Mayer: ‘We’ve been trying to get a world title fight for a while now’

Mikaela Mayer made history Tuesday evening, but more importantly, she earned the win. Mayer (13-0, 5 KOs) outboxed Helen Joseph (17-5-2, 10 KOs) over 10 rounds, earning a unanimous decision (100-90 2x and 99-91) at the MGM Grand “Bubble.” Mayer-Joseph marked the first female main event in Top Rank on ESPN history.

Mayer had been out of the ring since October 26, as she and Joseph were scheduled to fight June 9. A positive COVID-19 test for Mayer delayed the fight, but she scraped off the ring rust and put forth a dominating performance over the two-time world title challenger.

Following the bout, Mayer received a word of encouragement, and a promise, from Bob Arum.

“Bob said, ‘Great fight,’ and that the next one will be for the title,” Mayer said. “We’ve been trying to get a world title fight for a while now. I said, ‘Don’t let Eddie Hearn {outbid} us.’”

— The “Cassius” Clay Collard train rolled through Las Vegas once again, as Collard knocked out Lorawnt-T Nelson in the second round of a scheduled six-round middleweight contest. Collard (8-2-3, 3 KOs) improved to 4-0 on the year, including three victories over previously undefeated fighters. He knocked down Nelson (5-4, 4 KOs) in the opening round and twice more in the second before referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the fight.

“I showed my boxing skills in there tonight. I’m unorthodox, but I get the job done,” Collard said. “As soon as Top Rank wants me back, I’ll be ready. Next month on ESPN, let’s go!”

— Ruben Cervera (12-2, 10 KOs) picked up his second straight win, topping Clay “3rd Degree” Burns (9-9-2, 4 KOs) by six-round unanimous decision in a lightweight bout. Cervera knocked down Burns with a left hook in the opening round and prevailed by scores of 59-54 2x and 58-56.

— Middleweight Javier Martinez had a successful professional debut, shutting out Ryan “The Lion” Burrs (2-2) over four rounds by identical 40-36 scores. Martinez, from Milwaukee, inked a multi-year professional contract with Top Rank following a storied amateur career with USA Boxing.

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams
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Oscar Valdez-Jayson Velez set for 7/21 in Vegas

The first run of Top Rank on ESPN shows inside the MGM Grand “Bubble” will conclude with a certified boxing action hero ready for another toe-to-toe tussle.

Former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, ranked No. 1 by the WBC and WBO at junior lightweight, will face former world title challenger Jayson Velez in the 10-round main event Tuesday, July 21, inside the MGM Grand Conference Center.

In the eight-round co-feature, super middleweight knockout sensation Edgar Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs), who has knocked out 13 consecutive foes in the first round to begin his pro career, will look to extend the streak against Eric Moon (11-2, 6 KOs).

The card also will highlight the long-awaited return of Kim Clavel, the undefeated light flyweight who won the 2020 Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs for her work as an elder care nurse in Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clavel, who is promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), will fight fellow unbeaten Natalie Gonzalez in an eight-rounder.

Valdez-Velez, Berlanga-Moon, Clavel-Gonzalez, and undercard bouts will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

“Oscar Valdez wants to fight WBC world champion Miguel Berchelt, and I know Miguel wants nothing more than to fight Oscar,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Oscar knows Jayson Velez is a serious challenge that he cannot overlook. This is a great main event, and an incredible deep card, to close out our first round of shows inside the ‘Bubble.’”

Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) has won three fights since his March 2018 war of attrition against Scott Quigg, when his jaw was shattered in the fifth round of a 12-round championship bout. He took nearly one year off following the Quigg fight and moved up to the junior lightweight ranks last year. In his last outing, November 30 in Las Vegas, he survived a second-round knockdown to knock out Adam Lopez in the seventh.

Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs), from Juncos, Puerto Rico, nearly won the IBF featherweight world title from Evgeny Gradovich in November 2014, but he was held to a controversial draw. He has fought from featherweight to lightweight in recent years and March 2018 knockout victory over former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez. Velez was one half of a Fight of the Year Contender in February, as he knocked down Jaime Arboleda in the 12th round, only to lose a split decision verdict by a single point on two of the judges’ scorecards. He has never been knocked out in a career that’s spanned nearly 13 years.

