Oscar Valdez: “It’s Going To Be a Toe-To-Toe Battle”

Mar 9, 2018

Oscar Valdez: “It’s Going To Be a Toe-To-Toe Battle”

Valdez will defend his WBO Featherweight title against Scott Quigg
THIS SATURDAY, March 10, at the StubHub Center in Carson, California
Live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and the ESPN App

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)

LOS ANGELES (March 8, 2018)Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg have sparred as pros, but come Saturday night, they will fight for the highest stakes in the sport.

Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) will make the fourth defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight title against Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship event will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.

The other ESPN-televised bout will feature a pair of undefeated 130-pound contenders, when Andy ‘El Tiburon’ Vences of San Jose, Calif., takes on Detroit product Erick De Leon. Vences (20-0, 12 KOs) is making his 2018 debut after a 3-0 2017 campaign, which included a two-round knockout against Jairo Ochoa on November 11, 2017, in Fresno, Calif.

De Leon (17-0, 10 KOs) has an unblemished mark as a pro after a sensational amateur career that saw him win three consecutive National Golden Gloves titles. Part of renowned trainer Robert Garcia’s stable in Oxnard, Calif., De Leon is confident that a win over Vences will put him in prime position for a world title shot.

The rest of the undercard will be shown live on the ESPN App, beginning at 7:35 p.m. EST, and includes WBO No. 3 junior welterweight contender Alex ‘El Cholo’ Saucedo (26-0, 16 KOs); 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs); Arnold Barboza, Jr. against Mike ‘Yes Indeed’ Reed in a battle of 140-pound contenders; middleweight contender Esquiva Falcao; and former heavyweight title challenger Andy ‘Destroyer’ Ruiz making his ring return following a 15-month layoff.

Check out what Valdez and Quigg had to say:

Oscar Valdez

We’re looking for the bigger names and, here we go, we have one in front of us. I have to take it more than seriously. I’ve heard this plenty of times: If you want to be considered the best, you have to fight the best. And I do see Scott Quigg as one of the best fighters out there. Definitely, I am very excited for this fight.”

On sparring Quigg in 2017: “I was really focused on my fight with MiguelMarriaga. The sparring session was just a sparring session for me. We did some great work. I’ve been telling everybody if the fight is as good as the sparring session, they can expect fireworks because Scott Quigg is a great fighter. He proved it in that sparring session.”

“Me and my trainer, Manny Robles, did a tremendous job in the gym going back and forth on the mistakes we made, the good and bad, and we worked on it in the gym. We’re going to prove it on Saturday night.”

“Scott Quigg is a good fighter, and the Genesis Servania fight is in the past already. We’re trying to correct our mistakes, and we’re going to show it on Saturday night.”

Scott Quigg

“First of all, I want to thank Top Rank and Matchroom for this opportunity. Live on ESPN, this is a great opportunity. I’m going to be booed into the ring, but I plan on being cheered out.”

“This is a bigger fight. Oscar is billed as the next featherweight star. He’s not put a foot wrong thus far. He’s 23-0 with 19 knockouts. When {promoter} Eddie Hearn got on the phone with me and said the fight was offered, I told him this is a fight that excites me. Respect to Oscar, respect to his team, his trainer {Manny Roble}, they’re good people. They want to be the best, so you’ve got to fight the best.”

“I take my hat off to Valdez. This is a voluntary defense. They didn’t have to pick me. He could’ve chosen an easier defense. Credit to Team Valdez, but I’m going to make sure on Saturday night that they regret picking me.”

On sparring Valdez in 2017: “At the time, we never knew if we were going to cross paths. There was always potential for that. I was preparing for Viorel Simion and he was preparing for the {Miguel}Marriaga fight. We helped each other out and got some good work in. All I know from the spar is, the fans are going to be in for a real treat.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing, remaining tickets for the Valdez vs. Quigg world championship event are priced at $206, $104, $53 and 27.50, including facility fees, and can be purchased online at AXS.com, by phone at (888) 9AXS-TIX, or by visiting the StubHub Center box office.

For more information visit: www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing,facebook.com/espndeportes; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing,twitter.com/trboxeo, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo @ESPNDeportes. Use the hashtags  #ValdezQuigg and #DeLeonVences to join the conversation on Twitter.

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Erick De Leon, Andy Vences, Alex Saucedo, Mikaela Mayer & Andy Ruiz

Mar 8, 2018

Media Day Recap: Erick De Leon, Andy Vences, Alex Saucedo, Mikaela Mayer & Andy Ruiz

(Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank)
LOS ANGELES (March 7, 2018) ERICK DE LEON and ANDY ‘El Tiburon’ VENCES are putting their undefeated records on the line when they face off in an intriguing 130-pound battle, this Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. It will be the ESPN-televised co-feature for the Oscar Valdez vs. Scott Quigg World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight world title fight.

Vences and De Leon worked out for the media, Wednesday at Wild Card West Boxing Club, and discussed their upcoming bout.

Also appearing at the media workout were No. 3 WBO junior welterweight contender ALEX ‘El Cholo’ SAUCEDO (26-0, 16 KOs), former heavyweight title challenger ANDY RUIZ; 2016 U.S. Olympian MIKAELA MAYER; 2012 Brazilian Olympic silver medalist and middleweight contender ESQUIVA FALCAO (19-0, 13 KOs); and 140-pound contender ARNOLD BARBOZA, JR. (17-0, 6 KOs).

Saucedo will put his unblemished record on the line against the hard-hitting ABNER LOPEZ (25-8, 21 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Saucedo, from Oklahoma City, holds the WBO Latino belt and trains with Abel Sanchez’s stable in the mountains of Big Bear, Calif. He last fought on November 11, 2017, dropping Gustavo Vittori three times in the third round to force the stoppage.

Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs), will take on the rugged MARIA SEMERTZOGLOU (7-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round super lightweight bout. Mayer represented the United States at the 2016 Olympics, where she fell just one win short of advancing to the medal round. A Los Angeles native, Mayer will be making her StubHub Center debut against Semertzoglou, a two-time European title challenger who has never been knocked out.

Ruiz (29-1, 19 KOs), of Mexicali, Mexico, makes his ring return after a 15-month absence against DEVIN VARGAS (20-4, 8 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio. Ruiz last fought on December 10, 2016, when he lost a majority decision to Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO Heavyweight title.

Falcao (19-0, 13 KOs) will face SALIM LARBI (18-8-1, 5 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York.

And, in a 10-round crossroads battle of 140-pound contenders, Barboza Jr. will fight MIKE ‘Yes Indeed’ REED (23-1, 12 KOs).

The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight, along with Vences vs. De Leon, will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and streaming live on the ESPN App. Additional undercard bouts will be shown on the ESPN App beginning at 7:35 p.m. EST.

Check out what the fighters had to say:

• Erick De Leon

Andy is the one that has started all of this bad blood. We’re both very hungry. We’re going in there to win. My team and I are focused, and I’m ready to come out with a good performance on March 10.”

“It’s a very exciting and interesting fight, and the fans are going to love it.”

• Andy Vences

I’m just ready to go, and I know that I’m going to take care of business on March 10. We’re getting close to a title shot, and Erick is the one standing in my way.”

“I feel like he’s never stepped in there with somebody like me. I feel like people are doubting my power and speed, and Erick is going to see what I’m all about.”

• Alex Saucedo

On a potential Jose Ramirez fight: “If he has a title, that’s somebody we want to go after. We did a couple rounds {of sparring} with him. I was hitting him all over. It was easy work. That’s how the fight would go, too.”

“I’m a fighter. I’m going to fight whoever they put in front of me. You’ve seen what I’ve done to the last guys I’ve fought, so I’m going to keep doing that. We don’t know if Ramirez is going to win this fight {March 17 against Amir Imam the vacant WBC Super Lightweight title}.”

“I don’t think Ramirez has that much power. I think Mike Reed just gave out against him. I didn’t feel no power at all when we sparred.”

“I’ve been working so hard. It’s just a matter of time until we get those big names.”

• Mikaela Mayer

“I’m always learning as a fighter. I still feel like I haven’t reached my potential. Coming from the amateurs to the pros, it’s a very different style — and I’m aware of that — so we’ve been focused on making that transition. I still have room to grow in terms of sitting down on my punches and getting the power shots in.”

On being billed as boxing’s next female star: “It’s not really pressure for me. I asked for this. I wanted more attention on women’s boxing, and I want to help try and pave the way for that. I thought going to the Olympics was my destiny and my calling, and maybe that was my stepping stone to get here, where I have a real platform.”

“I’m completely focused on my training, and I know a title shot will happen at the right time. This is my first six-rounder. I plan on having one more, do one or two eight-rounders and then maybe have a 10-rounder, a title shot.”

“There are a handful of women now who are making a name for themselves in the pros. I think that’s great. I know that Katie Taylor and I would be a great fight for women’s boxing.”

• Andy Ruiz

“Since my last fight, I’ve put together a new team. It has been a blessing to have two months training hard. This is a new beginning for me with this new team.”

On the Joseph Parker fight: “It was a good performance. The decision could’ve gone either way in my eyes.  Right now, it’s about training and taking it to the next level.”

• Esquiva Falcao

This is a very important year for my career, and I think this year I’m going to be fighting for a title.”

“I train hard for every opponent because I have to get through every opponent to earn the shot at the title.”

• Arnold Barboza, Jr.

“We looked at the Mike Reed fights where he looked his best, and we are ready for the best version of Mike Reed. I’m going to put the pressure on his and just stick to the game plan.”

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to show what I’m all about.”

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing, remaining tickets for the Valdez vs. Quigg world championship event are priced at $206, $104, $53 and 27.50, including facility fees, and can be purchased online at AXS.com, by phone at (888) 9AXS-TIX, or by visiting the StubHub Center box office.

For more information visit: www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing,facebook.com/espndeportes; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing,twitter.com/trboxeo, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo @ESPNDeportes. Use the hashtags  #ValdezQuigg and #DeLeonVences to join the conversation on Twitter.

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Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs) Looking to Shine This Friday in Hometown of San Antonio, TX

