Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev will headline the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on March 23, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.
The card will take place at either The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California, or the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, but Pulev still needs an opponent.
First, a deal with fringe contender Robert Helenius (28-2, 17 KOs) fell through, and on Wednesday morning the same happened with Romania's Bogdan Dinu (18-1, 14 KOs), who got destroyed in four rounds by Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller in his last fight in November.
Dinu promoter Greg Cohen told ESPN that even though he worked out a deal for the fight with Top Rank, Dinu's management ultimately turned down the offer and he informed Top Rank chairman Bob Arum that Dinu was not going to fight.
Top Rank signed Pulev to a co-promotional deal with Epic Sports in December, and this will be his first bout under the agreement. Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs), 37, of Bulgaria, is one of the mandatory challengers for three-belt unified world titlist Anthony Joshua.
Since getting starched by then-heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko in the fifth round in the 2014 ESPN knockout of the year, Pulev has won six fights in a row. During that run he defeated Hughie Fury, the younger brother of lineal heavyweight champion and newly signed Top Rank fighter Tyson Fury, in a title elimination fight and perennial contender Dereck Chisora.
The original main event on March 23, which was going to be at The Forum in Inglewood, California, was supposed to be the all-Mexican rematch between junior lightweight world titlist Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31 KOs) and former titlist Francisco Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) with Pulev appearing in the co-feature. However, Berchelt suffered a right hand injury in training and withdrew two weeks ago. The fight will be rescheduled, according to Top Rank.
The new March 23 co-feature, Moretti said, will be a 10-round featherweight clash between former junior featherweight world titleholders Jessie Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs), 27, of Las Vegas, and Rico Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs),31, of Pico Rivera, California.
That bout was originally ticketed for the undercard of Top Rank's St. Patrick's Day card on March 17 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York headlined by Irish featherweight prospect Michael Conlan against Ruben Garcia Hernandez but moved to March 23.