Valdez said, “I’m ready for the best of the division. I want to be a two-division world champion, and the only way to do that is to beat tough fighters like Jayson Velez, who has challenged for a world title and possesses a lot of experience. Also, I’m very thankful to be fighting during this critical time where the sport of boxing is getting attention again.”

“We know there have been discussions about me challenging Miguel Berchelt for his WBC super featherweight world title, but Velez is first. I need to beat Velez first if I want to fight Berchelt, and I’m expecting a very tough fight. I want to dedicate this fight to all of the nurses and doctors who are working hard on this pandemic and to my father, Top Rank, and my manager, Frank Espinoza. I can’t wait to return to the ring.”

Said Velez, “Oscar Valdez is the greatest name I have ever had the opportunity to face. He is a young, undefeated fighter who was already a world champion and is hungry for another world title. At this stage of my career, I see each fight as if it were the last chance to achieve my dream. It’s now or never. We are going to make that dream come true.”

Berlanga, the brash Brooklynite nicknamed “The Chosen One,” took care of Cesar Nunez in 2:45 last December on the Terence Crawford-Egidijus Kavaliauskas undercard at Madison Square Garden. Moon has won four of his last five and has been knocked out only once since turning pro in July 2016. He has fought eight or more rounds five times.

Said Berlanga, “I’ve not really changed much about training because of the knockout streak. Training is all about improving as a boxer. I had a good amateur career, and that comes from being a good technical boxer. My focus in training has been to continue to improve my skills under my trainer, Andre Rozier, and Team Havoc.”

Clavel (11-0, 2 KOs) is coming off a career-best win last December, a decision over Esmeralda Gaona Sagahon that earned her the NABF light flyweight belt. The belt won’t be on the line against Gonzalez (6-0, 1 KO), a native of New Rochelle, New York, who was a two-time New York Golden Gloves champion as an amateur.

In undercard action:

Former junior featherweight world champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs), on the comeback trail following back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete, will face two-time world title challenger Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight battle.

Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs), who is coming off a highlight-reel first-round KO July 2 against Danny Murray, will face Kenyan veteran Dennis Okoth (4-3-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder at junior welterweight.

Italian heavyweight destroyer Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) will aim to make it eight knockouts in as many fights against an opponent to be named in a six-rounder. Vianello, a 2016 Olympian, knocked out Don Haynesworth in one round June 9.

Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe (14-2, 6 KOs), winner of two straight bouts, will fight Genc Pllana (8-1-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout originally scheduled for July 16.

Herring tests positive for COVID-19, fight with Oquendo is off

Tuesday’s Top Rank on ESPN main event between WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring and Jonathan Oquendo will not proceed as scheduled after Herring tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this morning. The highly anticipated Mikaela Mayer-Helen Joseph junior lightweight bout will be Tuesday’s main event (ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).

Said Herring, “I’m extremely disappointed that I’m not going to be able to fight tomorrow night. As I’ve shared previously, I tested positive for COVID-19 on June 22 after exhibiting symptoms. I quarantined and recovered as directed by my doctor. I then retested on July 3 and my test was negative, so this result is a complete surprise. I was fully prepared to make my second title defense tomorrow night. I am hoping that my team and Top Rank can reschedule this fight soon. Thank you for all the support everyone has shown. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and perform.”

In addition, the Luis Melendez-Eddie Vazquez bout has been canceled due to Melendez testing positive for COVID-19.

The ESPN telecast will continue as follows:

Main Event: Mikaela Mayer vs. Helen Joseph, 10 Rounds, Junior Lightweight
Clay Collard vs. Lorawnt-T Nelson, 6 Rounds, Middleweight
Ruben Cervera vs. Clay Burns, 6 Rounds, Lightweight
Javier Martinez (Pro Debut) vs. Jonathan Burrs, 4 Rounds, Middleweight

Haney talks Teofimo Lopez, Tank Davis, Loma, Ryan Garcia, Jose Ramirez, more

Undefeated WBC Lightweight champion, Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), sounds off, putting the big names surrounding his weight class on notice as he awaits the announcement of this next fight. Also, Haney gives his thoughts on his next fight during the COVID-19 pandemic and the mental and physical benefits of being quarantined.

