LAS VEGAS – Lion Fight Promotions, a worldwide leader in Muay Thai combat, will get its hotly anticipated 2019 schedule under way with a pair of events featuring world title bouts.
The promotion returns to Los Angeles and the famed Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, February 16th for Lion Fight 51 which will be headlined by reigning World Cruiserweight champion Chip “The Surgeon” Moraza-Pollard defending his title against challenger Juan Cervantes. The co-main event for that card has Los Angeles’ own Jordan Harris putting his North American Lightweight title on the line for the first time as he takes on Amine “The Moroccan Freak” Ballafrikh.
Lion Fight 51 will air live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET. Tickets for the event will go on sale shortly via Ticketmaster.
Then on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Lion Fight makes its second visit to Ireland and, in conjunction with partner promotion Capital 1 / Siam Warriors, hosts Lion Fight 52 on Saturday, March 16th. That event will take place at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin and feature a World Light-Heavyweight title matchup with Australia’s Toby “The Weapon” Smith clashing with Hamza “Bomaye” Ngoto of France.
Broadcast and ticket information for Lion Fight 52 is forthcoming.
“We are very excited about what is ahead for Lion Fight in 2019,” said CEO Scott Kent. “We ended last year in style with out debut on CBS Sports Network at the famous L.A. Memorial Coliseum and it’s tremendous that we can launch our new season there as well with world champion Chip Moraza-Pollard defending his belt.
“And what could be better than going back to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day weekend especially with such a massive main event in Toby Smith against Hamza Ngoto?”
Moraza-Pollard (9-0), who recently agreed to a contract extension with Lion Fight through 2020, will face Cervantes in his fifth title defense. The Plymouth, Massachusetts, product claimed the title with a five-round decision over Paul Banasiak and then followed that with victories over England’s Jordan Smith, Slava Alexeichik of New Zealand, Canadian Mark Mackinnon, and most recently, a fourth-round TKO victory over Remy Vectol of France.
But the champion is likely to get his stiffest challenge yet from Cervantes (30-8-1), who is currently ranked number-one in the United Kingdom. Cervantes, who fights out of Newcastle, England, and is represented by Thomsen & Bah Management, makes his organizational debut riding a five-fight winning streak.
The co-main event of Lion Fight 52 will see Harris (5-0) put his newly won North American Lightweight belt on the line for the first time. Residing in Palmdale, California, Harris captured the title at Lion Fight 50 when he defeated Joshua Scales by decision. Standing across from him will be Ballafrikh, whose slick style and antagonistic approach in the ring have frustrated opponents yet kept him unbeaten inside the Lion Fight ring. The native of Morocco now lives in Sterling, Virginia, and is coming off a fourth-round TKO of Nick Haines last April.
Two more main card bouts for Lion Fight 51 along with pro and amateur prelim matchups will be announced later this week.
At Lion Fight 52, the organization’s inaugural World Light-Heavyweight title bout unquestionably pits two of the very best on a collision course. Smith (51-6-2) fights out of Melbourne, Australia, and is best-known for his electrifying third-round TKO victory over living legend John Wayne Parr. It is a tough task ahead of him, though, as Ngoto (38-1) is a multi-time champion in the Muay Thai world, and comes to Lion Fight on the high of four wins in 2018, including a second-round stoppage of Thongchai Sitsongpeenong.
Additional bouts for Lion Fight 52 in Dublin will be revealed soon.