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.

Estrada: ‘I believe I am the best fighter at minimumweight, light flyweight, and flyweight’

 After nearly 11 months out of the ring, Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada is ready to make up for lost time. Estrada, who signed a long-term promotional pact with Top Rank earlier this year, will defend her WBA minimumweight world title Saturday against Jazmin Gala Villarino at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Estrada-Villarino will serve as the co-feature to the WBO middleweight world title fight between reigning champion Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly and British challenger Denzel Bentley

Alimkhanuly-Bentley, Estrada-Villarino, and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Estrada (22-0, 9 KOs), a two-weight world champion from East Lost Angeles, is ranked No. 7 on the ESPN.com pound-for-pound list. Before her recent layoff, Estrada had a banner 2021, going 3-0 while winning a pair of world titles. Last December, she knocked down the previously unbeaten Maria Micheo Santizo twice en route to a fourth-round stoppage.

As fight week kicks off, this is what “Super Bad” had to say from her Los Angeles training camp:

“Jazmin is a tough opponent, and I know any fight can be dangerous. She’s fighting in America for the first time and is coming in as the underdog. This is her opportunity to become a champion, and I am not taking her lightly. I always prepare to be the best ‘Super Bad’ I can be.”

“This is my first fight with Top Rank, and it’s the perfect time in women’s boxing to be with Top Rank and to fight on the ESPN platform. I’ve had a nearly 11-month layoff, and I felt like I was missing out on all the incredible things happening in the sport. I want to be the best and stay active. Now I’m happy to be back and hopefully go for those big unification fights that I’ve wanted and ultimately become an undisputed champion.”

“Growing up, I didn’t have a role model to look up to in women’s boxing. Being in a position where I can inspire younger women is great. It makes all of my struggles worth it. That’s what I do it for, to inspire the next generation of women who want to accomplish great things.”

“I believe I am the best fighter at minimumweight, light flyweight, and flyweight. My goal is to conquer all three divisions. I want to win all the belts at 105, then go to 108 and 112.”

Photo: Mikey WIlliams/Top Rank Boxing

Loma wants to be undisputed at 135

After being out of the ring for ten months, former three-weight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who at one point, was fighting in a war for his home country Ukraine while he was away from the ring, made his return Saturday night against Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs) at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko started slow but took over late in the fight to defeat Ortiz by unanimous decision. 

The three judges had it 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111, all for Loma.

Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Ortiz was the aggressor early in the fight as he utilized his jab, which caused some bruising under Loma’s right eye.  After six rounds, Ortiz and Lomachenko were even on two scorecards, but Ortiz was ahead by two points on the other.

However, Loma controlled the fight from there, and two of the judges had Lomachenko sweeping the final six rounds. Overall, Lomachenko outlanded Ortiz 125-122.

“I’m happy. I’m happy to come back in the ring and make this a great show,” Lomachenko said. “Thank you to my fans for the support. You know what motivated me? Four belts!”

Now, Loma(17-2, 11 KOs) has his sights set on a fight with undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, who was in attendance Saturday night. 

Midway through Lomachenko’s post-fight interview, he was joined in the ring by Haney, who expressed his desire to fight Loma next.

Haney felt this was not Loma’s best performance, which is true, but he expects to see a better version of the Ukrainian superstar if the two were to fight.

“I think it wasn’t the best performance, but I know if me and Loma were to fight, we’d see a better version on the night,” Haney said. “Congratulations, and hopefully, we can get it on.”

Top Rank’s Bob Arum wants Haney-Lomachenko and will do everything he can to make it happen.

“The fight to make in the lightweight division is Haney versus Lomachenko,” Arum said. “And we will do everything we can to make the undisputed championship showdown that all fight fans want to see. They are the world’s premier lightweights, and it would be a fantastic battle.”

Haney-Loma would be a quality fight, but you have to favor Haney at this point. He’s the bigger and younger guy; at this point, who knows how many great nights Loma has in his 35-year-old body. Defeating Ortiz was a good win Loma, but Haney will be much more demanding.

Ramirez gets it done:

Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs) wants a featherweight title shot, and he may get it soon. The two-time Olympic gold medalist steamrolled late replacement Jose Matias Romero (26-3, 9 KOs) via ninth-round TKO to retain his USBA and WBO Global belts. Ramirez had his man his trouble in the first and seventh rounds, but the Argentina native refused to relent. In the ninth, Ramirez uncorked a left hand that staggered Romero and ended the one-way carnage.