I’m excited to get back in the ring,” said Devin Haney. “This has been the longest time between fights in my career. My body received a well-deserved rest. I’m blessed.”

On working with and being compared to Floyd Mayweather:

“Lately, I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time with “TBE” Floyd Mayweather. Being compared to Mayweather is the ultimate compliment for any fighter in this era of boxing. I’m the most skilled fighter in the world right now, and I’m looking forward to an opponent I can make a statement against. I’m working diligently with Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC to make the big fights happen. Every decision made by the WBC hasn’t went my way, but I have a genuine love and respect for the WBC family as a whole. I’m proud to represent the WBC organization.”

On Vasyl Lomachenko:

“Vasyl Lomachenko is a true professional and considered to be a top-five pound for pound champion. I challenged him for the WBC lightweight world title, and I didn’t get the big fight I wanted, but I got the belt I deserved by stopping Zaur Abdullaev and becoming Vasyl Lomachenko’s mandatory challenger to the lightweight world title. Ironically, the big fight never happened because Lomachenko and Top Rank petitioned the WBC not to fight me and award him the franchise title. I then petitioned the WBC to elevate me from interim champion to full world champion because Lomachenko chose not to fight me, and I had previously beat the highest-ranked fighter available. Let’s make this clear, you can’t win the franchise title, and you can’t challenge a franchise champion. I’m 21-years old, and I’m the WBC world lightweight champion, and I believe in fighting mandatory challengers. The 135 pounds unification runs through me. Enough said!

“At this point in my career, I don’t mind mandatories at all because it forces the best fighters in my division to get in the ring with me. They can run, but they can’t hide. Mandatory, for me, means mandatory cash. It’s good to be in a stacked division. If I can, I’m going to fight all of them. I hope Teofimo Lopez beats Loma and then fights me in a unification for all the belts like he promised Mauricio Sulaiman.”

On Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell:

“To me, it looks like Luke Campbell is looking forward to the opportunity of getting beat up by me more than Ryan Garcia is looking forward to it. I’m guessing in Ryan’s defense, he’s never lost, so he’s moving a little different and trying to stay undefeated (lol), but I don’t think Eddie Reynosa and Golden Boy really don’t want him to fight me yet. Luke is accustomed to losing big fights. We know he’s come up short more than once. I think he has more of a… ‘I don’t give a damn attitude’ and I’m cool with that too!”

On Tank Davis:

“As far as Gervonta “Tank” Davis? I don’t like throwing water on a drowning man but leaving a stacked 135 pounds division, to take a fight at super featherweight kind of tells you where he’s at. It’s no secret I’m a problem at 135 pounds.”

On Jose Ramirez:

“I know Jose Ramirez ain’t sleeping good at night either, he got Haney at 140 pounds or Terence Crawford at 147 pounds problems to think about. I don’t wish that on anybody. Josh Taylor is an easier fight for Ramirez then me or Bud, but it’s still a tough 50/50 fight. Ramirez is out here looking like food on the low.”

On the COVID-19 Pandemic:

“This pandemic is something we’ve never seen,” Haney concluded. “It’s tough on everyone around the world. We’ve all been in quarantine for the last few months, including myself, and fortunately, staying at home is the best place to be. Similar in many ways to training camp. I pray to GOD things get back to normal soon. I’m anxious to get back in the ring as soon as the experts give the green light. I want all the smoke.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Katie Taylor-Delfine Persoon set for 8/22

Katie Taylor defends her WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Titles against Delfine Persoon on Saturday August 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) completed her fairy-tale journey from Olympic Gold to Undisputed Lightweight World Champion with a thrilling but controversial points win over Belgium’s Persoon on a historical night at the world-famous Madison Square Garden on the Joshua vs. Ruiz bill last year.

