Kambosos-Hughes, Davis-Patera set for July 22 in Oklahoma

A former king and an emerging prodigy will look to seize the spotlight as part of an action-packed lightweight doubleheader in one of the sport’s most competitive divisions.

Former unified and lineal lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jr. makes his Top Rank debut in a 12-round IBF world title eliminator against English southpaw Maxi Hughes on Saturday, July 22, at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

In the 10-round co-feature, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis takes a seismic step up in class against Belgian contender and former European champion Francesco Patera.

Kambosos-Hughes and Davis-Patera will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“George Kambosos Jr. is still one of the lightweight division’s premier attractions, and he has the chance to get right back to title contention with a win over an upset-minded Maxi Hughes,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Keyshawn Davis, in less than 10 fights, is already a contender and has all the makings of a future superstar. This is a sensational lightweight doubleheader for the fans in Shawnee and everyone watching on ESPN.”

Kambosos (20-2, 10 KOs) is a 10-year pro who has traveled to Malaysia, Greece, London, New York City, Connecticut, and Las Vegas in his efforts to conquer the lightweight division. His wins over former world champions Mickey Bey and Lee Selby helped secure a world title shot against Teofimo Lopez in 2021. In a triumph that was named ESPN’s Upset of the Year, Kambosos toppled Lopez via split decision and captured three lightweight world titles. In 2022, the 29-year-old avoided an easy hometown defense and instead faced Devin Haney in back-to-back undisputed world title showdowns in Melbourne, Australia. Following his first career losses, Kambosos has ambitions of reclaiming his throne, but he’ll first need to get passed Hughes.

“I am extremely excited and motivated to make a serious statement against Maxi Hughes in my return fight in the United States, the Mecca of boxing, live on ESPN and Main Event PPV in Australia,” Kambosos said. “Having fought the best lightweight boxers in the world, I now know I have become an even better fighter and have added further artillery and weapons to my overall fight game. Maxi Hughes is a good boxer, a tough Englishman, and I’m sure he will try his best, but I know and he knows that his best will not be enough. Hughes is not elite, and when you have been in there with elite boxers like I have, you pick up on the mistakes in a boxer like Hughes. I will claim his IBO world title and the IBF world title eliminator position on July 22.”

Hughes (26-5-2, 5 KOs), a 33-year-old veteran hailing from the United Kingdom, debuted in the paid ranks in 2010. He secured his first British title by defeating Ryan Moorhead in 2017. In his second bid for a British strap, he suffered a stoppage loss to Sam Bowen in 2018 before handing Kieron McLaren his first setback the following year. He hasn’t lost since a November 2019 showdown for the WBO European title against Liam Walsh, but he rebounded impressively, winning all seven of his subsequent fights, including a 10-round decision win against then-unbeaten Kazakh standout Viktor Kotochigov in 2020. Hughes is coming off a 12-round majority decision win against former world champion Kid Galahad last September.

“I’m excited to realize my dream of fighting in the USA and to showcase my skills to a new audience,” Hughes said. “I’ll do what’s necessary to get the win.”

Davis (8-0, 6 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, went 3-0 in the pro ranks before capturing a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In November 2021, he signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank and has since scored five victories, including brutal knockouts against Esteban Sanchez and Omar Tienda. In his most recent outing, the 24-year-old outclassed and battered Anthony Yigit en route to a ninth-round TKO. Davis looks to continue his rapid lightweight ascent against his stiffest test to date.

“I belong with all the top lightweights, and Patera is the next one in the way. And just like my eight opponents before him, Patera will have no answer for what I’m bringing to the table,” Davis said. “This is going to be a brutal night for him, however long it lasts.”