Ramirez outlanded Romero in power punches, 129-32, including a 19-3 advantage in the ninth round. He is now targeting a featherweight world title shot in early 2023.

“We know that Matias is a fighter who is slick, who knows how to survive inside the ring, and that was his plan. I hurt him early, but then we tried to get him out early. And then, Ismael Salas, who is my strategist… he is a chess master. He’s moving the pieces in there, and finally we were able to do it properly and get him out of there,” Ramirez said. “I think the result speaks for itself. I got the stoppage, sent a message, and in the end, if {Emanuel} Navarrete is no longer the champion at 126 pounds, if he’s fighting Oscar Valdez for the championship at 130 pounds, then I got next at 126, and I want that belt.”

In undercard action:

Heavyweight: Richard Torrez Jr. (4-0, 4 KOs) TKO 3 Ahmed Hefny (13-3, 5 KOs). In the evening’s final preliminary bout, Torrez joined his Olympic teammates in the win column. After a second-round stoppage and a pair of first-round knockouts to start his pro career, Torrez saw the third round for the first time. Hefny was knocked down with a left hand in the second, and the onslaught continued in the third until referee Arthur Mercante stepped in.

Featherweight: Duke Ragan (8-0, 1 KO) UD Luis Lebron (18-5-1, 11 KOs), Scores: 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75. U.S. Olympic silver medalist Ragan did what he does best, which is to use his well-schooled defense to offset his hard-charging foe. Lebron, the Puerto Rican power puncher, was never deterred, if not effective. The Garden crowd booed the verdict, but Cincinnati’s Ragan did more than enough to seal the victory on the judges’ cards.

Middleweight: Troy Isley (8-0, 4 KOs) UD 8 Quincy Lavallais (14-4-1, 9 KOs), Scores: 80-72 2x and 79-73. Isley passed his first eight-round test with flying colors, nearly shutting out Lavallais, a six-year pro known for his iron chin.

Junior Welterweight: Tiger Johnson (6-0, 4 KOs) UD 6 Esteban Garcia (15-2, 7 KOs), Scores: 60-54 3x. Johnson’s three-bout knockout streak ended, but the Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympian gained much-needed experience in going the six-round distance for the first time in his career.

Middleweight: Nico Ali Walsh (7-0, 5 KOs) UD 6 Billy Wagner (5-3, 1 KO), Scores: 58-56 2x and 59-55. Ali Walsh received a lot of resistance from Montana native Wagner, who weathered an early storm and even appeared to stun the grandson of “The Greatest” at the end of the second round. Wagner could not sustain his early success, as Ali Walsh pressed forward in the final two rounds to secure the narrow victory.

Lightweight: Abdullah Mason (5-0, 4 KOs) TKO 4 Angel Barrera (4-1), :21. Southpaw sensation Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, fought well beyond his years with a methodical and devastating beatdown of Barrera. Mason notched a pair of knockdowns in the third round, the first coming courtesy of a straight left hand. Early in the fourth, a sweeping left compelled referee Johnny Callas to wave off the fight.

Junior Lightweight: Haven Brady Jr. (8-0, 4 KOs) UD 8 Eric Mondragon (7-1-1, 4 KOs), Scores: 79-73 2x and 78-74. In a battle of unbeatens, Brady authored the most significant win of his career, picking apart the California-born Mondragon with an assortment of jabs and uppercuts.

Emiliano Vargas, son of Fernando Vargas, signs with Top Rank

Lightweight prodigy Emiliano “El General” Vargas, the youngest fighting son of former junior middleweight world champion “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas and one of boxing’s blue-chip talents, has inked a multi-year promotional contract with Top Rank.

Trained by his father, Vargas (1-0, 1 KO) is a seven-time national amateur champion who turned 18 in April. The Las Vegas native will make his Top Rank debut in a four-rounder Saturday, Nov. 12, at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on the undercard of the Janibek Alimkhanuly/Seniesa Estrada world title doubleheader. Vargas’ bout will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.