Mar 7, 2018
  Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs) Looking to Shine This Friday in Hometown of San Antonio, TX
SAN ANTONIO, TX (March 7, 2018) – This Friday, March 9, 2018, TMB & PRB Entertainment, sponsored by Mikey Garcia Promotions, present “Friday Night Fights”, live professional boxing from the Mi Mercado Event Center in San Antonio, TX.
The card will showcase ten fights headlined by local favorite and Robert Garcia Boxing Academy fighter Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (4-0, 2 KOs), taking on Jose “El Cuate” Casiano.  The 4-round main event will take place in the featherweight division. The co-main event will showcase junior bantamweight Angel Alejandro (1-0 1KO) vs. Jose Elizondo in a 4-round bout.
“This is a big weekend for boxing fans in San Antonio and it starts on Friday as I’m looking to put on a great show for my hometown fans,” said Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, who makes his second appearance in San Antonio. “All the hard work is done and now its time to give my people their money’s worth with a great performance.  I’m going all out for as long as it last and my hand will be raised when its all said and done.”
“Bam is a true talent in the sport of boxing and fighters like him don’t come along that often,” said Robert Garcia, Rodriguez’s trainer.  “It’s always great to see him be afforded great oppurtunies, like a main event in his hometown.  It is also exciting working with great partners like TMB and PRB Entertainment.  Mikey [Garcia] and I are interested in bringing great fights together with Rick Morones and Greg Hannely of Prince Ranch Boxing.”
“Robert and Mikey Garcia are well respected in the boxing world and great people to interact with,” said Rick Morones.  “It’s a great pleasure to put on a world-class show in San Antonio, Texas with them.  The fans are going to see a great night of boxing this Friday.”
Undercard 4-Round Bouts:
(Lightweight) Frank “Bloodhound” Brown (2-1-1, 1 KO) vs. Joe Zambrano (5-5 1KO), (Junior welterweight) Wesley Diana (2-0 2 KOs) vs. Ousmane Sylla (2-1), (Super middleweight) Patrick Clarke (pro debut) vs. Taylor Ray Saucedo (1-3), (Heavyweight) Tyrrel “Too Real” Herndon (7-2 4 KOs) vs. Brandon Glanton (4-0, 4KOs), (Middleweight) Steven Ramos (1-0 1KO) vs. Jacob Landin (0-1), (Junior bantamweight) Aaron Morales (pro debut) vs. Jorge De Leon (0-1), (Featherweight) Ben Guerrero (0-1) vs. Vincente Loredo (pro debut) and (Middleweight) Eddie Hunter Ortiz (5-0-2, 2 KOs) vs. TBA
Multiple division world champion Mikey Garcia, former world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 3-time world champion Abner Mares, and world title contender Josesito Lopez, will all be special guests at the event.
Weigh-ins will be held on Thursday at 3:00 P.M. at the “Burger Fi” located at 9630 Huebner Rd. San Antonio, TX, 78240. Media arrival at 2:30 P.M.
Ringside tickets priced at $100, and general admission $30, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (210) 449-5599 or (210) 322-9974. The Mi Mercardo Event Center is located at 227 New Laredo Hwy, San Antonio, TX. Doors open at 6:30 PM, first bell at 8:00 PM.
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Mar 7, 2018
¡Boletos están a la venta!
          LOS ÁNGELES, California 7 de marzo de 2018 – Julio Cesar Chávez Sr., uno de los mejores púgiles de México y séxtuple campeón mundial en tres categorías, será el invitado especial VIP de la función estelarizada por el duelo entre Ryan “Kingry” García (13-0, 12 nocáuts), el proclamado prospecto del año de 2017 y orgullo de Victorville, California, y el aguerrido púgil mexicano Fernando Vargas (32-15-3, 24 nocáuts) por el centro juvenil superpluma NABF y el vacante cinto superpluma NABA USA en la edición del 22 de marzo de Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN desde el Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. García, quien también tiene el apodo “The Flash,” ha terminado 92% de sus combates por la vía del cloroformo.
           La transmisión de ESPN y ESPN Deportes comenzará a las 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN 3 transmitirá las peleas empezando a las 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Las puertas del Fantasy Springs Special Events Center se abren a las 4:15 p.m. PT, y el primer combate comienza a las 4:30 pm PT.
Chávez Sr., durante una legendaria trayectoria, capturó títulos mundiales en tres divisiones, y mantiene los records de más defensas de títulos mundiales (27), más victorias en combates de campeonato mundial (31), y más peleas de campeonato mundial (37). Chávez Sr., miembro del salón de la fama, también estableció el segundo record de más defensas de título mundial por la vía del nocaut, y mantuvo la calidad de invicto más larga en la histórica del boxeo por 13 años. Chávez Sr. estará presente para los combates y también estará disponible para saludar a los aficionados, firmar autógrafos, y tomarse fotos en el Fantasy Springs Special Events Center antes del inicio de Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. El evento especial de saludar y conocer estará abierto al público con la compra de un boleto para el evento del 31 de marzo.
Dos fuertes contendientes chocarán buscando una oportunidad de ascender en la división de las 147 libras cuando KeAndre “The Truth” Gibson (18-1-1, 7 nocáuts) de San Luis, Missouri se mida ante Eddie “EBoy” Gómez (20-3, 11 nocáuts) del Bronx, Nueva York, pero de raíces hondureñas, en el choque co estelar a 10 asaltos.
Joet González (18-0, 10 nocáuts), el nativo de Glendora, California quien se transformó en un verdadero contendiente en el año 2017, tendrá acción contra Rolando Magbanua (26-6, 18 nocáuts) de Cotabato, Filipinas en una batalla a 10 episodios en las 126 libras. 
Raúl “El Cugar” Curiel (2-0, 1 nocáut), el prospecto de peso welter quien represento a México en los Juegos Olímpicos de 2016, regresará en el pleito comodín a seis giros contra Quantavious Green (1-1, 1 nocaut) de Shreveport, Lousiana. 
Jonathan “Thunder” Navarro (12-0, 6 nocáuts) del Este de Los Ángeles, California, participará en un duelo a seis asaltos en peso superligero ante un oponente que se anunciará en breve. Emilio Sánchez (16-0, 11 nocáuts) de Pacoima, California abrirá la emocionante velada en un choque a ocho asaltos en peso supergallo ante Eugene Lagos (12-5-2, 7 nocáuts)
García vs. Vargas es una batalla a 10 asaltos por el cetro juvenil superpluma NABF y el vacante título superpluma NABA USA presentado por Golden Boy Promotion. El evento es patrocinado por Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” y Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” El evento se efectuará el jueves 22 de marzo de 2018 en el Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. La transmisión de ESPN y ESPN Deportes comenzará a las 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. ESPN 3 transmitirá las peleas empezando a las 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Las puertas del Fantasy Springs Special Events Center se abren a las 4:15 p.m. PT, y el primer combate comienza a las 4:30 pm PT.
Los boletos para el evento están a la venta comenzando desde $25 dólares en la taquilla de Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Para comprarlos por teléfono llamar a 1-800-827-2946. Los boletos también están disponibles para su compra en


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Mar 7, 2018



Las Vegas – UFC® returns to Atlantic City, N.J. with an action-packed card, headlined by a thrilling lightweight contenders’ bout between No.4-ranked Edson Barboza and No.7 Kevin Lee. UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BARBOZA vs. LEE takes place Saturday, April 21 from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall and will air live on FS1. The event comes as a result of a partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA).

