Errol Spence Jr is an American professional boxer who is a unified welterweight champion, having held the IBF title since 2017 and the WBC title since 2019. As an amateur in the welterweight division, he won three consecutive United States national championships and represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics, where he reached the quarter-finals. In 2015, Spence was named Prospect of the Year by ESPN.
In 2009, Spence won the U.S. National Golden Gloves, and also won three consecutive national amateur welterweight championships from 2009 to 2011, all in the welterweight division. Spence reached the quarter-finals at the 2011 World Championships, losing to Serik Sapiyev. Spence lost in the quarter finals of the 2012 London Olympics to Andrey Zamkovoy and turned professional shortly afterwards. He ended his amateur career with a record of 135-12.
On 9 November 2012, a 22 year old Spence made his professional debut at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California in a scheduled 4 round bout against 19 year old Jonathan Garcia. Spence knocked Garcia down and out in the 3rd round. In December 2012, Spence knocked out Richard Andrews at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, which was part of undercard for Amir Khan’s comeback fight against Carlos Molina.
Rising up the ranks
Spence next fought on the undercard of Stevenson-Karpency against Chris van Heerden at the Ricoh Coliseum. The referee stopped the fight in round 8, after Spence knocked down van Heerden twice in round 7. In October 2015 it was announced that Spence would fight at The Bomb Factory in Dallas on November 28 against Mexican boxer Alejandro Barrera. Spence defeated Barrera via 5th-round TKO. This was an IBF eliminator for the number 2 spot in their welterweight contender rankings. Spence was ahead on all three judges scorecards.
Spence vs. Algieri: On 10 March 2016, it was announced that Spence would fight former light welterweight titlist Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on 16 April, his biggest fight to date. The fight was scheduled for 10 rounds. In front of a pro-Algieri 7,628 crowd, Spence became the first boxer to stop Algieri. This was Spence’s seventh straight knockout. The end came when Spence delivered a left hook to Algieri’s face.
Spence vs. Bundu: On 16 May 2016, Spence denied that his team turned down a fight against Brook, which had been previously insinuated by Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter. Spence said that the IBF had ordered him to fight their 3 contender Konstantin Ponomarev in order to become the mandatory challenger to Brook. Although there were no agreements to fight, on June 9, Ponomarev injured his hand, forcing him out of the eliminator.
IBF welterweight champion
Spence vs. Brook: In January 2017, IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook and his team were in talks with Amir Khan over a potential fight, whilst also keeping the mandatory fight with Spence as second choice. During negotiations, Khan urged Brook to fight Spence first and eventually talks broke down between Brook and Khan. Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned talks were already ongoing with Spence’s manager Al Haymon for a fight to take place possibly in the UK in May. Hearn received an extension from the IBF for negotiations between himself and TGB Promotions boss Tom Brown, as they were progressing.
Spence vs. Peterson: On 3 October 2017, Lamont Peterson vacated his WBA title in hopes of challenging Spence for the latter’s IBF title. Dan Rafael revealed that Spence was promised a $3.5 million purse from his manager Al Haymon for his next fight. On October 13, it was reported that terms would be finalised within a week. The fight was tentatively scheduled for Spence’s 28th birthday, 13 January 2018 against Peterson. The event would be aired on Showtime. Peterson last saw action when he dethroned David Avanesyan in February 2017.
Spence vs. Ocampo: On January 23, 2018 the IBF sent a letter to TGB Promotions ordering Spence to make a mandatory defence against unbeaten prospect Carlos Ocampo next. Zanfer Promotions, who promote Ocampo were also notified and were given until February 22 to reach a deal before purse bids take place. Because Ocampo was not rated in the top 2 in the IBF rankings at the time, at purse bids, he would be entitled to 15% rather than the 25% that a mandatory challenger receives. On January 24, Showtime announced that Spence would next fight on June 16 in Dallas, Texas.