“I can’t wait to fight. Like my dad says, ‘El legado Vargas continúa.’ The legacy is everything, but at the same time, I am here to write my own story and make my family proud. This is my legacy as much as my dad’s. This is something that is so deeply embedded in my family and as a Mexican. I want to be a Fernando Vargas, a Julio Cesar Chavez. There is something so beautiful about a whole country having your back. I’m proud of my roots. I can’t wait to perform and have the fans embrace me just like they embraced my dad.

“It’s about how I perform, but Top Rank will help me get to that next level.”

Vargas had a 110-10 record in the unpaid ranks before turning pro in May to great fanfare. He knocked out Mark Salgado in the opening round at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, a short drive from his father’s Oxnard hometown. He is part of a second-generation fighting family that includes his older brothers, Fernando Jr. and Amado, who are also undefeated professionals. The youngest Vargas has experiences well beyond his years, as he’s sparred former world champions Jorge Linares and Jamel Herring, in addition to current pound-for-pound great Shakur Stevenson.

Baumgardner: ‘I landed the cleaner shots, the harder shots’

There was a lot of trash-talking leading up to the fight between Alycia Baumgardner and Mikaela Mayer; it was clear both fighters did not have much love for each other.

Fortunately for the fans, this lived up to the hype.

Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KOs) defeated Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs) by split decision to unify the WBC, WBO, IBF, and Ring Magazine junior lightweight titles Saturday evening at The O2 Arena in London.

Baumgardner won with two scores of 96-95, while one judge gave the nod to Mayer(97-93).

Baumgardner and Mayer initiated the bout by calmly boxing from the outside, using her legs to move left and right when necessary and countering Mayer’s offense with short hooks and overhand rights around her guard.

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In the fourth and fifth rounds, Mayer started to get her rhythm and landed more jabs and even landed a set of consecutive straight right hands. It was clear that the Olympian needed to increase the intensity of the fight to win some rounds. However, Baumgardner got her second wind and began landing more power shots in the later rounds, while Mayer landed more jabs and occasional right hands.

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

It was a very close fight, and according to Baumgardner, she did enough to win.

“I just want to first thank my lord, Jesus Christ, for blessing me and getting me through this moment,” Baumgardner said. “I worked my ass off to get here. Like I said before, my steps were ordained. I’ve claimed this. I’ve received it. I practiced this speech and what I was going to say.

“I landed the cleaner shots, the harder shots. I had her cut above her forehead. I was the harder puncher. I dug deep.” 

Mayer felt she did enough to get the nod and believes the fans would agree

“I’m really confident that I won that fight,” Mayer said. “She was defeated. I saw it in her eyes. She was tired. She knows she lost the fight. She was shocked by the decision. She got lucky. I think the crowd believes that I won that fight. I took control of the fight from the second round on, for sure. At the very least, I won seven rounds clearly. I felt like I had it. I hope that she gives me a rematch. I think I deserve it, and I feel that the fans want to see it.”

Mayer wants the rematch, but Baumgardner has other plans.

“That girl ain’t getting no rematch,” Baumgardner said. “I’m going after Choi [Hyun-Mi], like I said. Undisputed is what I claimed. It’s what I’m going to do.”

A rematch should happen, but Baumgardner has options, and it looks like, for now, she will explore those options.

Janibek Alimkhanuly: ‘(Jermall)Charlo would be easy work for me, and he knows that’

Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KOs) was officially named WBO middleweight world champion after the organization’s previous champion, Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, elected to leave the division instead of making a mandatory defense against Janibek.

According to Top Rank, Janibek will make the first defense of his world title later this year on ESPN.

Janibek (12-0, 8 KOs) made his Top Rank debut as a 2-0 prospect in 2018 and quickly moved up the ranks with victories over Vaughn Alexander, Steven Martinez, and Albert Onolunose. He broke through in 2021 with one-sided knockouts over former world champions Rob Brant and Hassan N’Dam.

In May, Janibek fought Danny Dignum for the interim WBO middleweight title after multiple prospective opponents turned down the opportunity. Janibek knocked out Dignum in the second round. 

“I would pick Janibek over any middleweight in the world,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He is a southpaw with tremendous power and will reign over the division for a very long time.”

This is what the new WBO middleweight world champion had to say:

On being the WBO Middleweight champion:

“I am honored to be the first WBO world champion from Kazakhstan. As middleweight champion, I will represent my nation with great pride.”

On Andrade:

“Demetrius Andrade had no interest in fighting me. I wanted to fight him because I know I would knock him out. He ran away to super middleweight to avoid fighting me. But don’t worry, Demetrius. After I unify the belts at middleweight, we can fight.”

