After shuffling a couple of fights and securing opponents, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn arrived in Chicago and unveiled on Wednesday the lineup of fights for the first of his United States-based cards on the DAZN streaming service.
He had previously announced the Oct. 6 card, dubbed "Worlds Collide," would take place at the new Wintrust Arena at DePaul University and that fighters such as former two-division world titleholder Jessie Vargas and heavyweight contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller would appear. But at the kickoff news conference to promote the card, Hearn announced their opponents and other bouts for the show. Vargas will headline in a 12-round welterweight fight against Thomas Dulorme.
"It's always great flying eight hours and you turn up and you see this state of the art, brand new arena, with some wonderful people working on this project that I know are going to make a huge effort for this event," Hearn said at the news conference. "This is a huge event and the first of our 16 fights across the year on DAZN. We are delighted to be in Chicago, a great fight city that we hope to really invigorate on Oct. 6 in front of a huge crowd."
In May, England's Hearn and the Perform Group announced an eight-year, $1 billion deal (two years guaranteed) under which Hearn would promote 16 cards annually in the U.S. to be streamed on DAZN. The $9.99-per-month all-sports streaming service is available in several countries but will launch in September in the United States with a major focus on combat sports thanks to deals with Matchroom for boxing and Bellator for MMA.
Over the past few months, Hearn has signed several fighters to promotional or co-promotional deals to fill out the cards. One of them was Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Las Vegas, a former junior welterweight and welterweight world titleholder coming off an entertaining draw with Adrien Broner in April.
"I look forward to giving you great fights through DAZN. That's the plan that we have," Vargas said. "We have a great platform and we're going to give you all excitement and all entertainment. I promise you that I will bring fireworks and I will bring entertainment. I am en route to becoming a world champion once again. Thomas Dulorme is a contender that always comes to give a showdown. He never lets you down. He always brings you action, and when the name came up I said, 'Sure let's do it.' It doesn't matter to me. Whoever you want to put in front of me, I'm ready."
Dulorme, a former junior welterweight world title challenger, hasn't fought since losing a 10-round decision to Yordenis Ugas last August on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor card. Dulorme (24-3, 16 KOs), 28, of Puerto Rico, recently parted ways with Mayweather Promotions.
"This is a great fight. It's Mexico versus Puerto Rico again," Dulorme said.
Miller, a heavyweight contender in line for a possible spring shot at Hearn-promoted unified titlist Anthony Joshua, was ticketed for the card from the start, but his opponent was announced Wednesday -- long-faded contender Tomasz Adamek, a former cruiserweight and light heavyweight titlist, in what most view as a mismatch.
The 41-year-old Adamek (53-5, 31 KOs) is a Polish boxing legend but has not been relevant since about 2013. Hearn signed him for the fight because Adamek probably can still sell tickets in Chicago, where there is a large Polish community and where Adamek won his light heavyweight title in 2005.
But the 6-foot-1, 223-pound Adamek will be a heavy underdog against the 6-4, 300-pound Miller (21-01, 18 KOs), 30, of Brooklyn, New York.
"I want to say good luck to my opponent Jarrell Miller," Adamek said. "I respect him. He is a good boy, a young boy. I am older and smarter. We will see who is better on Oct. 6."
Then Miller strolled to the microphone and had everyone laughing within seconds with his opening remark.
"First, a shoutout to Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing and calzone. I mean DAZN. I'm thinking about pizza right now. My bad," Miller said. "Adamek made me kind of hungry when he called me a boy."
Then Miller got a tad more serious.
"He is a legend, but when you fight a young stud like me, sometimes parents get their butt whipped," Miller said. "This is gonna be one of them fights where the young man is going to take it to pops. Adamek stepped up in the blink of an eye to take this fight, and I take my hat off to him, but bring the ambulance because it's gonna be an early night. I'm not going to spend an extra round in that ring.
"[Joshua] might be the best in England, but he ain't the best in the world. That's how I see it. When it comes to America it's me and Alabama barbeque sauce Deontay [Wilder]. Sooner or later I'm gonna cook everyone. First, it's gonna be this guy. If you don't know 'Big Baby' you soon will. Hard work, dedication, cheeseburgers, let's get it."
The card will also include the previously announced fight between light heavyweight world titleholder Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs), 33, a Russian native fighting out of Montreal, and mandatory challenger Callum Johnson (17-0, 12 KOs), 32, of England. Beterbiev will be making his first defense.
"I've dreamt of this moment since I was a little boy," Johnson said. "My last fight [a first-round knockout of Frank Buglioni in March] was a good win and it got me in the world rankings with the IBF and as [trainer] Joe [Gallagher] and Eddie said, nobody was taking this fight. Nobody wanted to know. You only had to ask me once and I'm here. I'm coming to win the fight and I look forward to it."
In another world title fight on the card, Los Angeles' Danny Roman (25-2-1, 9 KOs), 28, will defend his junior featherweight belt against Gavin McDonnell (20-1-2, 5 KOs), 32, of England, in a fight Hearn initially announced for an Oct. 20 card in L.A. However, it was shifted to Oct. 6 when Hearn pulled newly signed middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade off the card after he was able to make a deal for Andrade's mandatory title shot against titlist Billy Joe Saunders, which will now headline the Oct. 20 show, probably in Boston.
"Come Oct. 6 I will be making the third defense of my world title and it won't be my last one," Roman said. "I wish my best to Gavin and it will be a great fight and a great night."