- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares have both been added to the undercard of welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against Kell Brook on Aug. 16 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Wilder is the mandatory challenger for heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne, who knocked out Chris Arreola in May to win the belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko upon his retirement late last year. Stiverne-Wilder is supposed to take place before the end of the year, but with Stiverne nursing a hand injury it is unclear when the fight will take place because even if his hand is good to go in the next month or two, the camps are still likely headed to a purse bid, which means at least another 90-day wait following a bid.
Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz told ESPN.com that the Aug. 16 fight, a scheduled 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined, is simply to keep Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, active and sharp before he fights for a world title.
Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will fight an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined on the card, which also will feature lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa in a mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada and super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika in a rematch against Anthony Dirrell.
By virtue of his decision win against Nihito Arakawa on March 8, Linares is in line to be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Figueroa-Estrada bout. By having Linares fight on the card, Diaz said it will keep his schedule in line with the winner’s so that they could possibly meet before the end of the year.
Showtime is televising the three title bouts on the card, and though the network has not announced anything yet, it seems likely that the Wilder and Linares bouts would be part of the Showtime Extreme coverage of the preliminary bouts.