Patera (28-3, 10 KOs) is an eight-year pro from Belgium. In May 2016, he challenged for his first European title, dropping a unanimous decision to Yvan Mendy. He bounced back that year with a TKO win over Csaba Bolcskei in September before suffering a close decision loss to Sean Dodd the following month. Patera then notched wins over Pasquale Di Silvio and Edis Tatli before losing a rematch to Tatli in December 2017. Since then, the 30-year-old has won 10 straight fights and is coming off a first-round knockout against Irakli Shariashvili in April.

“I am coming to Shawnee to put on a spectacular performance, defeat Keyshawn Davis, and show everyone that I belong on the world stage,” Patera said.

The ESPN+-streamed undercard will feature the ring returns of welterweight contender Giovani Santillan, Oklahoma-born heavyweight Jeremiah Milton and middleweight prospect Troy Isley.

Santillan (30-0, 16 KOs) will face Ecuadorian contender Erick Bone (27-6, 14 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight battle. He is coming off his best year yet as a pro, stopping Jeovanis Barraza in April 2022 before a hometown win over Julio Luna Avila in San Diego last August. Bone is an experienced veteran who has given tough challenges to former world champions Shawn Porter, Chris Algieri, Miguel Vazquez and Sergey Lipinets.

Milton (9-0, 6 KOs) will make his second appearance in 2023 in an eight-round heavyweight tilt. The 29-year-old is no stranger to fighting in Oklahoma, having fought four times in his hometown of Tulsa. Milton is coming off an eight-round decision win over Fabio Maldonado in April.

Isley (9-0, 4 KOs) will fight in an eight-rounder. The 24-year-old U.S. Olympian joined the Top Rank stable in January 2021 and started his pro career with a decision win against Bryant Costello. In 2022, he stayed busy and went 5-0 with two knockouts. In April, on the Shakur Stevenson-Shuichiro Yoshino card, he notched a near-shutout over Roy Barringer.

Two competitive eight-round heavyweight matchups will also be featured on the ESPN+-streamed portion.

American contender Mike Balogun (20-1, 16 KOs) will collide against New Zealand’s Hemi Ahio (20-1, 15 KOs). Balogun is a former Oklahoma University linebacker who is coming back from a loss to former cruiserweight world champion Murat Gassiev, while Ahio stopped Richie Stanley in the first round in February.

Unbeaten Cleveland southpaw Roney Hines (12-0-1, 8 KOs) will face Belgium’s Michael Pirotton (7-0, 3 KOs).

Lopez: ‘I want all their belts’

On Saturday, IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) went on the road again and scored a fifth-round TKO over Michael “Mick” Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) at The SSE Arena in Conlan’s hometown of Belfast.

Lopez, 29, made the first defense of his crown after capturing the title from Josh Warrington in enemy territory in Leeds, England.

Unfortunately for Conlan, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, his second attempt at a world title falls short. 

Conlan, 31, had some moments in this fight, but Lopez really had no problems landing, and things started to fall apart for Conlan in the third round as Lopez timed an uppercut that hurt him and sent him against the ropes.

In the fifth round, the fight ended as Conlan, who tried to avoid a hook, ran into a right uppercut that immediately floored him, forcing his corner to throw in the towel.

“I hope all the world champions at the featherweight division are ready for ‘Venado’ Lopez,” Lopez said after the win. “I’m coming for all of them. I want all their belts. One by one, I’m taking all their belts with me to Mexico.”

Conlan had nothing but respect for the Mexican star.

“Lopez had my respect before the fight and still has my respect after the fight,” Conlan said. “He hits very hard. He just beat me. He travels well and is a great champion.”

In other action:

Featherweights: English contender Nick Ball (18-0, 11 KOs) defended his WBC Silver title with a 12th-round TKO win over South Africa’s Ludumo Lamati (21-1-1, 11 KOs). Lamati’s six-inch height advantage posed issues for Ball in the first two rounds of the fight, but by the third and fourth, Ball began closing the distance with ease. Once inside, the 26-year-old landed vicious combinations, and Lamati’s corner stopped the bout in the latter stages of the final round.

