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World titleholders Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd to face strong opponents in October

The best of the junior middleweight division will be on display when three world titleholders, Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd, defend their belts against top contenders on Oct. 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, promoters Lou DiBella and Tom Brown announced Wednesday.

Lara will make the sixth defense of his 154-pound belt when he meets 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in the main event. In the co-feature, Charlo will make his make his second title defense when he meets Erickson "Hammer" Lubin, the 2016 ESPN.com prospect of the year.

Jermell Charlo, right, punches Charles Hatley on April 22 in New York. Charlo won by sixth-round knockout, defending his junior middleweight title. Al Bello/Getty Images
In the opener, Hurd will make his first defense against former world titleholder Austin Trout. The tripleheader will air live on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

"This is a blockbuster card for boxing fans," Brown, of TGB Promotions, said in a news release. "The 154-pound division is full of talent and this card is loaded with the best champions and top-ranked contenders in the division. The guy who will be the eventual king of the division is fighting on this show and the fans will be treated to matches that will determine who that unified champion will be.''

Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is a 34-year-old Cuban southpaw who fights out of Houston. He has not fought since blitzing long-faded former titlist Yuri Foreman in four rounds in January, but he owns wins against Trout, Vanes Martirosyan and Alfredo Angulo.

"I'm very excited to be making another title defense back on Showtime, headlining a great tripleheader," Lara said in the news release. "I know [Gausha] will be ready because it's his opportunity to beat the best fighter in the division and become a champion. But come fight night, he will quickly realize and know why I'm the consensus No. 1 [junior middleweight] in the world. After this performance, I look forward to, one-by-one, adding a WBC and IBF title to my collection."

Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs), 29, of Cleveland, will be taking a monumental step up in the level of his opposition. Although was an outstanding amateur, he has yet to face anyone resembling a contender -- yet he got this title shot.

"I've been talking about [getting a title opportunity] since I was a 3-year-old watching Muhammad Ali on television," Gausha said. "I'm here now and blessed for this opportunity. Lara's a tough fighter, champion and the best opponent I'll fight on paper. He's been in with the bigger names. But the better the opponent, the better I am, and I'm coming to dethrone him."

The fight of the night on paper is Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs), 27, of Houston, taking on Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), 21, of Orlando, Florida.

Charlo won a vacant title by eighth-round knockout of John Jackson in May 2016 and defended it by sixth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Charles Hatley on April 22. Lubin figures to give him a much greater challenge.

"Lubin is young and hungry and I know he always comes to fight, but there's a reason why I'm where I am in the sport," Charlo said. "I've been through the trenches and I don't plan to stop anytime soon. This is what boxing always needs -- two young, undefeated fighters willing to risk their '0'. But I think it's a little early for Lubin to step in the ring with me, and I plan on keeping my title."

Lubin has moved quickly in the pro ranks and will be facing by far his best opponent. But should Lubin win, he would become the youngest active world titleholder in boxing.

"This is a fight for the fans," Lubin said. "You have an undefeated champion against an undefeated prospect of the year. I'm very excited to be fighting for the belt and it's truly been a dream of mine ever since I first got into boxing. Come fight night, Charlo will either give it to me or I'm going to rip the belt out of his hands."

Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), 26, of Accokeek, Maryland, knocked out Tony Harrison on Feb. 25 to win a vacant world title. He also owns knockout wins against then-unbeaten Frank Galarza and Oscar Molina, as well a win against former welterweight title challenger Jo Jo Dan. He is aiming to be the first man to knock out Trout.

"I got a Trout to catch,'' Hurd said. "His losses have all been to top champions, Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo. But I'm on a streak of six straight knockouts and Trout has never been stopped, so I'm looking for the stoppage to make a statement that the other fighters couldn't make.

"This is definitely my toughest fight, and I didn't have to take it since it's a voluntary defense. But I wanted this fight to stop Austin Trout, proving to the fans and people in general I'm the real deal and a true champion."

Hurd had a mandatory due against France's Cedric Vitu (46-2, 19 KOs) but requested, and was granted, an exception in order to first face Trout.

Trout (30-3, 17 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw from Las Cruces, New Mexico, is coming off a long layoff. He has not fought since a decision loss to Jermall Charlo for a world title in May 2016. But Trout has a faced several quality opponents, including a 2012 decision win against Miguel Cotto in a world title fight.

'What a blessing it is to have this opportunity at a world title shot," Trout said. "I want to thank everyone who has been in my corner to help get me career-defining fights. It's refreshing to see young champions showing heart and testing their skill with the best in the game. With that said, salute to Hurd for allowing this fight to go through."

Author: Dan Rafael, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20508046/erislandy-lara-jermell-charlo-jarrett-hurd-defend-their-belts-oct-14-brooklyn

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