weaknesses, then breaks them down. That is why he has such a great chance to win this fight and become the IBF middleweight champion."
Machado (20-0, 16 KOs), 27, a southpaw from Puerto Rico, will make the second defense of his 130-pound title against Evans (20-1, 14 KOs), 29, of Cleveland. Machado won the belt in October by eighth-round knockout of Jezreel Corrales and retained it July 21 by shutout decision against mandatory challenger Rafael Mensah.
"I feel excited to make the second defense of my title, but this time before all of my Puerto Rican brothers in New York," said Machado, who is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach. "Yuandale Evans is a great fighter who comes with a lot of hunger after years of rest. But this time I will go into the ring with extra motivation to reward all my people in person and those watching at home with a great victory."
Since suffering his only loss, a first-round knockout to Javier Fortuna in 2012, Evans has won four fights in a row in a sporadic schedule. He was idle for more than three years after the loss and has not boxed since November.
"I want to let Machado know that I am taking the belt home," Evans said. "I've been doing my homework. Machado is tall and strong, but he's never fought a guy like me, who can hit like me. To fight for a world title at Madison Square Garden is a dream come true. I am going make the most out of this opportunity. This is my time to shine."
Hardy (21-0, 4 KOs), 36, of Brooklyn, and Vincent (23-1, 1 KO), 39, of Providence, Rhode Island, first met in August 2016, as Hardy won an action-packed 10-round majority decision.
"One of the saddest things is that in 2016, Shelly and I put on the fight of the year and so many people missed it," Hardy said. "We've been dying to do the rematch but under the right circumstances. This is a great time for women's boxing and a great event to showcase the rematch, and I'm going to bring home that title, don't worry about that."
Said Vincent: "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to shoot hoops at MSG. Now I'm going to get to beat Heather's ass there. The first fight was close. I thought I won it. Heather thought she won it. Some people thought I won, some thought she won, some thought it was a draw. This time, you are going to see the old 'Shelito.' I've got more than just three weeks to get ready, and I think it'll be a repeat of the first fight, nonstop punching, and my hands are going to be all over Heather Hardy like she's my woman, and I'm not leaving without that title."