Undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Caleb "Sweethands" Plant (pictured) will make the first defense of his title against unbeaten Mike Lee on Fox and Fox Deportes on Saturday, July 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The free Fox coverage will precede a pay-per-view event that also takes place at MGM Grand and is headlined by Keith Thurman defending his WBA welterweight championship against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. To win the title, Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) turned the tables on the hard-hitting Venezuelan slugger Jose Uzcategui in their IBF championship fight in January. Going into the match the consensus was that Uzcategui was the harder puncher and that Plant would have to withstand his power to walk away with the belt. It was the 26-year-old Plant, however, who stunned Uzcategui by dropping him to the canvas twice on the way to a convincing unanimous decision. It was an emotional night for Plant, who is from Ashland City, Tenn. and now lives in Las Vegas. He had dedicated his career-best victory to the memory of his late daughter Alia, who suffered from a rare disorder that caused seizures.
"I'm more than ready to return to the ring on July 20th as the main event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas," said Plant. "I'll be defending my IBF world title in tremendous fashion and this is one fight you guys will not want to miss. I'm taking this fight just as seriously as my last opponent.
"This guy is undefeated and looking to stay that way, but unfortunately for him, he took on the wrong challenge against the wrong guy. Come July 20th, he'll realize he's in deeper water than he's ever been in. My last fight was for Alia, but this fight I'm dedicating to my beautiful mother Beth Ann. May you Rest in Peace, Love you Momma."
"Caleb Plant put the boxing world on notice with his exciting title-winning performance in January and will look to build on that showing against an unbeaten contender in Mike Lee on July 20th," said promoter Tom Brown. "His first defense of the title will put Plant in primetime on Fox and Fox Deportes in Las Vegas and building up to the Pacquiao vs. Thurman pay-per-view event. With two undefeated fighters going toe-to-toe in this first main event of the evening, fans are in for a memorable night of action."
The 31-year-old Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in business, but decided to pursue his boxing dreams rather than take a job on Wall Street. A native of Wheaton, Illinois who now lives in Chicago, Lee has made a steady climb up the ladder and has been campaigning at light heavyweight. He will be moving down to super middleweight to challenge for his first world championship. Lee is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over Jose Hernandez on last June 8.
"I've have dreamt of the opportunity to fight for a world title for years," said Lee. "All the years of hard work, pain and sacrifice have led me to this moment. On July 20 I will be victorious and prove everyone wrong that didn't believe I was good enough to even get here.
"When I spent almost two years in and out of hospitals battling an autoimmune disease there were moments I never thought I could get back to this level and there were doctors who told me my fighting days were done. But I have won every fight since and I plan to prove that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. I could not have done this without my Dad, my advisor Mike Borao and my trainers Jamal Abdullah and Julian Chua."