Matchroom hope to announce a new opponent for Jaron “Boots” Ennis as early as Wednesday evening.

Ennis, 26, had been on course to make the first defence of his IBF welterweight title against Cody Crowley, his mandatory challenger, on the occasion of not only his first fight since agreeing promotional terms with Matchroom, but his first fight in Philadelphia for almost six years. 

An eye injury on Tuesday forced Canada’s Crowley to withdraw from what represented the biggest fight of his career, but Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn is determined to proceed with the date at the Wells Fargo Center, and is expecting to soon be able to announce Crowley’s replacement for July 13. 

“We’re in negotiations with three opponents already,” the promoter said. “Hopefully tonight we’ll announce the replacement. 

“We’ll have to go down the IBF rankings, because that’s a mandatory defence against Crowley, so we have to go to everybody and say, ‘Do you want the fight? Are you available?’, until we get someone that accepts it. You can look at the top 15 – it’ll be someone from those rankings.

“Alexis Rocha; Giovanni Santillan; David Avanesyan; Jin Sasaki; Shakhram Giyasov; Gabriel Valenzuela. Valenzuela’s good fun; Avanesyan’s a good fight; Shakhram Giyasov’s with us but he’s mandatory for the WBA. Alexis Rocha’s a good fight. 

“With all due respect to Cody, no one had actually heard of him – but he was a good fighter. But it’s gonna be the same kind of fight, if not actually tougher. 

“It doesn’t [matter who the opponent is, given it’s a ‘homecoming’ fight], but you want a good fight. If you’re gonna have 15,000 in there, you want a good fight. What you don’t want is a mismatch. So, for me, that’s quite important.”

Confirmation of Terence Crawford and Errol Spence joining Vergil Ortiz Jr in the light-middleweight division means that Ennis has already come to be seen as the world’s finest at 147lbs.

Hearn regardless intends on building him as an attraction in his home city – one with an admirable history in boxing – despite, at the highest level, Philadelphia’s fight scene increasingly becoming the victim of neglect.

“Unbelievable,” he responded when asked about the interest there in Ennis’ next fight. “You’re just concerned. ‘Why has no one done it?’ I look at ‘Boots’ and I think he’s a top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but it’s, ‘Why has no one gone to Philadelphia with Boots Ennis before? Does he not sell? Is it a bad market?’ 

“I did a show there with Tevin Farmer and Katie Taylor, four, five years ago. We did 6,000, and it weren’t really a big show, so I’m like, ‘Let’s just do it’. We’ve done nearly 11,000 [tickets] already. I didn’t expect that. I thought we could do 6,000, 7,000, 8,000. We’re gonna do 14,000 or 15,000 [by fight night]. The Wells Fargo’s gonna be… and that’s exactly what we want when we’re pushing Ennis as a top talent.”

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