A dangerous Muay Thai striker, Barboza (19-5, fighting out of Toms River, N.J. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) aims to continue his ascent up the 155-pound rankings. Known for his spectacular knockouts, Barboza holds impressive victories over Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis and Beneil Dariush. His stunning spinning heel kick KO win against Terry Etim has remained a fixture in UFC highlight reels. Barboza now looks to return to the win column following a gutsy loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in December.

Standing in his way is Lee (16-4, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.), who is gunning for another opportunity at UFC gold. During his run, ‘The Motown Phenom’ has picked up sensational victories over Michael Chiesa, Francisco Trinaldo and Jake Matthews. As charismatic outside the Octagon® as he is skilled inside it, Lee came close to capturing the interim lightweight championship last October. He now plans to use Barboza as a stepping stone back into the title mix.

will also feature a clash between talented wrestlers and light heavyweight contenders, as New Jersey resident and No.9-ranked Corey Anderson looks to blow the roof off Boardwalk Hall when he meets No.10 Patrick Cummins.

A NCAA Division III wrestler with heavy ground-and-pound, Anderson (10-4, fighting out of Robbinsville, N.J.) looks to kick off 2018 with a dominant victory. Over the course of his UFC stint, he’s delivered impressive wins against Sean O’Connell, Fabio Maldonado and Jan Błachowicz. Anderson now aims to get back on track and resume his run up the 205-pound rankings.

Following a strong 2017, Cummins (10-4, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) is gunning for his third consecutive win. The NCAA Division I wrestler has bested Gian Villante, Jan Błachowicz and Rafael Cavalcante during his UFC tenure. Cummins is now poised to build on his momentum and make a dash towards the light heavyweight title picture.
Additional bouts on the card include:

  • No.8-ranked middleweight contender David Branch (21-4, fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y.) takes on No.11 Thiago Santos (17-5, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Gritty grappler Ryan LaFlare (13-2, fighting out of Farmingdale, N.Y.) meets power puncher Alex Garcia (15-4, fighting out of Montreal, Canada by way of Santiago, Dominican Republic)
  • No.8-ranked bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling (14-3, fighting out of Uniondale, N.Y.) returns against unbeaten No.14 Brett Johns (15-0, fighting out of Swansea, Wales)
  • New Jersey native and submission ace Jim Miller (28-11 1NC, fighting out of Sparta, N.J.) locks horns with surging Dan Hooker (16-7, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Magomed Bibulatov (14-1, fighting out of Grozny, Russia) takes on Ulka Sasaki (20-5-2, fighting out of Shizuoka, Japan)
  • Siyar Bahadurzada (23-6-1, fighting out of Amsterdam, Netherlands) goes for another big finish when he meets Luan Chagas (15-2-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil)
  • Tony Martin (12-4, fighting out of Boston, Mass.) moves up to welterweight to face tough grappler Keita Nakamura (33-8-2 1NC, fighting out of Tokyo, Japan)
  • In his sophomore UFC outing, Merab Dvalishvili (7-3, fighting out of Long Island, N.Y. by way of Tbilisi, Georgia) squares off with Augusto Mendes (6-2, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • No.10-ranked women’s bantamweight contender Leslie Smith (10-7-1, fighting out of Pleasant Hill, Calif.) looks for her third straight win against No.11 and undefeated Aspen Ladd (6-0, fighting out of El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
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Felix ‘El Diamante’ Verdejo Headlines March 17 Undercard at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden

Mar 7, 2018

The Return of El Diamante: Felix Verdejo Headlines March 17 Undercard at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden 

ALSO On the Card:
Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam for the WBC Super Lightweight World Title

The Return of Jose Pedraza

Irish Olympic Hero, Michael Conlan

Live on ESPN and the ESPN App

NEW YORK (March 6, 2018) — After more than 13 months away from the ring, FELIX ‘El Diamante’ VERDEJO makes his long-awaited return on March 17 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, will face Antonio Lozada, Jr. in a 10-round lightweight special attraction on the undercard of the St. Patrick’s Day world title extravaganza featuring Irish sensation MICHAEL CONLAN and the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Lightweight championship bout between JOSE RAMIREZ and AMIR ‘Young Master’ IMAM.

The undercard will include Verdejo, CHRISTOPHER ‘Pitufo’ DIAZ, and former International Boxing Federation (IBF) Junior Lightweight world champion JOSE ‘Sniper’ PEDRAZA making his debut under the Top Rank banner.

The Ramirez – Imam world championship event will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN and stream on the ESPN App. The night’s undercard bouts, including Verdejo, will stream live on the ESPN App at 5:30 p.m. EST. ESPN Deportes will air the bout on Sunday, March 18 at 8 p.m. EST.

Verdejo, who represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympics, last fought on February 3, 2017, when he won a 10-round unanimous decision over Oliver Flores. He had been scheduled to fight England’s Terry Flanagan on November 5, 2016, for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Lightweight title, but was injured in a motorcycle accident in Puerto Rico three months prior.

Verdejo will be making his sixth appearance at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, last fighting there on June 11, 2016, when he knocked out Juan Jose Martinez in the fifth round. Lozada (38-2, 32 KOs) is riding a six-bout winning streak dating back to 2013.

“I’m very happy to return to New York with the task of showing the world that I’m back to retake what is mine,” Verdejo said. “I was hardened by the tough times we went through after Hurricane Maria, but like my people, I will rise again stronger than ever. March 17 will be the first step in that direction.”

Diaz (22-0, 14 KOs), ranked No. 3 by the WBO at 130 pounds, will defend the NABO Junior Lightweight belt against Braulio Rodriguez (19-2, 17 KOs) in a 10-rounder as he continues his march toward a world title shot. He last fought on December 9 as one of the co-features on the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux card, stopping Bryant ‘Pee Wee’ Cruz in the third round. Diaz knocked down Cruz four times, ending the fight with a crisp right hand. Rodriguez, who has won four of his last five, will be making his U.S. debut.

