Teofimo Lopez to battle Sandor Martin on December 10

Junior welterweight contender Teofimo Lopez will have a new “Heisman Night” foe. Jose “Sniper” Pedraza contracted a non-COVID-related illness, and Lopez will now face former European champion Sandor Martin on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Madison Square Garden.

Lopez-Martin, scheduled for 10 rounds, is a final eliminator for the WBC world title.

Brooklyn native Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs), the former lightweight king, made his junior welterweight debut in August with a seventh-round stoppage over Pedro Campa. He hopes to become a two-weight world champion in 2023, but the WBO No. 1 junior welterweight contender must first defeat the slippery Spanish southpaw. Martin (40-2, 13 KOs), who hails from Barcelona, authored the 2021 Upset of the Year when he stunned Mikey Garcia by majority decision and sent the four-weight world champion into retirement. Martin, ranked in the top 15 by all four major sanctioning organizations, followed up the Garcia triumph with a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Felix in April.

“We wish Jose Pedraza a speedy recovery, but we look forward to facing Sandor Martin. He was the opponent we originally wanted for Heisman Night at Madison Square Garden,” Lopez said. “I will continue to silence the doubters as I take over the 140-pound division. I look forward to giving my hometown fans a special night of boxing.”

Martin said, “I’ve dreamed of fighting in a main event at Madison Square Garden. This is my time. I’ve taken the risk, and I will take control against Teofimo Lopez on December 10th. I will give the fans what they want to see.”

Lopez-Martin tops a televised quadruple-header airing immediately after the Heisman Trophy Ceremony at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. Heavyweight sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson aims for his 13th straight knockout against the battle-tested Jerry “Slugger” Forrest, Puerto Rican junior middleweight star Xander Zayas steps up in class against 28-fight veteran Alexis Salazar, and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis looks to jumpstart his world title ambitions in a lightweight duel versus Juan Carlos Burgos.

Garcia: ‘I want to pursue big fights, title fights’

Mikey Garcia believes Sandor Martin stands in his way of World title action in 2022 as the four-weight World champion returns to action on Saturday night (October 16) at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, CA, live worldwide on DAZN.

Garcia (40-1 30 KOs) makes a welcome return to action in a catchweight clash at 145lbs with Martin, as the Californian looks to land an eye-catching win to use as a springboard for mega-fights in 2022.

When Garcia steps through the ropes at the home of the Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday night, it will be 596 days since the saw off the challenge of Jessie Vargas in Frisco, Texas in February 2020.

Martin (38-2 13 KOs) has been active over the pandemic, successfully defending his European Super-Lightweight title with a wide decision win over Kay Prospere in Barcelona in April and previously shutting out Nestor Maradiaga over eight in Milan in December – and the southpaw Spaniard will be looking to land a career-best win and catapult himself into contention for the fights that Garcia craves.

In his time out of the ring Garcia was linked with fights with now-retired modern great Manny Pacquiao and former 140lb champion Regis Prograis. Neither fight came to fruition but Garcia knows that getting back into the ring and looking at his best will see him prove that he’s a ‘force to be reckoned with’ and will land him a stellar fight next.

“It’s been a year and a half since my last fight, so I am excited to get back in there,” said Garcia. “I am looking forward to giving my fans a chance to see me again, especially here in Cali, it’s my home state but I haven’t fought much here.

“I want to pursue big fights, title fights, and be recognized as one of the best fighters in the world once again. This is another step in that direction.

“I was interested in Manny and Regis, but we weren’t able to get those fights and we landed on Sandor Martin, and he is a very good fighter. He’s a southpaw, he’s relatively unknown in America but worldwide and in the sport, people know him. He’s got a great record at 38-2, he’s hungry for a big opportunity like this and wants to capitalize on it.

“Sandor knows a win on Saturday would catapult his name into the mix for the fights that I want. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy night at all, but I am planning on fighting the very best Sandor Martin and I am going to show all my skills and show that I am a force to be reckoned with.

“I’ve experienced so many styles in my career, I’ve boxed several southpaws and sparred countless lefties. He’s a tricky one, he uses his height and reach, so I must be prepared to overcome those strengths he has – a good jab, good straight left, his ring generalship is good – so I need to be able to attack properly but also be wary in defense.

“I don’t experience pressure. No matter who I fight I am there to do my job and that’s it – I have already won the fight multiple times in my head and that’s it. You only feel pressure if you are unsure of yourself and I’ve never felt that, so I am confident I will win and look good doing it.”

A stacked undercard in support of the main event is led by WBO World Light-Flyweight king Elwin Soto (19-1 13 KOs) putting his crown on the line against Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1 14 KOs) while San Antonio talent Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (13-0 9 KOs) clashes with Jose Alejandro Burgos (18-4-1 15 KOs).

There’s plenty more young talent on the card as unbeaten Australian Super-Featherweight Brock Jarvis (19-0 17 KOs) fights under the Matchroom banner for the first time against Alejandro Frias Rodriguez (13-4-2 6 KOs), Marc Castro (3-0 3 KOs) fights in his hometown for the first time as a pro, and Diego Pacheco (12-0 9 KOs), Nikita Ababiy (10-0 6 KOs) and Khalil Coe (1-0 1 KO) all looking to add wins to their impressive starts in the pro game.