On Jermall Charlo:

“I’d have no issue fighting Jermall Charlo for his WBC title. We are both champions, so let’s unify the belts. Charlo would be easy work for me, and he knows that. Champions should fight other champions. It’s too bad the other so-called ‘champions’ do not feel that way.”

Keyshawn Davis to battle Omar Tienda on Stevenson-Conceição card

Norfolk’s Olympic silver medal star, Keyshawn Davis, now has an opponent for his long-awaited ring return. Davis, who shined for Team USA last summer in Tokyo, will fight Mexican veteran Omar Tienda in an eight-round lightweight showdown Friday, Sept. 23, at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Davis-Tienda will be the co-feature to WBC/WBO junior lightweight world champion Shakur Stevenson’s hometown title defense against Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição.

Stevenson-Conceição and Davis-Tienda will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT— features an eight-round junior lightweight bout between unbeaten prospect Henry “Moncho” Lebron and Andy “El Tiburon” Vences.

Davis (5-0, 4 KOs) is back following April’s sixth-round TKO over Esteban Sanchez on the Oscar Valdez-Stevenson card. His proposed July bout against Jair Valtierra was postponed, but with a clean bill of health, Davis seeks to make waves once again before Stevenson takes center stage. Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs), from Guadalupe, Mexico, has won seven straight fights — all by knockout — since a 2017 decision loss to Dennis Galarza. His only stoppage defeat came in his seventh pro fight back in 2013.

Lebron (16-0, 10 KOs), from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, ranks among his island nation’s top prospects, but he’s looking to notch a signature victory. In his last outing, he won a clear eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Lebron (no relation). Vences (23-3-1, 12 KOs) is a 10-year pro from San Jose, California, who has battled a slew of top-rated fighters. His July 2020 split decision defeat to Luis Alberto Lopez — now the IBF No. 1 featherweight contender — ranked among the year’s best action fights. He makes his comeback little more than one year removed from a majority decision loss to former world title challenger Jono Carroll.

In other undercard action, Shakur Stevenson protégé Antoine Cobb (1-0-1, 1 KO) will fight an immediate rematch against Jaylan Phillips (1-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at welterweight. Cobb and Phillips fought to a crowd-pleasing draw April 30 on the Valdez-Stevenson undercard.

The undercard is also scheduled to include the following bouts:

Jahi Tucker (8-0, 5 KOs) vs. Jose Luis Sanchez (11-2-1, 4 KOs), 8 rounds, welterweight
 
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Jose Argel (9-4, 3 KOs), 6 rounds, featherweight
 
Armani Almestica (6-0, 6 KOs) vs. Omar Urieta (3-1-1, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, lightweight
 
Pablo Valdez (6-0, 5 KOs) vs. Noe Alejandro Lopez (11-5-1, 4 KOs), 6 rounds, welterweight
 
Orlando Gonzalez (18-1, 11 KOs) vs. Misael Lopez (13-1, 5 KOs), 8 rounds, featherweight
 
Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (6-0, 2 KOs) vs. Eduardo Diogo (3-0, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, junior featherweight

Photo/courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Haney-Kambosos 2 set for October 15 in Melbourne

Undisputed lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney will defend all the belts against Sydney native “Ferocious” George Kambosos Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 15 (Sunday afternoon, Oct. 16 local time), at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Haney-Kambosos 2 will be broadcast in prime time in the United States, live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+.

Haney and Kambosos first tangled June 5 in Melbourne as a Victoria-record boxing crowd of 41,129 fans packed Marvel Stadium to watch the world’s best lightweights unify the division. Haney neutralized Kambosos and earned a clear points verdict to become the undisputed champion.

Promoted by Top Rank, Devin Haney Promotions, DiBella Entertainment, Ferocious Promotions, Duco Events, and TEG Sport, Haney-Kambosos 2 will feature a world-class undercard, and a pumped up Kambosos hell-bent on revenge. Tickets to this epic rematch will go on-sale on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 10 am AEST via tegsport.com.au.

“George Kambosos is quiet right now like he should have been before our first fight. I wish him a healthy training camp,” Haney said. “I’m expecting a hungry and determined Kambosos on October 16th in Melbourne. I will be prepared for any adjustment he brings. This is a great opportunity to gain more Aussie fans and add to my legacy.”