“On March 17, the fans can expect a more experienced, more explosive and more aggressive Pitufo,” Diaz said. “I’m hungry and I want to keep improving as a fighter. I’m coming to steal the show once again at The Garden. After March 17, I will be closer to a world title fight.”

Pedraza (22-1, 12 KOs) will face veteran Jose Luis Rodriguez (26-11-1, 14 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout. He made two defenses of the IBF Junior Lightweight title before suffering a knockout defeat at the hands of Gervonta Davis on January 14, 2017.

“I feel very happy to be fighting for a promotional company like Top Rank. They want to take my career to the next level and part of that is fighting in venues like Madison Square Garden,” Pedraza said. “I’m going to give it my all so fans will enjoy my return to the ring. With Top Rank in my corner, I will become world champion once again, and I know that I have the potential to become a superstar.”

Also appearing on the undercard are a pair of exciting, undefeated prospects: 18-year-old Joseph Adorno (5-0, 5 KOs) will fight Ivan de la Madrid in a four-round super featherweight bout, while super bantamweight Jose Gonzalez (8-0-2, 2 KOs) will take on Adan Gonzales in a six-round rematch of their December 9 fight, which was ruled a majority draw.

Promoted by Top Rank and Don King Productions, in association with Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Ramirez-Imam world championship event are priced at $206, $156, $106, $81, $56 and $31, and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.MSG.com.

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4 Division World Boxing Champion Erik Morales to appear at Box Fan Expo in Las Vegas

Mar 7, 2018


Tickets on-sale now at EventBrite!
Box Fan Expo is the ultimate fan experience event that gives boxing fans the opportunity to meet-and-greet top fighters, current and former world champions, boxing celebrities and industry people in an up-close personal setting.
Las Vegas (March 6, 2018) – Four-division world boxing champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales has been confirmed for the Box Fan Expo on Saturday May 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Morales will appear at his booth for a meet & greet with his fans during the Expo. Expo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Boxing Expo takes place over the Cinco de Mayo weekend and also coincides with the mega fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, that will take place later that evening.
Morales will have merchandise to sell to his fans, as well as photos, signatures and memorabilia. This is Morales first appearance at the Boxing Expo and is looking forward in meeting his fans.
Erik Morales Nicknamed “El Terrible,” is a retired Mexican boxing legend and is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of fame in Canastota on June 10th, 2018). Morales compiled a 52-9 record in 61 fights, including 41 straight wins to start his career, and won world titles in four different weight classes (junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, junior welterweight). He also ended Manny Pacquiao’s six-year unbeaten streak in 2005 with a unanimous decision win.
Morales notable fights came against Marco Antonio Barrera (nicknamed “The Baby Face Assassin”). The Morales versus Barrera trilogy is one of Boxing’s most famous fight trilogies of all time, involving two of Mexico’s most revered boxers. Their memorable fights were also named Ring Magazine’s fight of the year on February 19, 2000 and once again on November 27, 2004.
Box Fan Expo has been a huge success with fans and boxing industry people. Many boxing stars have attended the last two Expo’s such as Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Marco Antonio Barrera, Roy Jones Jr., Marcos Maidana, Sergio Martinez, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Tim Bradley, Deontay Wilder, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Fernando Vargas, Zab Judah, James Toney, Vinny Pazienza, Mikey Garcia , Mia St.Johns, Leo Santa Cruz, Badou Jack, Terry Norris , Riddick Bowe , Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Danny Jacobs, Abner Mares, Jorge Linares, Brandon Rios and many more…
Exhibitors such as boxing gear, apparel, new equipment, energy drinks, alcohol, supplement products, broadcasting media, sanctioning bodies and other companies who wish to participate will once again have a chance to showcase their brand to fans, media and the boxing industry.
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Four-Division Champion Adrien Broner to Face Former Champion Jessie Vargas in Main Event of SHOWTIME

Mar 6, 2018

Four-Division Champion Adrien Broner to Face Former Champion Jessie Vargas in Main Event of SHOWTIME Tripleheader Saturday, April 21 From Barclays Center in Brooklyn & Presented by Premier Boxing Champions


Vargas Replaces Injured Omar Figueroa for Broner Showdown


Undefeated Former Champion Jermall Charlo Battles

Once-Beaten Hugo Centeno Jr. for Interim

160-Pound World Championship


Former Champions Gervonta Davis and Jesus Cuellar

Square-Off in a 130-Pound World Championship Bout


Tickets on Sale Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. ET!


BROOKLYN (March 5, 2018) – Four-division champion Adrien Broner will battle former welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas in the 12-round main event of a SHOWTIME tripleheader on Saturday, April 21 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.


Former champion Omar Figueroa suffered a shoulder injury in training that forced him to withdraw from his previously scheduled showdown against Broner.


Undefeated former world champion Jermall Charlo clashes with once-beaten Hugo Centeno, Jr. for the interim 160-pound world title in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature. Also featured on the telecast, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, are former champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Jesus Cuellar as they square off for the WBA 130-pound Super World Championship.


Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, start at at $50, go on sale Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. ET, and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Thursday, March 8 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.


“The April 21 card features Adrien Broner, Jermall Charlo and Gervonta Davis – three of boxing’s “must-see” attractions – in highly competitive matchups against top contenders,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.  “Adrien Broner is once again proving that he’s willing to take on the toughest available opponent in consensus top-10 welterweight Jessie Vargas. Hugo Centeno Jr. represents another tough challenge for knockout artist Jermall Charlo as he continues his quest to become a two-division champion. Gervonta Davis vs. Jesus Cuellar is another great matchup, with two power-punchers facing off for the 130-pound world title.”


Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) is one of the most gifted boxers in the sport, having won world titles in four different weight classes by the age of 28. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has won championships at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds while facing top competition across the various divisions. In his last fight, Broner lost a unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia on July 29 at Barclays Center after previously defeating Adrian Granados earlier last year.


