Buffalo's Lionell Thompson will make his televised boxing debut Friday night in a co-feature bout during NBC Sports Network's Fight Night card from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., against Sergey Kovalev. The telecast begins at 9 p.m. The main event on the card features Gabriel Rosado vs. Charles Whittaker with the winner earning the right to fight IBF middleweight champion Cornelius Bundrage.
This is Thompson's first fight since May 19, when he suffered his first career loss via split decision in 10 rounds to Nicholson Poulard for the vacant North American Boxing Association light heavyweight championship. The scores of that fight in Poulard's home province of Quebec were 97-93, 93-97, 96-94.
The unbeaten Kovalev (18-0-1) will be the highest ranked boxer, at No. 35 in the world, Thompson (12-1) will have faced in his career. However, the five-time Golden Gloves champion Thompson, ranked No. 72 according to BoxRec.com, did fight against world-class talents as an amateur.