Five months after winning the WBO junior lightweight title in Kissimmee, Florida, Masayuki Ito returns home to Japan to make his first title defense when he takes on the undefeated Evgeny Chuprakov on Sunday.
How to Watch Ito vs Chuprakov Online
For those in the United States looking to watch, the card starts early Sunday morning at 5 a.m. ET, and Ito vs Chuprakov is estimated to start around 6:20 a.m. ET.
The full fight card can be watched live on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new cable-free streaming service from ESPN.
You can sign up for a free seven-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the fights on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet, or streaming device via the ESPN app.
If you can’t watch live, ESPN+ will also have the fights available to be watched on-demand afterwards.
Ito vs Chuprakov Preview
Since a loss to Rikki Naito back in February of 2015, Ito has won eight consecutive bouts to push his record to 24-1-1 (12 KOs). The most recent of those victories came in July in what was his first fight outside of Japan, as he beat Christopher Diaz via unanimous decision to capture the WBO junior lightweight title.
He’s still ranked just 11th in the crowded division by BoxRec, but the 27-year-old is quickly becoming an intriguing name and a win Sunday would be another big step for him.
“He is a good fighter,” Chuprakov said about Ito. “He is a world champion, and I respect that about him.”
“Happy Gilmore”–yes, that is Chuprakov’s nickname–is undefeated at 20-0-0 with 10 knockouts. He hasn’t faced anyone with the quality of Ito–his recent wins have come against the likes of Jeremiah Nakathila, Eden Sonsona, Pablo Manuel Ojeda and Ernie Sanchez–and this will mark his first fight outside of Russia since 2013, but he has done well to get to this point, and he’s confident in his ability.
“Each professional boxer has it as a goal, and that is to fight for and win a world championship. I am very excited, but I have an important bout coming up, and the issue is not in the excitement, but to get preparation to the bout,” he said. “It seems like it has been a long time coming, but now it is here. I will say, that I have had great preparation for this bout. I will, put my mind for it. I will show a good boxing, and of course I’ll look forward to winning this fight and becoming world champion.”
In the co-main event, which will also be broadcast on ESPN+, Takuma Inoue will face Tasana Salapat for the interim WBC world bantamweight title.
Inoue, who is the younger brother of WBA world bantamweight champion and ESPN’s No. 7 pound-for-pound boxer Naoya Inoue, is 12-0-0. The 25-year-old Salapat is 48-0-0 in his professional career but he has never fought outside of Thailand.
The winner of that one will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the title fight between Rau’shee Warren and Nordine Oubaali.