International Championship Boxing Match Caps Stretch of Successful Events Organized by State Athletic Commission

Harrisburg, PA – This coming weekend, the Department of State’s State Athletic Commission (SAC) will host an international championship boxing match featuring a Pennsylvania native and championship boxer defending his title in his hometown – the latest in a series of successful major events hosted by SAC.

Philadelphia’s Jaron “Boots” Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs), the current International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight world champion, is scheduled to face challenger David Avaneysan (30-4-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday, July 13, in the nightcap of an eight-fight event at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center.

Ennis’ first defense of his title is arguably the biggest boxing match Pennsylvania has hosted, noted Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt and SAC Executive Director Ed Kunkle. And it continues a recent trend of high-profile events regulated by SAC, which regulates professional boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling in the Commonwealth.

“As a longtime boxing fan, I’m excited by this bout featuring Mr. Ennis. I’m grateful to the SAC team for its ongoing hard work to help organize and oversee events like the July 13 fight night and WrestleMania XL back in April, as well as welcoming the Team Combat League to Pennsylvania this year,” Schmidt said.

“I’ve known Ennis since he was about 4 years old, and it’s been a joy watching him develop into not only a great fighter but also a great person,” Kunkle said. “To have him fight in his hometown in his first title defense is a dream come true. I’m so proud of our SAC team for helping to coordinate this and all the other events this year.”

Kunkle noted that the Ennis-Avaneysan match is just one of several championship bouts on the July 13 card. Other title bouts include:

  • the female World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight world championship between Australian Olympian and belt holder Skye Nicolson (10-0, 1 KO) and Dyana Vargas (18-1, 12 KOs), 

  • the World Boxing Association (WBA) Continental North America welterweight title fight between Jalil Hacket (8-0, 7 KOs) and Peter Dobson (16-1, 9 KOs),

  • the United States’ WBC light-heavyweight title fight between Khalil Coe (8-0-1, 6 KOs) and Manuel Gallegos (20-2-1, 17 KOs), and

  • the WBA Continental Latin America super featherweight title fight between Henry Lebron (19-0, 10 KOs) and Christopher Diaz (28-4, 18 KOs).

SAC is responsible for licensing and medical clearances for participating fighters, licensing corner persons, as well as assigning referees, inspectors, judges, timekeepers and doctors. SAC also sanctions amateur boxing, kickboxing/Muay-Tai, and professional wrestling in Pennsylvania.

The Ennis-Avaneysan bout comes on the heels of a wildly successful WrestleMania XL held in early April, also in Philadelphia. WWE’s first WrestleMania in Pennsylvania since 1999 generated nearly $2.1 million in gross receipts tax for the Department of State, as well as countless millions toward the local economy. The WWE also hosted events this year in Pittsburgh, Erie, Hershey, and Wilkes-Barre.

The Team Combat League, in its second year of existence and first year in Pennsylvania, is the nation’s first and only boxing league with a team-based ownership model. The Commonwealth’s team, the Philadelphia Smoke, has hosted several bouts at 2300 Arena already this year, one of which featured the first ever three-minute round of women’s boxing in Pennsylvania when the Smoke’s Jaclyne McTamney, a Bucks County native, defeated Rosalinda Rodriguez of the Miami Stealth.

“In recent months, the Shapiro Administration has rightly put a lot of focus on  Pennsylvania’s tourism and travel opportunities,” Schmidt said. “Chances to attend sporting events like those regulated and sanctioned by SAC are also a huge boon to the economy and help boost our Commonwealth’s profile.”

Kunkle said more events are being organized in Pennsylvania and noted that SAC is seeking to hire more fight inspectors throughout the state.

Media Contacts

Matt Heckel

Press Secretary
Department of State Media