In 2014, Terence Crawford won a lightweight world title away from home before returning to Omaha, Nebraska, to defend his belt. He will be doing much of the same in 2015.
Crawford will return home to make the first defense of his junior welterweight world title against Montreal contender Dierry Jean on Oct. 24 (HBO, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT) at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, promoter Top Rank announced Thursday.
A news conference is scheduled for Monday at the CenturyLink Center. It will be streamed live beginning at 2 p.m. ET via Top Rank's website.
"I'm excited to be able to bring these types of fights to Omaha. This is what Omaha, Nebraska, has been missing for decades," Crawford told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I'm just happy to bring some excitement to the city instead of the people watching the news and hearing about all the negativity going on."
Crawford won 2014 fighter of the year honors from ESPN.com and the Boxing Writers Association of America for going to Scotland and outpointing Ricky Burns to win a 135-pound world title. He then making two defenses at the CenturyLink Center, an electrifying ninth-round knockout of then-unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa, the former unified featherweight titlist, and a near-shutout decision over mandatory challenger Raymundo Beltran.
Crawford (26-0, 18 KOs), 27, then relinquished the belt and moved up to 140 pounds. On April 18, Crawford knocked out Puerto Rico's Thomas Dulorme in the sixth round in Arlington, Texas, to win a vacant world title. He will be making his first title defense when he faces Jean (29-1, 20 KOs), 33, of a native of Haiti, who has fought his entire professional career out of his adopted hometown, Montreal.
"I just can't wait. I want this. I'm hungry," Jean said. "Crawford is the HBO darling who is supposed to be the next big thing, but I will hurt him. Mark my words. I will be crowned world champion on Oct. 24th."
Jean's only loss came by competitive decision in a junior welterweight world title bout against Lamont Peterson in 2014, in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C.
"His lone loss was in his first world title challenge, and he doesn't want to miss his chance for a world title this time," said Camille Estephan, Jean's manager. "Dierry wants to fulfill his potential, and I believe he's learned from his world title shot experience in January 2014. It's great that we have a chance at redemption, and Oct. 24 will be his moment. This fight has the makings of a great battle for the fans."
After the loss to Peterson, Jean dropped down to lightweight, where he has won four fights in a row, including a one-sided decision against Jerry Belmontes on June 20 on the David Lemieux-Hassan N'Dam undercard. But he is returning to junior welterweight for the opportunity to face Crawford.
"I'm excited about the fight," Crawford said. "A lot of people don't know who he is but I know him. He's a great, solid fighter. No walk in the park. I'm just ready. I watched [Peterson-Jean] live [on television]. I watched it as a fan, but there was always that possible chance of us fighting. On that particular day, I wasn't looking at him like I'll fight him one day but I knew that day may come.
"He put up a great fight against Peterson. He made it very exciting. He showed a lot of heart, showed a lot of skill, showed a lot of determination. You can't take anything away from the guy. I will be totally prepared for whatever Dierry Jean brings to the ring."
Said Cameron Dunkin, Crawford's co-manager with Brian McIntyre, "This is a big fight for Terence. Dierry Jean is an excellent fighter and Terence knows it. Terence is very focused and is training harder than ever anticipating a very competitive fight. Believe me, Terence will be ready."
Jean was one of several names discussed as a potential opponent for Crawford. Others were Antonio Orozco (22-0, 15 KOs), former lightweight and junior lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs), former world title challenger Mauricio Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs) and Cesar Cuenca (48-0, 2 KOs), who won a vacant world title on July 18 by decision against Ik Yang.
Orozco and Soto wound up being matched with each other and will meet Oct. 3 in an HBO televised bout. Herrera suffered a bad cut in a fifth-round technical decision win against Henry Lundy on July 11 and won't be available.
"I was willing to fight the IBF champion [Cuenca] to unify our titles," Crawford said. "You know me. I was willing to fight anybody. I got some names -- Orozco, Soto -- but they're fighting each other. Herrera came up. [My managers] brought up Cuenca. I was like, 'OK, I'm ready to face him in a unification fight.' But I let my managers do their job. Dierry Jean got the fight.
"I never predict a knockout. I only predict victory. As long as my hand is raised at the end of the fight, I'm happy with that."