After a bloody and brutal battle that captivated the New York crowd, the Irish star added Persoon’s WBC belt to her IBF, WBO and WBA Titles to hold all four at 135lbs and cement her place as the number one Lightweight on the planet.

The 34-year-old went on to create more history at Manchester Arena in November when she dethroned WBO Super-Lightweight World Champion Christina Linardatou to become a two-weight World ruler – becoming only the third Irish boxer to win World Titles in two weight classes.

Persoon (44-2, 18 KOs) held the WBC strap for five years, making nine successful defences in that reign, before losing it to Taylor in a Fight of the Year contender. Despite losing on two of the judges’ scorecards, Persoon was convinced she’d won after ten rounds of relentless action and has been lobbying for a rematch ever since.

“With Amanda Serrano not taking the fight I wanted the biggest fight possible in August and I think a second Persoon fight is one that everyone wants to see,” said Taylor. “I’ve been looking forward to a rematch ever since the first fight and I’m delighted it’s been made. It was definitely very close first time around, but I felt I deserved the win and I intend to leave no doubts in the rematch.”

Persoon said: “I am ready to get the victory following the injustice last June in New York, not by words but in the ring – I am ready!”

“Wow! What a fight – what a night! To be honest I can’t quite believe this fight has been made, I can’t give enough credit to Katie and Delfine for agreeing to do it again,” said Eddie Hearn. “Since their epic Fight of the Year contender at MSG last year, everyone has wanted to see this once again and now we have it. I’m very proud to stage this fight especially at such a critical time for our sport – along with Whyte vs. Povetkin August 22 will be one not to forget.”

Taylor vs. Persoon lands on the final week of Matchroom Fight Camp as Dillian Whyte  (27-1, 18 KOs) puts his WBC Interim Heavyweight World Title on the line against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) in a battle of the left hooks, Martin Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs) returns to the ring against Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs) and Luther Clay (13-1, 5 KOs) defends his WBO Global Welterweight Title against Chris Kongo (11-0, 6 KOs).

Zepada defeats Castaneda by unanimous decision

 Two-time world title challenger Jose “Chon” Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) outboxed Kendo “Tremendo” Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs), rolling to a unanimous decision victory (98-92 2x and 97-93) at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.

Zepeda, from La Puente, California, is 2-0 with a no contest since his controversial majority decision loss to world champion Jose Ramirez. He is currently ranked in the top 5 by the WBC and WBO.

“He was a late replacement, but he was tough in there. I didn’t take Kendo lightly because I knew what he was capable of. He had only one loss by decision coming into tonight,” Zepeda said. “Anybody with a belt at 140 pounds is who I want to fight. A championship fight is my goal, and that is what I am working towards.”

Lopez Upsets Vences

Luis Alberto Lopez (21-2, 11 KOs) authored the most significant win of his carer, edging longtime junior lightweight contender Andy Vences (23-2-1, 12 KOs) via 10-round split decision. A Lopez uppercut early in the sixth round stunned Vences, but he was able to weather the onslaught and survive the stanza.

Vences appeared to rally in the bout’s latter stages, but it was too little, too late.

“I felt I won the fight with my pressure. It was a close fight, but I was confident I did enough after the final bell sounded,” Lopez said. “Credit to Vences. I thought he was knocked out earlier in the fight, but he came back like a warrior.”

Said Vences, “I thought I won a close fight, but I am not going to complain about the decision. It was a good, close fight. No excuses. I prepared well for 10 hard rounds.”

—Lightweight prospect Andres Cortes (13-0, 7 KOs) survived a fourth-round knockdown to top Alejandro Salinas (10-4, 9 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision. The scores were as follows: 79-73, 77-74 and 76-75. Cortes swept the last three round on all of the judges’ cards.

— Gabriel Muratalla (4-0, 3 KOs), the fighting preschool teacher from Fontana, California, bested Las Vegas native Sergio Lopez (4-6-3, 0 KOs) by unanimous decision (40-36 2x and 39-37) in a four-round bantamweight bout. Muratalla was making his second “Bubble” outing following his first-round stoppage over Fernando Robles on June 11.

— Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KOs) rebounded from his first career defeat with a first-round knockout over Reymond Yanong (11-6-1, 9 KOs) in a welterweight contest.

— Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (3-0) edged Diego Elizondo (2-2-2) via majority decision by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 2x.

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

Herring-Oquendo set for July 14

Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and Mikaela Mayer, both of whom are healthy following recent positive COVID-19 test results that delayed their fights, are primed for their “Bubble” debuts.

U.S. Marine veteran Herring will make his second world title defense against Puerto Rican challenger Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo on Tuesday, July 14, at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.

In the co-feature, undefeated 2016 U.S. Olympian Mayer will fight former world title challenger Helen Joseph in a 10-round junior lightweight showdown.

The undercard will feature the anticipated “Bubble” encore of “Cassius” Clay Collard, who will fight LT “Smash” Nelson in a six-round middleweight bout. Collard, 3-0 in 2020 (all against previously undefeated fighters), took the “0” from highly decorated prospect David Kaminsky on June 18.

Herring-Oquendo, Mayer-Joseph, Collard-Nelson, and additional undercard action will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

“Jamel and Mikaela wanted to come back as soon as possible, and we were happy to oblige them,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are healthy and ready to put forth tremendous performances.”

Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) makes his 2020 debut following a banner 2019 that saw him upset Masayuki Ito to win the title, and outpoint Lamont Roach Jr. in front of more than 7,000 fans at an outdoor baseball stadium in Fresno, Calif. Herring and Oquendo were set to fight July 2 but Herring’s COVID-19 results delayed the fight 12 days. Herring, the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team captain, is 5-0 since inking a multi-fight deal with Top Rank.

Herring said, “I am back, healthy and 100 percent ready to defend my world title. Oquendo is a tough opponent who realizes this is his last chance to win a world title. He’s coming for what I have and I’m not going to cut any corners. I will return home to celebrate with my family and my belt.”

Oquendo (31-6, 19 KOs), from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, challenged Jesus Cuellar for a featherweight world title in December 2015 and is 5-1 since moving up to junior lightweight. He earned the title shot following last November’s shutout decision win over Charles Huerta, which came off the heels of a controversial decision loss to Roach Jr.

Oquendo said, “We know Jamel is a slippery, tall, left-handed fighter who has an advantage in range, but we are working for that and we know that we will have no problems. My company knows how hard I fight and how hard I train. Fans like Jonathan Oquendo because he makes for great fights.”

In less than three years as a professional, Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) has become one of the faces of female boxing. She closed out her 2019 campaign last October with a sixth-round stoppage over Alejandra Soledad Zamora. The Los Angeles native is on track for a world title shot this year, but she must defeat Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs), a native of Lagos, Nigeria, who is coming off a competitive decision loss to former lightweight champion Delfine Persoon.

Mayer said, “After having two fights canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am relieved and excited to be back and grateful to Top Rank for getting me back on a card so quickly. I’m not the fighter you last saw in October. I’ve had three camps to peak myself and grow as an athlete. A whole new fighter is stepping in that ring on July 14, so I hope Helen is ready.”

In undercard action:

Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Luis Melendez (8-1, 6 KOs) will take on Edward “Kid” Vazquez (7-0, 1 KO) in an eight-rounder. Two of Vazquez’s last three wins have come against previously undefeated opponents, while Melendez has won six in a row since the lone defeat of his career.

Colombian puncher Ruben “El Tigrillo” Cervera (11-2, 10 KOs) will fight Clay “3rd Degree” Burns (9-8-2, 4 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight. Cervera was stopped by Miguel Marriaga last May, but he returned with a knockout win over Luis Carlos Lugo in October. Burns made a notable “Bubble” impression on June 25, losing an action-filled split decision to Reymond Yanong.

Unbeaten junior lightweight prospect William Villa (4-0) will face Eduardo Sanchez (2-2) in a four-rounder.

