Unbeaten Liam Davies will face fellow junior featherweight Ionut Baluta on Saturday in Davies’ hometown of Telford, England (ESPN+).
LIAM DAVIES (12-0, 5 KOs) VS. IONUT BALUTA (15-3, 3 KOs)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 19
Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: Telford International Centre, Telford, England
Division: Junior featherweights (122 pounds)
At stake: No major titles
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Davies 1½-1 favorite
Also on the card: Anthony Yarde vs. Stefani Koykov, light heavyweights; Eithan James vs. Connor Parker, junior welterweights; Jamie Stewart vs. Owen Cooper, welterweights
Prediction: Davies UD
Background: The unranked Davies will take a significant step in his career if he can get past Baluta, who is the WBC’s No. 10 122-pounder. The skillful 26-year-old Englishman had an extensive amateur career, which has allowed him to progress quickly as a professional. He’s coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Marc Leach in June. Baluta, a Spain-based Romanian, opened eyes by outpointing former 122-pound titleholder TJ Doheny in a 126-pound bout in 2020. He lost a close decision to Michael Conlan at 122 in April of last year but bounced back to defeat Brad Foster by a unanimous decision this past May. The Davies-Baluta fight is for the vacant European title. Also on the card, 175-pound contender Anthony Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) of London will face journeyman Stefani Koykov of Bulgaria. If Yarde wins, he is expected to challenge titleholder Artur Beterbiev.