“Devin Haney is a special fighter, but you can never count out George Kambosos Jr., especially when his most ardent supporters will be out in full force,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “These are the two best lightweights in the world, and it will be another memorable event in Melbourne.”

Kambosos said, “I am looking forward to October 16th at Rod Laver Arena, and that’s where I will do my talking. Inside the ring.”

“George Kambosos Jr. is again the hungry challenger, chasing Devin Haney’s belts, with a chance to regain it all on home soil,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Kambosos-Haney 1 was the Devin Haney show. George is going to have to fight a completely different fight to get that victory, and he knows it. That alone assures an action-packed rematch. The odds are against George. He needs to defy the odds yet again.”

“With almost half of the crowd from the first fight hailing from outside Victoria, we look forward to welcoming boxing fans back to Melbourne to watch what will be an epic rematch, ” said Steve Dimopoulos, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events. “We’re delivering a spectacular calendar of the biggest and best events – drawing more visitors to Victoria, more often and supporting businesses across the state.”

Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) returns to Melbourne intent on repeating his fistic masterclass, a victory that propelled him up the mythical pound-for-pound rankings. “The Dream” has been a history-making phenom since turning professional in Mexico less than one month after his 17th birthday. He made his U.S. debut in Las Vegas on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley III undercard in April 2016, and at 19, he became the youngest licensed promoter in boxing history. He was awarded the WBC world championship in October 2019 and defended that belt four times before taking the 8,000-plus mile journey to battle Kambosos in his homeland. Haney overcame adversity, as his father/trainer, Bill Haney, was granted a temporary visa by the Australian government less than three days before the fight. Bill Haney arrived in Melbourne the evening before the bout, and the dynamic father-son duo made undisputed magic whilst stripping Kambosos of his three world title belts.

Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) became the toast of the sport with his decision verdict over Teofimo Lopez last November, which was named ESPN’s Upset of the Year. It was the culmination of a hard-fought journey for Kambosos. He fought in Malaysia, Greece, London, New York City, Connecticut, and Las Vegas as he graduated from prospect to contender. For Kambosos, who had 12 of his first 13 pro fights in Australia, the Haney super fight marked one of the most significant international sporting events to take place in Melbourne. He entered the fight as the slight underdog, but Haney was unfazed by the army of raucous Australian-Greek supporters that shook Marvel Stadium. Haney blunted Kambosos’ offensive arsenal with an educated jab to win going away. Kambosos exercised his rematch clause and is preparing to paint a masterpiece in this undisputed sequel.

Lopez: ‘We want Josh Taylor’

Teofimo Lopez made his debut at 14o pounds against Pedro Campa in front of a sellout crowd at Resorts World in Las Vegas Saturday night. Lopez’s debut was a success as he dominated and ultimately stopped Pedro Campa in the seventh round.

The former undisputed 135-pound champion was sharp in his first fight since losing to George Kambosos Jr. last November. Lopez fought with confidence, swagger, and had no issues landing against Campa(34-2-1, 23 KOs).

Early in the seventh round, Lopez(17-1, 13 KOs) dropped Campa with a right-left combination. Campa would get up, but Lopez connected on more than a half-dozen power shots and referee Tony Weeks stepped in to end the night.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After the win, Lopez called out a few of the big guns at 140 pounds, including unified champion Josh Taylor.

“We want Josh Taylor,” he said. “We want these guys. We want {Regis} Prograis. We want {Jose} Zepeda. We want all the belts. We want to become two-time undisputed champion…

“If Josh Taylor is too busy with his wedding and there’s nobody else around because the WBA belt is taken and the WBC is going to be fought with Zepeda and Prograis, then so fuc*ng be it.” 

Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes Ryan Garcia was ringside, and he has been saying that he would be interested in Garcia fighting Lopez, which could be next.

Lopez said he would return to the ring on December 10 at Madison Square Garden following the win. Some believe it will be against undefeated 140-pound contender Arnold Barboza Jr., who was also ringside and is promoted by Top Rank, like Lopez.

The 25-year-old Lopez has an abundance of talent, and if he’s right mentally, he can compete with anyone at 140 pounds. 

Now, you have to wonder what his power will continue to look like at 140. Campa was slow and easy to hit, but he ate many of Lopez’s punches and kept coming forward. The big names at 140 like Prograis, Taylor, Ramirez, and others won’t be as easy.