Pedraza dominates LesPierre; Ramirez gets revenge

Former two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza’s quest for a title in a third weight class is alive and well. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, toppled Mikkel LesPierre via unanimous decision (100-88 and 99-89 2x) Thursday night in a junior welterweight bout.

Pedraza and LesPierre were scheduled to fight June 18, but the bout was postponed after LesPierre’s manager tested positive for COVID-19. Pedraza returned to the MGM Grand “Bubble” in fine form, blunting his southpaw opponent’s offense.

Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs) knocked down LesPierre (22-2-1, 10 KOs) in the fifth round and showed his class down the home stretch. Another knockdown the 10th was the exclamation point on a nearly flawless performance. For Pedraza, it was a much-needed win, as he was coming off a decision loss to Jose Zepeda last September on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard.

“Mikkel was a tough opponent, but I stuck to my game plan. I wanted the knockout, but he stayed strong in there. I give him a lot of credit,” Pedraza said. “I would like to fight any of the world champions, but we have to see what happens next. I proved I belong with the top guys in the 140-pound division.”

— Revenge was officially served. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (4-1, 3 KOs) dominated Adan Gonzales (5-3-2, 2 KOs) over six rounds in a featherweight rematch of their August 2019 bout, won by Gonzales via split decision. All three judges scored the bout 60-54, as Ramirez officially closed the chapter on his nightmarish professional debut.

“I wanted to put our first fight behind me, and I did that. Ever since our first fight, I wanted the rematch. I am glad this chapter of my career is behind me now,” Ramirez said. “A couple more rounds and I could’ve scored the knockout. But I’ll take the win and continue to work hard on my craft. I have the best trainer in Ismael Salas.”

— Toledo native and junior lightweight contender “Prince” Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KOs) outboxed Mark “Machete” Bernaldez over 10 rounds, claiming a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90 3x.

— A straight right hand was all she wrote, as Dominican sensation Elvis Rodriguez (7-0-1, 7 KOs) knocked out Danny Murray (5-4) at 2:17 of the opening round of a junior welterweight bout.

— In a six-round heavyweight rumble featuring a pair of 280-plus-pound heavyweights, Kingsley Ibeh (5-1, 4 KOs) won his second “Bubble” bout in a week, edging Patrick Mailata (4-1, 2 KOs) by majority decision (57-57 and 58-56 2x).

— In a 10-round featherweight slugfest, Jose Enrique Vivas (19-1, 10 KOs) defeated Carlos Jackson (16-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 97-93, as Vivas swept the last three rounds on two of the judges’ cards to clinch the win.

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

Saucedo: ‘I am ready to take over the 140-pound division’

The fighting pride of Oklahoma City put forth a clinic in Las Vegas. Junior welterweight contender Alex Saucedo, fighting for the second time since falling short in a world title bid, bested Sonny Fredrickson by unanimous decision Tuesday evening at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.

The scores (100-90, 99-91 and 98-92) were lopsided in favor of Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs), who used sustained pressure to pile up the points.

According to CompuBox, Saucedo outlanded Fredrickson, 318-172.

Fredrickson (21-3, 14 KOs), from Toledo, Ohio, dropped his second fight in a row.

“We worked on a lot of things in the gym. It was important for me to get the rounds in, and Sonny was a tough opponent,” Saucedo said. “I am ready to take over the 140-pound division. Whatever opportunity comes my way, I will take advantage of it. Most importantly, I got rid of the ring rust and went 10 hard rounds.”

— Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas hit Salvador Briceno with everything, including the kitchen sink. After 10 rounds, Briceno was still standing, and Vargas earned a unanimous decision by scores of 100-90 2x and 99-91. Vargas (17-1, 9 KOs), a rising junior welterweight contender, extended his winning streak to 11. Briceno (17-6, 11 KOs) fell to 2-3 in his last five outings.

— Junior welterweight prospect John “El Terrible” Bauza (14-0, 5 KOs) returned from a nearly yearlong layoff, besting “Lethal” Larry Fryers (11-3, 4 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision (80-72 2x and 79-73).