Junior Lightweights: Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs) scored a 12-round unanimous decision win against Polish contender Damian Wrzesinski (26-3-2, 7 KOs). Despite Wrzesinski’s aggression, Cacace’s reach and height advantages allowed him to land harder and more consistently from his southpaw stance. Cacace is now 6-0 since suffering his first loss in 2017 against Martin J Ward. Scores: 118-111, 117-111 and 116-112.

Junior Welterweights: Irish standout Pierce O’Leary (12-0, 7 KOs) defended his WBC International belt with a first-round stoppage over Florin Ciorceri (17-4, 7 KOs). O’Leary dropped Ciorceri with a left hook, then finished things up with a savage follow-up attack. Time of stoppage: 1:11.

Haney defeats Lomachenko by unanimous decision

To some, the decision was controversial; for others, it was fine, but in the end, Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) retained his undisputed lightweight crown with a controversial unanimous decision victory against Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Judge Dave Moretti scored the fight 116-112; Tim Cheathem and David Sutherland both had it 115-113.

This fight had many close rounds. You could have scored this fight in so many different ways. The two definitive rounds were Rounds 10 and 11, and those rounds clearly were Lomachenko rounds. However, Moretti gave Round 10 to Haney. 

Going into Round 12, Lomachenko trailed on all three scorecards. By three points on Moretti’s card and one point on the other two cards, so if Lomachenko won the 12th round, he would have walked away with a majority draw. Haney appeared to have won the 12th round, but it was close again, like most of the rounds.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Devin Haney (L) and Vasiliy Lomachenko (R) exchange punches during their Undisputed lightweight championship fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After 12 rounds, Lomachenko(124/564), who fought hard from start to finish, threw more punches and outlanded Haney110/405). Throughout the fight, Lomachenko had success in landing combination punches, and Haney had success with his jab and going to the body. 

Haney said the following after the win:

“Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer. It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans.

“He’s a crafty fighter. He turns it up in the championship rounds. I just have to take my hat off to him. He’s a great fighter.

“This is all experience. Me and my team are going to go back to the house, watch the fight and reflect on it. I’ve been at 135 for a long, long time. This is my 30th fight. I’ve been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We’re going to go back to the lab and figure out what’s next.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Vasiliy Lomachenko (L) and Devin Haney (R) exchange punches during their Undisputed lightweight championship fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Lomachenko, who, like many of the fans in the building, disagreed with the decision, says this fight showed that the 35-year-old is still a factor in boxing.

 “I don’t want to talk about [the decision],” Lomachenko said. “All the people saw what happened today.

“Before, I thought he would be better. He’s a tough fighter. He’s a good fighter. But he’s not a pound-for-pound fighter.

 “I think I showed that I can still be in boxing. I’m in good shape now. And see you next time.”

This fight was many things, but it was not a robbery. It could have gone either way. If you say Loma won, I would not argue, and vice-versa. Lomachenko proved that he still has a lot left in the tank, and the 24-year-old Haney showed he has a championship heart. 

We’ll see if Haney stays at 135; he said after the fight that it’s tough to make the weight, but the most significant fights for him are in that division against Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson called Haney out after the fight, and it should be interesting to see how Haney proceeds.

No matter what happens next, we got a great night of boxing in Las Vegas.

Haney on Loma: ‘I feel like he should have fought me four years ago’

Devin “The Dream” Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is set to defend his undisputed lightweight championship against Ukraine’s three-division world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) this Saturday, May 20, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Haney vs. Lomachenko will stream live on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV, the event’s exclusive digital distributor in the United States, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Priced at $59.99 across all distributors, it also will be available via cable and satellite pay-per-view providers.

The PPV undercard features a 10-round junior lightweight co-feature between two-division world champion Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) and Adam “BluNose” Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs) in a rematch of their 2019 battle.