However, Lopez can worry about that later. For now, he can enjoy the win and continue to work to do big things at 140 pounds.

Zayas KOs Espadas in Co-Feature

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas (14-0, 9 KOs) picked up the NABO junior middleweight title with a fifth-round knockout over rugged veteran Elias Espadas (22-5, 15 KOs). Zayas knocked down Espadas with a left hook in the opening round and finished the fight in the fifth with a sweeping right hand.

Espadas, a 10-year pro, was stopped for the first time in his career.

Zayas said, “I feel amazing. I’m glad to be back with a strap around me, a regional title, something amazing. It’s special to me to bring my first belt to the island. It’s a step closer to my goal of becoming world champion.

“I promise it wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t trying to hit him low. I guess the punches were just landing there. Referee {Russell Mora}, I want to thank him. He gave me a chance. I just listened to the corner, and they told me, ‘Hey, forget about the body.’ Let’s get these head shots and then we’ll start working the body. And that’s what we did in round four on.”

Featherweight: Jose Enrique Vivas SD 8 Edy Valencia (19-8-6, 7 KOs), Scores: 77-75 Valencia, 77-75 Vivas, and 78-74 Vivas. Mexican got back on the winning track with razor-thin decision in a fight that was spent mostly in close quarters.

Junior Lightweight: Andres Cortes (18-0, 10 KOs) UD 8 Abraham Montoya (20-4-1, 14 KOs), Scores: 79-73 3x. Las Vegas native Cortes had a satisfying homecoming, outworking the Mexican veteran over eight rounds. Cortes landed 42 percent of his power shots and outlanded Montoya in all but one round. Montoya stunned Cortes against the ropes in the sixth round, but his success was fleeting, as Cortes buckled down in the seventh and eighth rounds to remain undefeated.

Middleweight: Troy Isley (7-0, 4 KOs) UD 6 Victor Toney (6-2-1, 5 KOs), Scores: 60-54 and 59-55 2x. U.S. Olympian Isley did not blow away Toney, but he got some hard-earned rounds en route to a convincing points verdict. He faced a little adversity in the fourth round courtesy of a pair of Toney right hands, securing his fourth win of 2022.

Featherweight: Duke Ragan (7-0, 1 KO) UD 6 D’Angelo Fuentes (7-1, 4 KOs). Scores: 59-55 2x and 58-56 2x. The U.S. Olympic silver medalist passed the stiffest test of his young career, using a stiff jab and lateral movement to prevail in the battle of unbeatens. Fuentes had a big moment in the second round, momentarily stunning Ragan with a left hook. The Cincinnati native shook off the blow and closed strong down the stretch.

Junior Welterweight: Omar Rosario (8-0, 2 KOs) UD 6 Esteban Munoz (6-2, 4 KOs), Scores: 58-56 3x. Puerto Rican star Rosario picked up his fourth straight decision with a tougher-than-expected battle against Munoz, who entered the fight riding a four-fight winning streak.

Lightweight: Charlie Sheehy (4-0, 3 KOs) UD 4 Juan Castaneda (2-1-2), Scores: 40-36 3x. Bay Area product Sheehy went the distance for the first time as a pro, batting away the constant pressure of Castaneda en route to the shutout decision.

Photos: Teofimo Lopez’s media workout

Former lightweight king Teofimo Lopez hopes to conquer a second weight class. That journey begins Saturday against Pedro Campa in the 10-round junior welterweight main event at the Resorts World Event Center at Resorts World Las Vegas.

In the eight-round co-feature, unbeaten Puerto Rican junior middleweight standout Xander Zayas takes on Elias Espadas. Lopez-Campa and Zayas-Espadas will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — includes the return of Las Vegas-born junior lightweight contender Andres Cortes against the bruising Abraham Montoya.

Lopez kicked off fight week Wednesday with a media workout at the Top Rank Gym.

Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs), whose run up the lightweight ranks included a legacy-defining victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko, went through the paces for more than 30 minutes. He hit the mitts with his father/trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., and even conducted an impromptu pushup session in the middle of the ring. Following last November’s split decision loss to George Kambosos Jr., he sets his sights on Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs), an accomplished veteran who is 7-0-1 since the lone defeat on his ledger.

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