Verdejo to Face Daniel Evangelista in 10-Round Bout

Felix Verdejo is ready to rumble on his home turf…

The 22-year-old rising Puerto Rican lightweight boxing star and 2014 prospect of the year will face Daniel Evangelista on April 16 at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, according promoter Top Rank.

Felix Verdejo

The scheduled 10-round bout will headline a “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card on Spanish-language network UniMas.

“The name of my opponent makes no difference,” Verdejo said. “I want to fight the best, but I don’t choose my opponents. I leave that to [manager and trainer] Ricky [Marquez] and Top Rank. I always prepare well for any opponent, and this time won’t be the exception. I will be in my best condition to once again bring happiness to my people.”

If he comes through the bout against Evangelista unscathed, Verdejo (20-0, 14 KOs), 22, is due to fight again on June 11, the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. That bout, an HBO-televised co-feature at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, is expected to be against a much better opponent than Evangelista.

The leading candidate for that fight is Jose Felix Jr. (33-1-1, 25 KOs), 23, of Mexico, a fringe contender, according to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

Evangelista (18-6-2, 14 KOs), 25, of Mexico, is 1-3-1 in his past four fights but has experience against opponents such as former junior lightweight world titleholder Argenis Mendez and unbeaten prospect Casey Ramos.

“I don’t think it would be smart to think that a fighter with some losses on his record doesn’t have the qualities to be a worthy opponent,” Marquez said of Evangelista. “I respect Evangelista for his bravery of coming to our island to try to ruin our plans. I really think he is an opponent that will come to apply pressure, throw a lot of punches and will make Felix work to dominate him.”

Barthelemy to Defend Boxing Title Against Fernando Saucedo

Rances Barthelemy is ready to defend his title…

The 28-year-old Cuban boxer, the current IBF Super Featherweight champion, will face-off against Fernando Saucedo on October 4, according to

Rances Barthelemy

Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules says the fight is signed and will likely air on Showtime from a site to be determined. Margules says there’s a strong chance that it will take place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

“I think Barthelemy is the best 130-pound fighter in the world and Saucedo is a good boxer, strong and very durable, so he should be a good test for my guy,” Margules said. “Saucedo earned his ranking and it’s a good test for Barthelemy in his first title defense.”

Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Cuban defector living in Miami, won his title via unanimous decision from Argenis Mendez on July 10 in Miami. It was a rematch of the two-round no decision they fought in January, when Barthelemy knocked Mendez out in the second round but the result was eventually changed to a no decision and the title returned to Mendez after his camp protested the outcome because video replays showed that the knockout blow was clearly delivered after the bell had rung to end the round, which was an unintentional foul.

Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs), of Argentina, is riding a 14-fight winning streak since losing his only other world title fight, a lopsided decision to then-featherweight titlist Chris John in 2010 in John’s native Indonesia. The other name fighter on Saucedo’s resume is former two-division titleholder Acelino “Popo” Freitas, who dropped and outpointed Saucedo in a 10-rounder in 2004. Saucedo has never been knocked out in any of his five defeats.

“Saucedo is the most talented, available fighter willing to fight Barthelemy that is in the top 15 of the IBF rankings,” Margules said. “And he is also the highest available guy, No. 3, so we are fighting him. And top 15 and he was the highest available guy, No. 3.”

Margules said another factor in making the fight is that Saucedo is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, with whom Margules is close.

“We do a fare amount of business together and he is a friend,” Margules said.


Mendez to Defend His Junior Lightweight Title Against Rances Barthelemy

It looks like the New Year will bring Argenis Mendez some Friday Night Fights

The 27-year-old Dominican boxer, the reigning junior lightweight titlist, will defend his title against Rances Barthelemy on January 3 as the new season of ESPN2‘s Friday Night Fights kicks off with the first of 26 cards, said Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules.

Argenis Mendez

The Mendez-Barthelemy bout will take place at Minneapolis’ Target Center and feature an appearance by card co-promoter Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion.

Mendez (21-2-1, 11 Kos) won the title in March by knocking out Juan Carlos Salgado in the fourth round.

In his first defense, Mendez retained the belt, escaping with a majority draw against Arash Usmanee on Aug. 23.

Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs), a 27-year-old Cuban defector living in Miami, knocked out Thailand’s Fahsai Sakkreerin in the second round in a June 21 title elimination fight to earn the mandatory title shot against Mendez.

Iron Mike Productions is excited to be hosting the first ESPN Friday Night Fights show of 2014,” Iron Mike Productions chief executive Garry Jonas said. “We closed the 2013 ESPN Friday Night Fights season with an exciting championship fight [Mendez-Usmanee], and now we’re opening 2014 with an exciting championship fight.”

Margules, who promotes Barthelemy, won the purse bid for the fight in October, offering $51,000 as the only bidder. That bid entitles Mendez, as the titleholder, to 75 percent of the money ($38,250) with Barthelemy getting the remaining 25 percent ($12,750).

“This will be Rances Barthelemy, my fighter’s, first world title shot, and I’m very excited for him and his chances to bring the belt home,” Margules said.