Errol Spence Jr rubbishes idea of tune-up fights, with April-June timeline for his next bout

Errol Spence Jr. Addresses the crowd after arriving on stage during the official weigh-in at Texas Live! on April 15, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

Although it will have been at least a year since his last bout once the three-belt welterweight champion returns, Errol Spence Jr pushed back the idea of tune-up fights and said he wouldn’t be as motivated in training as he would if the opponent was a more known quantity who posed more danger. The 32-year-old, rumoured to defend his titles against PBC stablemate Keith Thurman next, is expected to finally face WBO champion Terence Crawford sometime this year.

After failed Crawford clash, Spence dismisses tune-ups

Errol Spence Jr. Celebrates after defeating Yordenis Ugas at AT&T Stadium on April 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
Spence and his team pose in the ring after Errol’s stoppage win over Ugas last April

After clinching the WBA welterweight title from Yordenis Ugas last April, Errol Spence Jr was set to finish 2022 with a long-awaited megafight against WBO champion Terence Crawford, a matchup to finally unify the 147lb division – both have been vocal about wanting to move up.

Mooted for mid-November and with terms agreed, discussions broke down and instead Crawford signed a one-fight $10m deal with BLK Prime to face Russia’s British-baser former European champion David Avanesyan in his hometown Omaha last month.

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Crawford scored a sixth-round stoppage of Avanesyan, while Spence sustained minor injuries as he was involved in a car accident hours earlier that same evening. An underage, unlicensed driver ran a red light at speed, hitting him head-on – sustaining a leg injury after the collision.

That predictably delayed the announcement of his spring fight, and Spence has since said he expects an in-ring return to happen anywhere between April and June.

Every boxing champion, whether that be Dmitry Bivol or Tyson Fury and more besides, has mandatory title defences – facing opponents who’d be deemed a soft touch – but Spence dismissed that side of the sport when speaking to ESNews (h/t:

“I don’t believe in tune-ups, know what I’m saying? They’re not with my pedigree, fighting someone I know I’m supposed to be and I know it’s a showcase fight.

I’m still gonna train hard – but not as hard as if I’m fighting a top dude with a name. I feel like the fans deserve it too, they don’t want to see me fight a bum dude or a showcase fight – they wanna see me fight the best of the business.”

  • Spence’s quotes, lightly edited for clarity, on facing easier opposition

Elsewhere in the division, two budding unbeaten title hopefuls are set to collide this coming spring as the speculation over Crawford-Spence continues to rumble.

Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis, WBA regular champion, is set to defend his title against Vergil Ortiz Jr – the #1 contender across two sanctioning bodies for which Spence holds belts. There’s no date announced for that matchup, though it should take place around the same time.

Picture source: Getty Images

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