Ra’eese Aleem will be part of Showtime’s June 18 undercard | Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Ra’eese Aleem will face Mike Plania, and Frank Martin will take on Ricardo Nunez on the tripleheader broadcast.
The Jermall Charlo vs Maciej Sulecki event on June 18 in Houston now has a two-fight undercard set for the Showtime broadcast, featuring bouts at 122 and 135 lbs.
In the main event, of course, Charlo (32-0, 22 KO) will defend his WBC middleweight title against Sulecki (30-2, 11 KO) in the sort of matchup that once again — as with Brandon Adams, Dennis Hogan, and Juan Macias Montiel — doesn’t have the wider audience very excited about a Charlo title defense.
One of the undercard fights will see 122 lb contender Ra’eese Aleem (19-0, 12 KO) take on Mike Plania (26-1, 13 KO). Aleem, 31, may have something of a small window due to his age, but he’s also with the right team promotionally to work his way into a title fight, possibly against the Stephen Fulton Jr vs Danny Roman winner after their June 4 bout, also on Showtime. Last year, he scored wins over Vic Pasillas in January and Eduardo Baez in November, two solid victories.
Plania, 25, is finally getting a proper chance to follow up on his minor upset of Joshua Greer Jr in the Top Rank “bubble” in June 2020. He’s fought twice since then, but against marginal opposition on small cards in the Philippines and Florida.
“The time is now to take that next step in my career toward a world title shot and I know that a win against a tough opponent like Mike Plania will put me in that position,” said Aleem. “I’ve been waiting patiently for my opportunity to show everyone why I’m the best super bantamweight in the world. I’m grateful to my team for believing in me and my ability to bring excitement on the big stage. I’m never in a boring fight and you will see the best of me come June 18. I’m going to let my hands fly and do the talking.”
“Ever since I beat Joshua Greer to put myself in the world rankings, I have been looking for an opportunity to fight the best at 122 lbs to secure a world title shot,” said Plania. “June 18 is that time and by beating Ra’eese Aleem, I will show everyone I deserve to fight for the title. I want to thank my whole team for putting me in this position and I can’t wait to get in there and show what I’m capable of.”
The lightweight bout will pit Frank Martin (15-0, 11 KO) against Ricardo Nunez (23-3, 21 KO). Martin, 27, is a Detroit-born southpaw who beat Jerry Perez, Ryan Kielczewski, and Romero Duno in 2021. The 28-year-old Nunez, from Panama, may be best-known for a TKO-2 loss to Gervonta Davis in a 130 lb title fight in 2019. He’s fought twice since, both in 2019, both wins at home in Panama City over Alfredo Santiago and Richard Solano. He’s never won outside of Panama, but he also has only ever fought Tank Davis outside of Panama.
“I’ve been training hard in Dallas and I’m just excited and ready to go,” said Martin. “Nunez is a boxer-puncher, so I expect him to mix it up with some fast combinations and to try and throw my movement off, but I’ll be ready for all of that. Fight fans are going to enjoy an action fight with this one. We’ve got the speed, power and athleticism to put on an exciting show.”
“I’m very happy to be back in a big fight,” said Nunez. “You’re going to see a whole new fighter against Martin. I’m coming to fight and impose my style on my opponent. Martin is a good boxer who’s made it to a high level, but he still has to show what he’s made of. I’m going to give 100 percent to stop his rise and be the first person to beat him.”
Both look like solid matchups on paper, and do add a bit of flavor to the bill.