Anderson vs Merhy & Ajagba vs Vianello in Heavyweight Double Header

Undefeated heavyweight phenom Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson is angling for another big knockout. The fighting pride of Toledo, Ohio, steps up in class to face Belgian contender Ryad Merhy on Saturday, April 13, in the 10-round main event at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Anderson vs Merhy headlines the Heavyweight Double Header.

In the 10-round heavyweight co-feature, Nigerian puncher Efe Ajagba and Italian standout Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello will meet in a battle of 2016 Olympians.

The eight-round televised opener features three-time world title challenger Robson Conceicao, as he looks to keep his junior lightweight world title hopes alive against the upset-minded Jose Guardado.

Jared Anderson vs Ryad Merhy & Efe Ajagba vs Guido Vianello will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets go on sale Tuesday, March 5 at 10 a.m. CST via

“Jared Anderson is the most exciting young heavyweight in the world, and he’s stepping up against his toughest opponent to date. Corpus Christi is a great fight town, and I can’t wait for the fans there to have a front row seat for the future heavyweight champion,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “Efe Ajagba is one of the division’s biggest punchers, but Guido Vianello is a skilled fighter who demanded a step up in competition. If you like heavyweights, this is a can’t-miss card.”

Anderson (16-0, 15 KOs) had a banner 2023 that saw him go 3-0 with a pair of knockouts. In April, he ended the unbeaten run of George Arias, stopping the Dominican slickster in only three rounds. Less than three months later, Anderson made his triumphant Toledo homecoming and faced former world champion Charles Martin in front of more than 7,000 adoring fans. Anderson earned a clear 10-round decision over Martin and carried that momentum to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in August, where he stopped Andriy Rudenko in five rounds.

“This is going to be the start of a big year, and I can’t wait to show out in front of the fans in Corpus Christi and everyone watching on ESPN,” Anderson said. “Merhy is a solid fighter, but he has never faced a heavyweight like me. He’ll see that in person on April 13.”

Merhy (32-2, 26 KOs) is an Ivory Coast native who was raised in Belgium, where most of his pro fights have taken place. He won a secondary cruiserweight world title in 2021 and then moved up in weight to pursue heavyweight glory. Merhy saw his seven-bout winning streak end when he dropped a 12-round decision to Kevin Lerena in Lerena’s home country of South Africa. Last December, he traveled to Paris for a bout with hometown hero and Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka. He upset Yoka by split decision to breathe new life into his heavyweight campaign.

“After ending 2023 with a great performance, I am looking for another great performance, this time on American soil against the ‘future heavyweight hope,’” Merhy said. “What I like about my current position is that I have nothing to prove. I accepted this fight because I don’t see Anderson as a big danger. It’s up to him to prove himself against a small heavyweight like me. I feel no pressure. See you on April 13, Jared.”

Ajagba (19-1, 14 KOs) reignited his career following his first defeat, an October 2021 decision against Frank Sanchez. He began his 2023 campaign in January with a 10-round decision over then-unbeaten Stephan Shaw and continued that momentum with a fourth-round disqualification victory over Zhan Kossobutskiy in August. Ajagba finished the year in grand fashion with November’s fourth-round stoppage over one-time amateur nemesis Joe Goodall.

“I remember Guido from the Rio Olympics, and he is a very skilled and powerful fighter,” Ajagba said. “My goal is to become heavyweight champion, and in order for me to accomplish my dream, I have to be at my best against Guido.” 

Vianello (12-1-1, 10 KOs) suffered a stroke of bad luck on the Ajagba-Shaw undercard, losing via sixth-round TKO to Jonnie Rice due to a cut eye caused by a punch. He was leading on the cards when the fight was stopped. Vianello bounced back nine months later, shutting out veteran Curtis Harper over eight rounds. He then returned to his knockout ways in February, blasting out Moses Johnson in one round on the O’Shaquie Foster-Abraham Nova undercard in New York City.

Vianello said, “This is a big opportunity for me to fight one of the top heavyweights in the world, and I did not hesitate when it was offered. I am ready to step up to the plate, and I look forward a great fight on April 13.”

Conceição (17-2-1, 8 KOs), Brazil’s first-ever Olympic boxing gold medalist, turned pro in November 2016. He dropped decisions in world title contests to Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson, and in November 2023, he recovered from a pair of knockdowns to salvage a draw against three-weight world champion Emanuel Navarrete. Guardado (15-1-1, 5 KOs), from Ensenada, Mexico, has never fought outside of his home country and is coming off a second-round stoppage over Aramis Solis last November.

In scheduled undercard action, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+:

  • Puerto Rican junior lightweight southpaw Henry Lebron (19-0, 10 KOs), who is ranked in the top 10 by the WBO and IBF, will face Filipino contender Charly Suarez (16-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Lebron turned away unbeaten prospect William Foster III by majority decision last November to continue his climb up the rankings.
  • Corpus Christi-born welterweight prospect John Rincon (8-0, 2 KOs) looks to thrill the hometown fans in a six-rounder. Rincon fought at American Bank Center last September and tallied a six-round decision over Bryan Ismael Rodriguez Rivera.
  • One of the sport’s fastest-rising stars, lightweight prospect Abdullah Mason (12-0, 10 KOs), returns in an eight-rounder against Ronal Ron (14-5, 11 KOs). Mason, a 19-year-old southpaw prodigy from Cleveland, Ohio, obliterated Benjamin Gurment with an overhand left in the second round on the Teofimo Lopez-Jamaine Ortiz undercard in Las Vegas.
  • Featherweight contender Ruben Villa (21-1, 7 KOs) will fight Mexican veteran Cristian Cruz Chacon (22-6-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

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