Jesse Hart, a two-time super middleweight world title challenger, will move up to the light heavyweight division to take on former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera, Top Rank announced on Wednesday.
The scheduled 10-round fight will serve as the co-feature of the previously announced Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ main event between lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Tom Schwarz on June 15 (ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hart (25-2, 21 KOs), 29, of Philadelphia, who lost decisions in two closely contested super middleweight title bouts against Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez in 2017 and 2018, had planned to move up to light heavyweight to face former light heavyweight titlist Eleider "Storm" Alvarez on the June 15 card.
However, when Alvarez suffered a recent injury to his left heel that will keep him sidelined until at least mid-July, Barrera got the call.
Barrera was initially scheduled to fight Michael Seals on the undercard of the fight between featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez and Jason Sanchez on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on June 8 but moved to the card one week later for a much more significant fight with Hart.
"On June 15, I'm coming to knock him out," Hart said. "I refuse to lose. This is a legacy fight. I want the big names. I need a big name, and Barrera is the name. I don't want to just win and coast to some boring decision. I'm coming to prove to the world that I can fight with these bigger guys. After I knock Barrera out, I'm coming for all the champions. The light heavyweights better watch out because 'Hollywood' Hart is here."
Barrera (22-2, 14 KOs), 37, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, has lost only to now-retired former unified light heavyweight titlist Andre Ward by decision in a non-title bout in 2016 and in a 12th-round knockout challenging world titleholder Dmitry Bivol in March 2018. Barrera rebounded with a lopsided decision win over Seanie Monaghan November.
"I am excited to face Jesse Hart, a great fighter who has also been in there with world champions," Barrera said. "This is a must-win fight. Simple as that. Camp has been great for me, and I am looking forward to June 15. It's going to be a great card, and I am going to show everyone in Las Vegas and watching on ESPN+ what I'm truly made of."
The winner will be in line for an even more significant fight and possibly a shot at a world title, especially given how deep Top Rank is with talent in the weight division. The company promotes co-promotes world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, world titleholders Artur Beterbiev and Sergey Kovalev as well as Alvarez and Ramirez, who vacated his super middleweight world title and made a successful move up to 175 pounds in a knockout win over former title challenger Tommy Karpency on April 12.
The rest of the undercard will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET before switching to ESPN+ for the two top fights.
The final bout on the ESPN+ portion of the card will feature 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer (10-0, 4 KOs), 28, of Los Angeles. She will fight former world title challenger Lizbeth Crespo (13-4, 3 KOs), 28, a native of Bolivia, in a 10-round junior lightweight bout.
"It's been a dream of mine to see women fighting alongside marquee names like Tyson Fury, and I'm grateful to be fighting at the MGM Grand on June 15," Mayer said. "There's still a lot the world hasn't seen when it comes to my style, and I'm ready to show everyone something special."
In other preliminary bouts that will be on the ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes portion of the card:
* Heavyweight Guido Vianello (3-0, 3 KOs), 25, a 2016 Italian Olympian, will face an opponent to be determined in a six-rounder.
* British featherweight Isaac Lowe (17-0-3, 6 KOs), 25, who is a stablemate of Fury's, will fight an opponent to be named in a 10-rounder.
* German super middleweight Cem Kilic (13-0, 8 KOs), 24, will take on an opponent to be determined in an eight-round bout.
* Heavyweight Sonny Conto (2-0, 2 KOs), 23, of Philadelphia, will fight a four-rounder against an opponent to be determined.
* Heavyweight prospect Peter Kadiru (3-0, 1 KO), 21, of Germany, will face an opponent to be determined in a four-rounder.