“I’m feeling really good and I’m excited that this is an even bigger fight than Figueroa,” said Broner. “I had to switch up some sparring partners but everything is going great in camp. We’re fighting at 144 pounds, so he’ll have a slight weight advantage, but it won’t matter. I’m going to be in great shape for this fight. Coach Kevin Cunningham is my head coach for this camp, but I did not fire Mike Stafford. I just added to my camp, because I needed the help. I know what I have to do at the end of the day to get back on top where I belong.”


Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs), a 28-year-old former welterweight champion who was born in Los Angeles and now lives in Las Vegas, is always up for a challenge. His only two losses have come in welterweight title matches against pound-for-pound greats. He lost a controversial fight to Timothy Bradley, Jr. and dropped a unanimous decision Manny Pacquiao in a world title defense. Vargas won the welterweight title with a TKO victory over Sadam Ali in 2016 prior to the Pacquiao fight. Vargas is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Aaron Herrera in December as he works toward another world title opportunity.


“This is a fight that should garner a lot of attention from boxing fans and they deserve a fight like this,” said Vargas. “We are two entertaining fighters who come in and give it their all. This is a fight that will have a lot of fireworks. I respect Broner and his skills, but he’s very beatable. The fight was presented to me and I didn’t think twice about taking it.. We as fighters and entertainers have to give the fans what they want. We had a fantastic fight on Saturday in Brooklyn and we’ll have another one in April. I will have my hand raised and let everyone know I’m still a danger to anyone I face.”


Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) won his super welterweight title with a dominant knockout of Cornelius Bundrage in 2015 and eventually achieved the distinction of holding a world title in the same weight class (154 pounds) as his twin brother after Jermell won a title in 2016. After successfully defending his 154-pound title three times, Charlo of Houston, Texas, made the move to 160 pounds with the goal of becoming a d-division world champion. In his debut at 160-pounds, the 27-year-old scored a TKO victory over Jorge Sebastian Heiland at Barclays Center on July 29. Charlo vs. Centeno was originally scheduled for March 3 before being rescheduled due to a rib injury suffered by Centeno.


“I really love fighting in Brooklyn and at Barclays Center,” said Charlo. “The fans in Brooklyn always show me a lot of love. Since my last fight I’ve had a chance to work on my patience and work on improvements to my game. Before the injury to Centeno, I was having the best camp of my life. I’ve got the same feeling that I had before I won my first world title. I want to be a champion at 160 more than I did the first time at 154. Centeno is a tough fighter. He’ll be a hard test but he’s someone who isn’t at my level. I’m not taking anything away from him. But he’s just another fighter that’s in my way.”


The 26-year-old Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs) caught everyone’s attention when he scored a stunning knockout of Immanuwel Aleem in his last fight on Aug. 25. It was enough to springboard Centeno into middleweight title contention. Centeno of Oxnard, Calif., successfully rebounded from a tough TKO loss to Maiej Sulecki on June 18, 2016 with a victory over Ronald Montes before his match against Aleem. Centeno expects to be 100 percent healed and ready for the challenge by fight night.


“I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Centeno. “I was really devastated when we had to reschedule the fight, but I know I have to be 100 percent for this challenge. I think my last outing had a lot to do with me getting this fight. It helped to put me in this position. Charlo is a great fighter with a lot of talent. I feel like we have similar statures. It’s going to be an interesting fight. I think it’s going to come down to who is the smarter fighter that night and who has more left in the tank toward the end. This is a life-changing, career-changing fight for me that could lead to bigger and better things. I’m coming to win.”


Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) is a proof that dynamite can come in a 130-pound package. The 23-year-old, of Baltimore, fought three times last year and ended all of his fights by stoppage. He won the 130-pound world title with a TKO victory over Jose Pedraza in a star-making performance at Barclays Center on Jan. 14, 2017. He traveled to London for his first title defense and stopped Liam Walsh by TKO on his home turf to retain the title on May 21, and most recently scored a knockout victory over Francisco Fonseca on Aug. 26 on the Mayweather vs. McGregor PPV undercard. Davis look to recapture a title in the 130-pound division after failing to make weight prior to the Fonseca fight.


“I’m the most exciting and skilled fighter on television and in 2018 I plan to show it,” said Davis. “On April 21 I’ll be back in the ring, live on SHOWTIME. Jesus Cuellar is arguably my toughest opponent to date. He is rough and tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m more than happy to be fighting at Barclays Center where I won my first world title. Brooklyn is very close to Baltimore, so all of my people will be there to witness me become a world champion again.”


Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) is seeking to win a world title in a second weight class when he takes on Davis. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 31-year-old Cuellar won a featherweight world title with a TKO victory against Vic Darchinyan on June 6, 2015. Six months later he made a successful defense by winning a unanimous decision against Jonathan Oquendo before losing the belt to Abner Mares by split decision on December 10, 2016.


“The time I’ve had off since the Mares fight has refreshed me for this new opportunity,” said Cuellar. “It took a lot out of my body to make 126 pounds for all of those years. Now I feel fresher and hungrier than ever before. I’ve been offered fights against lesser opponents in the last year but I’ve preferred to wait a little longer so that I can get a chance to fight the best. Gervonta Davis is one of the best in the world, so he’s the one I want to face and beat. Davis has never faced a fighter like me and he will see me at my very best on April 21.