In the PPV opener, rising lightweight Raymond “Danger” Muratalla (17-0, 14 KOs) will take on big-punching Namibian contender Jeremia Nakathila (23-2, 19 KOs) in a 10-round clash.

At Wednesday’s press conference, this is what Haney and Loma had to say:

Devin Haney

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 17: Bill Haney speaks during the Devin Haney vs Vasiliy Lomachenko – PPV Press Conference at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“I feel like he should have fought me four years ago. But now the time has come. It’s going to be worse for him than it would have been had we fought back then.”

“On paper, this is my toughest test. But I look to make it an easy night. I look to make it as easy as possible and come out victorious.”

“I have been calling for this fight for four years. But the time has finally come. I take my hat off to him. I respect everything that he’s done. I respect his decision to stay and defend his country. That gave me my shot to go to Australia, so it was only right that I give him the shot as well.”

“I know what he is preparing for. But at the end of the day, we’re prepared for whatever he brings to the table. If he wants to make it a dirty fight, we have answers for that.”

Vasiliy Lomachenko

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 17: Vasiliy Lomachenko laughs during the press conference ahead of his May 20 Undisputed lightweight championship fight with Devin Haney, at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Camp was hard like always. But I was very motivating. It was motivating because I understand. It is my last chance to become undisputed. So, I pushed myself in every training session. And now there are just four days left.”

“He talks about the past, but It’s hard to say things about the past. You can’t change it. Even if you talk about it, you can’t change it. Only God can change it.”

“He is a high-level boxer. He understands boxing. He knows what he needs to do. He can use his reach. He can use his feet. He can create distance. But I have a lot of experience in this sport. It will be very interesting for me.”

Amado Fernando Vargas returns on Janibek-Butler undercard

Undefeated featherweight prospect Amado Fernando Vargas is set to return in a four-rounder on the May 13 undercard of the world championship doubleheader featuring undefeated Kazakh phenom Janikbek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly defending his WBO middleweight world title in the main event against Canadian contender Steven Butler at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.

In the co-feature, Australian fan-favorite Jason “Mayhem” Moloney will face big-punching Filipino contender Vincent Astrolabio for the vacant WBO bantamweight world title.

Janibek-Butler and Moloney-Astrolabio will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Vargas’ bout will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+.

Vargas (6-0, 2 KOs) is a 22-year-old prospect who made his pro debut in 2021 with a first-round knockout against Hector Montijo Molina in Mexico. In 2022, he made his U.S. debut by defeating Anel Mudo via four-round unanimous decision in May and ended the year with a points victory against Osmar Olmos Hernandez in November. In his last fight, Vargas decisioned Printice Canada over four rounds in April. Trained by his father, former world champion Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas, he is one of three boxing brothers, along with older sibling Fernando Jr. and younger brother and Top Rank-signed lightweight Emiliano.

Moloney-Nakatani, Nico Ali Walsh added to Haney-Lomachenko undercard

A world title fight and the grandson of “The Greatest” take center stage on Saturday, May 20 as part of the ESPN-televised prelims to the PPV main event headlined by undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney’s title defense against former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The two-fight telecast is headlined by the vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title showdown between Australia’s former world champion Andrew Moloney and Japan’s undefeated former WBO flyweight titlist Junto Nakatani.

Opening the broadcast will be undefeated middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali, in a scheduled eight-rounder against a to-be-determined foe.

Moloney-Nakatani and Ali Walsh’s return will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The Haney vs. Lomachenko main card will stream live on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV, the event’s exclusive digital distributor in the United States, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Additionally, it will be available via cable and satellite pay-per-view providers and is priced at $59.99 across all distributors.

The PPV undercard features a 10-round junior lightweight co-feature between two-division world champion Oscar Valdez and Adam “BluNose” Lopez in a rematch of their 2019 battle.

In the PPV opener, rising lightweight Raymond “Danger” Muratalla will take on big-punching Namibian contender Jeremia Nakathila in a 10-round clash.