— Two weeks after a decision loss inside “The Bubble,” Detroit native Isiah Jones (9-2, 3 KOs) rebounded to defeat the previously undefeated Donte Stubbs (6-1, 2 KOs) via majority decision in a six-round middleweight bout. Jones, the first Bubble returnee, prevailed by scores of 57-57, 58-56 and 59-55.

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

Vergil Ortiz-Samuel Vargas set for July 24 in California

Golden Boy, DAZN and Fantasy Springs Resort Casino are proud to announce the return of world-class professional boxing in Southern California! In the main event of this long-awaited comeback, Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KOs) will defend his WBA Gold Welterweight Title against Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

The action takes place on Friday, July 24 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. and will be streamed live on DAZN. The event will be closed to the public and media as we enter the first phase of our responsible return to regular boxing action.

“Preparing our comeback hasn’t been easy, but we know that we have a responsibility to our fighters and our fans to stage high-level boxing events as soon as we possibly can,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This card demonstrates our commitment to presenting competitive fights despite current circumstances as the future of boxing, Vergil Ortiz Jr., will step into the ring with Samuel Vargas as was initially planned back in March.”

“And to add to that, lightweight contender Hector Tanajara Jr. is taking a big step up in competition against a veteran southpaw in Mercito Gesta,” De La Hoya continued. “Times may be tough, but our fighters are tougher, so I want to thank them for accepting these challenges during this time. I also want to thank the CSAC, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, DAZN and everyone involved as we work together to make this a success.”

Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has knocked out every opponent in sight. The native of Grand Prairie, Texas, who has roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will participate in his first fight of the year after a spectacular 2019 in which he stopped the likes of Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco and Brad “King” Solomon. The 22-year-old contender is a bit surprised because his 2020 debut will take place as late in the year as July, but he is nevertheless prepared for the challenge.

“I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Vergil Ortiz. “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Vargas is recognized as one of the toughest challenges in any division. The 31-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia has faced a who’s who of welterweight boxers, including Amir “King” Khan, Luis Collazo, Danny “Swift” Garcia and Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. Despite the uncertainty facing the world today, Vargas is totally confident that he will beat Ortiz Jr.

“I’m happy to be back to work training in Las Vegas,” said Samuel Vargas. “I think that everything happens for a reason. I think this time off benefited me. I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with a win. The world is in a weird place right now. The show will be different. There will be no fans. But I have no doubt that I am going to win.”

In the co-main event, Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr. (19-0, 5 KOs) will take a step up in opposition as he takes on two-time world title challenger Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs) of Cebu, Philippines in a 10-round defense of the USNBC Lightweight Title.

“I’m ready for the best of the division,” said Hector Tanajara Jr. “I want to be a world champion, and the only way to do that is to beat tough fighters like Mercito Gesta, who has challenged for a world title and is a southpaw with a lot of experience. Also, I’m very thankful to be fighting during this time. Boxing is slowly coming back, and I’m proud to be featured on the first Golden Boy card after the big hiatus.”

“I am so excited to fight on July 24 against a talented, young, and very technical boxer in Hector Tanajara Jr,” said Mercito Gesta. “During the pandemic, I was doing conditioning training virtually with my team in San Diego, but now I am in Los Angeles training with Coach Marvin Somodio and my dad at the Wild Card Boxing gym. Even though the fight will be different this time because there will be no audience, friends or family, I’m well prepared and will put on a great show against Tanajara Jr.  I hope everyone watches this card around the world, especially in my hometown of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines as Golden Boy boxing is back! Salamat, Mabuhay!”

Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) of Pomona, Calif. will make his debut under the Golden Boy banner in an eight-round middleweight bout against veteran Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs) of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

World champion Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. will return to the 108-pound division against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.

Hector Valdez (12-0, 8 KOs), the newly signed super bantamweight prospect of Dallas, Texas, will participate in a six-round fight.

Hard-hitting welterweight prospect Evan Sanchez (7-0, 6 KOs) of Parlier, Calif will open the night of action in a six-round fight.

Ortiz vs. Vargas is a 12-round fight for the WBA Gold Welterweight Title presented by Golden Boy. The event is sponsored by Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Friday, July 24 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.