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Kovalev and Bivol Both Remain Champions with KO Victories

Mar 4, 2018
Crushing Kovalev Performance Highlights
All Action Fight Night at The Garden
New York, NY: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) of Russia delivered another trademark crushing performance with a seventh round stoppage of Igor Mikhalkin(21-2, 9 KOs) of Russia at The Theater at Madison Square Garden to retain his WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship.
Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Despite their friendship, there was no love lost between Russian countrymen as Kovalev made Mikhalkin feel the heat from the opening bell. Through the first six rounds, Kovalev out landed Mikhalkin 145 to 25 punches, according to CompuBox.
Nevertheless, Mikhalkin is a world champion, and stayed in Kovalev’s face. A cut opened below Mikhalkin’s right eye, and as Kovalev continued to punish him, referee Steve Willis stepped in to have the ringside physician examine Mikhalkin. He determined Mikhalkin could not continue, delivering a TKO victory to Kovalev at 2:25 of the seventh round.
“It was better work for sure than the last fight,” said Kovalev of his win over Mikhalkin. “This might maybe have looked easy, but it definitely was not. He doesn’t hit the hardest, but I could feel his punches and he has a lot of movement and he is a great boxer.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Asked about what’s coming next, Kovalev said “I’m always ready for a big money fight … I read on the internet that the Badou Jack fight would be a big fight – if he beats (Adonis) Stevenson.” As to the potential of a third fight with the now retired Andre Ward, Kovalev said, “I don’t think about this right now. I want to fight the fights that the fans want to see. For you, for myself, because I love boxing.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
In the exciting co-feature, WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) of Russia battled Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba down to the final round before scoring a TKO victory at 1:41 of the twelfth.
Bivol found a home for his powerful right hand at several points throughout the bout, but the resilient and dangerous veteran fighter Barrera stayed competitive until the moment he could not continue. At the time of the stoppage, all three judges’ scorecards were overwhelmingly in favor of Bivol.
“He was a really great opponent,” said Bivol. “Sullivan Barrera showed me a lot of things tonight I need to work on when I go back to the gym. So thank you, Sullivan, for that.”
Bivol said he held some of his effort in reserve until he felt confident. “As a matter of fact for the first few rounds, I was a little bit reserved while planning the rest of the fight. I was thinking how much I needed to go the rest of the fight. But by the 12th round, I knew I could knock him out. I stepped on the gas, and the knockout came.”

Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
As to his future, “I’ve got the goods to be the best light heavyweight in the world, but I’ve got a lot of work to do to be the best in the division. I have to fight the best in the division and prove I’m the best,” said Bivol. As to who it might be, Bivol said, “You can be the best only when you fight the best. I’m not going to attack anybody. I have a belt, whoever wants it can come and get it.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events

Vaughn “Da Animal” Alexander(12-0, 8 KOs) of St. Louis, Missouri remained undefeated in his second appearance at Madison Square Garden, 14 years after his original 2004 victory. Alexander won a ten-round unanimous decision over a tough as nails Devaun Lee(10-3-1, 5 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York, who took the fight on barely two days’ notice.

The tough middleweights traded to the body from early in the bout. Alexander snapped Lee’s head with shots, but due credit to the local favorite for hanging tough. “It was good to put in the rounds. I got the victory, I’m looking forward to fighting again.”
The 32-year-old Alexander picked up his career where he left off after serving an 11-year prison sentence. “It was good to be here as a more mature, experienced fighter.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Brooklyn’s own Frank “Notorious” Galarza (19-2-2, 11 KOs) battled a determined Norberto Gonzalez (24-11, 14 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico in an eight-round junior middleweight contest. The local hero delivered a unanimous decision victory by scores of 80-72, 79-73, and 78-74.
Galarza, 32, traded shots with Gonzalez, but was in control of the action and directed the path of the fight throughout as his devoted fans cheered him on. The veteran Mexican, 36, took the fight on short notice and acquitted himself well with his effort.
“We knew we would get the rounds in. We knew he was a counterpuncher, so we utilized that,” said Galarza. “I was able to show my ability, my boxing ability, my ring intellect, being smart in the ring. Compared to my last fight, overall we brought a lot more to the table.”
Galarza thanked all the fans who came to The Garden to see him.
“I love my fans, they always come and support, that’s the beauty of it. Ain’t no better place to be, Madison Square Garden, that’s where all the classics are, all the greats.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Bakhram Murtazaliev (12-0, 10 KOs) of Grozny, Russia extended his knockout streak to eight, stopping Kenneth McNeil (11-4, 8 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, in the first defense of the IBA Super Welterweight World Title he won at The Garden in November. Murtazaliev let out a roar of satisfaction as referee Danny Schiavone halted the contest at 1:08 of the fifth round.
“I imagined the fight would go a little bit differently,” said Murtazaliev. “My opponent didn’t fight, he was running all around, always running. With an opponent like this, it’s super hard to fight.” Trainer Abror Tursunpulatov had confidence his fighter would prevail. “We knew Bakhram was going to win by KO or TKO in the last rounds.”
“For all my team, Egis (Klimas), for Kathy Duva, for all the team, they helped me a lot. My goal is to make you happy, every fight,” added Murtazaliev.
McNeil had never been stopped before, giving Murtazaliev, 25, the most significant test of his career to date. It was the Russian’s third fight under both the Krusher Promotions and Main Events banners.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Meiirim “The Sultan” Nursultanov (6-0, 5 KOs) worked hard to stop a tough Alejandro Torres (9-4-2, 4 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico at 1:55 of the sixth round in front of a robust cheering section at The Garden of his enthusiastic Kazakh fans. He has now stopped his last four opponents.
“The Mexican offense is very different style, this Mexican Style for me,” said Nursultanov of Torres. “My training camp was very good, I sparred many different guys” in preparation for Torres.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Cassius Chaney(12-0, 6 KOs) of Baltimore delivered the big heavyweight show he promised, stopping Tim Washington(6-6, 6 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio at 1:28 of the second round to remain undefeated.
“It was a good fight, he’s a big strong guy,” said Chaney. “I did what I had to do to win. I’m happy that Main Events allowed me to fight here at MSG and I’m glad I put on a show. I trained hard and I’m ready to get back in the ring.” Roy Jones, Junior congratulated Chaney backstage on his win.
Chaney, 30, the former standout NCAA basketball player at the University of New Haven, is working with new trainer Calvin Ford, the inspiration for the character “Cutty” in the popular TV series “The Wire.”
After going to the scorecards due to an accidental headbutt after five rounds, Alexey Evchenko (16-10-1, 6 KOs) of Chelyabinsk, Russia won his American debut in a unanimous decision over Khiary Gray-Pitts (15-4, 11 KOs) of Worcester, Massachusetts in what was a scheduled eight-round welterweight fight. All scorecards read 48-47 at the time of the stoppage.
Evchenko, 34, made a solid introduction to American fans with his seventh straight victory.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Middleweight Leshawn “Lightning” Rodriguez (9-0, 7 KOs) remained undefeated, winning by unanimous decision over Martez Jackson (4-3-2, 2 KOs) in six rounds. All three judges scored it 58-56.
Rodriguez, 24, of Shirley, New York, enjoys a strong fan base in New York going back to his accomplished amateur career. Since his pro debut, he continues to generate fan interest thanks to his take-no-prisoners, hard-hitting style. Jackson, 34, from Atlanta, Georgia, presented Rodriguez his toughest test to date, having never been stopped.
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Madiyar Ashkeyev (9-0, 5 KOs) of Merki, Kazakhstan made it a brief appearance in the ring after being out over a year due to injury. He stopped Jose Antonio Abreu (13-4, 8 KOs) of La Romana, Dominican Republic at 1:52 of the first round.
Ashkeyev, 29, an accomplished amateur now training in Oxnard at the Boxing Laboratory under the guidance of Marco Contreras, faced a dangerous opponent in Abreu, who was in a must-win situation after two straight defeats. Although Abreu beat the count of referee Johnny Callas, Callas stopped the bout.
As his fans waived the Kazakh flag, Ashkeyev said, “Yes, thank you all everybody. I’m happy, I missed this fight (due to injury in November), my last fight was one year ago. I hope next time I will have a big show.”
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo, Main Events
Opening the evening, two-time NY Daily News Golden Gloves Champion Ismael Villarreal(2-0) from the Bronx, New York remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over against Anthony Woods(1-7) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All three judges gave Villarreal the shutout on the scorecards for the four-round super middleweight contest, 40-36.
Using a more diversified attack including increased bodywork, Villarreal said after the fight, “I’m happy to come out safe and sound” after fighting Woods, 31, who has never been stopped.
Villarreal, 20, son of former super lightweight fighter Otilio Villarreal, is quickly gaining fans and making a name for himself despite also carrying a full course load at Brooklyn Community College.
Twitter: @krusherkovalev
Facebook: facebook.com/shopkrusher
Instagram: @SergeyKrusherKovalev
Instagram: @igormikhalkin_boxing
Twitter: @Bivol_D
Instagram: @Bivol_D
Twitter: @SullivanBarrera
Instagram: @SullivanBarrera
Twitter: @main_events
Facebook:  facebook.com/MainEventsBoxing
Instagram: @Main_Events
Twitter: @WorldofBox
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El ex campeón José Pedraza firma con Top Rank, listo para enfrentar a lo mejor de la división peso ligero