Moloney (25-2, 16 KOs) hopes to become a two-time world champion in the city where Joshua Franco upset him by unanimous decision back in June 2020. The two fought twice more, with a controversial no contest and second Franco decision victory closing the chapter on their trilogy. Following the third Franco fight in August 2021, Moloney regrouped in December 2021 with a clear points victory over Froilan Saludar. In 2022, he fought three times, including a pair of homecoming appearances on the Devin Haney-George Kambosos Jr. cards in Melbourne, Australia. Moloney, ranked No. 2 by the WBO at 115 pounds, earned the title shot with a 10-round decision over Norbelto Jimenez last October for the WBO International strap.

WBO No. 1 junior bantamweight contender Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), a 25-year-old southpaw from Inabe-gun, Mie, Japan, ranks among the hardest lighter-weight punchers in boxing. An eight-year pro, Nakatani captured the vacant WBO flyweight world title in November 2020 with an eighth-round knockout over Giemel Magramo. Nakatani defended his flyweight crown twice, bloodying and stopping Angel Acosta in four rounds and knocking out Ryota Yamauchi in eight. He vacated his title to move up to junior bantamweight and scored a one-sided decision over former unified world champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr. last November.

Ali Walsh (8-0, 5 KOs) moves up to his first scheduled eight-rounder nearly two years removed from his pro debut. He made his Las Vegas debut last April at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, obliterating Alejandro Ibarra with a left-right combination in the first round. Ali Walsh righted the only blemish on his record last August, stopping Reyes Sanchez in the second round of their rematch with a body shot. Sanchez lost a majority decision to Ali Walsh in December 2021. He made his 2023 debut in February, outlasting the rugged Eduardo Ayala en route to a convincing six-round unanimous decision.

Stevenson: ‘Just tell all those other lightweights to get ready’

Undefeated former two-weight world champion Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs looked bigger, stronger, and dominated in his debut at 135 and secured his shot at the WBC lightweight title with a commanding sixth-round TKO against Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino (16-1, 12 KOs) Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd at Newark’s Prudential Center.

Stevenson put on a show in front of 10,408 fans(Highest grossing boxing event in Prudential Center history). He stood toe-to-toe with Yoshino and ultimately broke him down.

After feeling each other out in the first round, Stevenson went to work in the second round as he dropped Yoshino, who questioned Stevenson’s power before the fight, with a short left hand; the Newark native would drop Yoshino again in the fourth with a beautiful three-punch combo.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 08: Shakur Stevenson (L) knocks-down Shuichiro Yoshino (R) during their lightweight fight at Prudential Center on April 08, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“He felt my power,” Stevenson said. “I sat down on a couple punches and dropped him. Honestly, I wanted the ref to let it go on a little bit longer. I had just caught my second wind. I was going to put him out.

The 25-year-old was punishing Yoshino, and fortunately, referee Allen Huggins stopped the action at 1:35 of the sixth.

Stevenson is a problem for anybody at 135, including undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, who has a big fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20 in Las Vegas. 

“Just tell all those other lightweights to get ready,” Stevenson said. “I’m waiting for them. I can’t wait for them to finish the fights they’ve got going on, and then it’s my turn.

“Tell him [Devin Haney] to come on. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I swear to God. I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. Me and Devin been in the ring with each other for years. I always got the best of Devin. Tell him, ‘Come on.’”

Because of how gifted and difficult he is to fight, Stevenson will have a hard time getting fights. Many contenders at 135 had an opportunity to fight Stevenson, and they all passed. Expect that to continue after this performance from Stevenson.

Taylor-Lopez set for June 10 at MSG

Undefeated junior welterweight king Josh Taylor will defend his WBO and Ring Magazine titles against former lightweight kingpin Teofimo Lopez Saturday, June 10 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Taylor-Lopez will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“This is a super fight on both sides of the pond, the junior welterweight king in Josh Taylor stepping up against the young, dynamic Teofimo Lopez,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I cannot wait for these two supreme talents to step into the Madison Square Garden ring. It’s going to be a special night.”