Mar 4, 2018

El ex campeón José Pedraza firma con Top Rank,
listo para enfrentar a lo mejor de la división peso ligero

El nativo de Puerto Rico y ex campeón junior ligero
hará campaña en peso ligero,
y debutará con Top Rank el 17 de marzo

LAS VEGAS (2 de marzo del 2018) – JOSE “The Sniper” PEDRAZA, el ex campeón mundial de peso junior ligero de la Federación Internacional de Boxeo (FIB), ha firmado un acuerdo promocional de multi pelea con Top Rank, anunció el promotor del Salón de la Fama, Bob Arum.

Pedraza hará campaña en el peso ligero, y su debut bajo el banderín de Top Rank tendrá lugar el 17 de marzo en la cartelera de José Ramírez – Amir Imam en The Theatre del Madison Square Garden.

“En primer lugar, quiero agradecer a Dios por hacer esto posible,” dijo Pedraza. “Quiero agradecer a Bob Arum por darme la oportunidad de unirme a la familia de Top Rank, y por reconocer que tengo la capacidad y el potencial de convertirme en campeón mundial una vez más.”

“José Pedraza es un peleador de clase mundial, y nosotros en Top Rank estamos ansiosos por promocionarlo de la manera que sabemos cómo promover,” dijo Arum.

“Esta es una oportunidad increíble para mi hijo, que está decidido en ganar otro título mundial,” dijo Luis Espada, padre / entrenador / manejador de Pedraza. “Con Top Rank en nuestra esquina, el cielo es el límite.”

“José está listo para ser una fuerza de 135 libras, y con solo 28 años de edad, todavía está en su mejor momento, y lo mejor está por venir,” dijo Mike Leanardi, co-manejador de Pedraza. “El problema principal con su carrera ha sido la inactividad, y sabemos que con Top Rank ya eso no será un problema. Sentimos que José es el mejor peleador de Puerto Rico, y con Top Rank, ahora podrá demostrarlo en el ring.”

Pedraza (22-1, 12 KOs) representó a su nativo Puerto Rico en los Juegos Olímpicos de 2008, ganó una medalla de oro en los Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe 2010, y también fue tres-veces campeón nacional amateur de Puerto Rico. Se convirtió en profesional en 2011, ganando sus primeros 19 combates antes de obtener una oportunidad por el título vacante de peso ligero de la FIB. El 13 de junio de 2015, en Birmingham, Alabama, Pedraza ganó el título de manera dominante con una decisión casi blanqueada sobre Andrey Klimov.

Su reinado titular duró dos defensas – triunfos decisivos sobre Edner Cherry y Stephen Smith – hasta que chocó contra el invictp Gervonta Davis el 14 de enero de 2017. Davis prevaleció a través del nocaut en el séptimo asalto, y Pedraza, que había estado luchando para llegar al límite ligero junior, decidió subir a peso ligero después de esa pelea.

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