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs), “The Tartan Tornado,” is the former undisputed junior welterweight champion, having collected all four major titles in a remarkable four-fight run that included wins over Ivan Baranchyk, Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez. He debuted in the paid ranks in 2015 and captured a Commonwealth title in his second year before defeating fellow unbeaten prospect Ohara Davies via seventh-round TKO. The 32-year-old then beat former world champions Miguel Vazquez and Viktor Postol before entering the World Boxing Super Series in 2018. Taylor stopped then-undefeated contender Ryan Martin via TKO before capturing his first world title with a decision victory over Baranchyk. His wins over Prograis and Ramirez left no doubt as to the world’s supreme 140-pound practitioner. Taylor returns more than one year after his last performance, a competitive split decision nod over Jack Catterall.

Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) is the former unified and lineal lightweight champion of the world. In December 2019, he captured the IBF title with an explosive second-round knockout of Richard Commey. The following October, he bested pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko to win the WBA, WBO, and WBC Franchise titles.

Thirteen months later, he lost the belts via shocking split decision to George Kambosos Jr. The 25-year-old then made his junior welterweight debut in August 2022 by stopping Pedro Campa in the seventh round. Last December, Lopez edged Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin by split decision. Before becoming world champion, he was the buzz of the boxing world with highlight-reel knockouts over Diego Magdaleno and Mason Menard. Lopez now has his sights set on another southpaw and hopes to become the sport’s latest two-division ruler.

Photos: Shakur Stevenson returns to his former high school in Newark

Shakur Stevenson, Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson and Keyshawn Davis visited Central High School ahead of Saturday’s ESPN-televised tripleheader at Prudential Center.

It was a special homecoming for Newark native Stevenson, who attended Central High School as a youngster before representing Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he captured a silver medal.

The three were on hand to share insights from their respective boxing journeys. They also took photos and signed memorabilia for the students in attendance.

In Saturday’s main event, Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) will face Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator.

Heavyweight knockout artist Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs) takes on fellow unbeaten George Arias (18-0, 7 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), a U.S. Olympic silver medalist, will meet his stiffest challenge yet in the 10-round lightweight televised opener against former title challenger Anthony Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KOs).

Stevenson-Yoshino, Anderson-Arias & Davis-Yigit will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Photos: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Featherweight contender Ruben Villa signs with Top Rank

Featherweight contender Ruben “Drac” Villa, the 25-year-old southpaw dynamo from Salinas, California, has inked a multi-fight promotional contract with Top Rank. Villa will make his long-awaited ring return in an eight-rounder Saturday, May 13, on the undercard of the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Steven Butler WBO middleweight title fight at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.

“Ruben Villa has everything it takes to become a world champion,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He’s a young, talented southpaw who has already tested himself at the sport’s highest level. His future is very bright.”

“I have always dreamed of fighting on ESPN consistently and being with Top Rank to make the big fights,” Villa said. “I want to win a world title and to do it as soon as possible. I look forward to fighting in Stockton, where my hometown fans will be out in full force.”

Villa (19-1, 6 KOs) turned pro in 2016 and captured the WBO International featherweight strap in May 2019 with a unanimous decision over Luis Alberto Lopez, who is now the IBF featherweight world champion. Four months after toppling Lopez, he pitched a shutout over top Mexican contender Jose Enrique Vivas.

Those victories helped earn him a shot at Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO featherweight world title in October 2020. Navarrete dropped Villa in the first and fourth rounds, but Villa outboxed Navarrete for long stretches. The two knockdowns were critical, as Navarrete notched a unanimous decision by scores of 114-112 2x and 115-111. Villa has fought once since the Navarrete loss, knocking out Horacio Garcia in the ninth round last April.