Xander Zayas Defeats Patrick Teixeira by Unanimous Decision

Xander Zayas is proving he’s a contender…

The 21-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, touted as a contender since he was a teenager, dominated Patrick Teixeira in a unanimous decision victory on Saturday night in New York City to remain undefeated as a junior middleweight prospect.

Zayas (19-0, 12 KOs) also helped establish his boxing future in a different way at Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden. The native of San Juan was fighting on the weekend of the Puerto Rico Day Parade, a tradition for fighters from the island to be stars of the show at the Garden. Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad are among those who’ve made this tradition memorable.

Zayas, who signed with Top Rank when he was 16 and made his pro debut six weeks after his 17th birthday, marched forward from the start with attacks to the body.

He landed 10 body punches in the second round and another nine in the third, while Teixeira managed just three during those six minutes. That put Zayas in full control, and by the end of the fight, he had landed 76 body punches to 12 for Teixeira.

Zayas’ overall advantage in punches landed was 204-63, and he was threatening from start to finish.

But Teixeira (34-5, 25 KOs), who held the WBO junior middleweight world championship in 2021, stood tough and made it to the final bell.

Zayas moved his attack upstairs in Round 8 and snapped Teixeira’s head back several times with hooks and uppercuts. By the end of the ninth, the face of the 33-year-old Brazilian was bloody, and he was in survival mode, moving away from Zayas and throwing little offense back at the young fighter. Teixeira’s movement and toughness enabled him to make it to the end.

Two of the three judges scored every round for Zayas, while the third gave Teixeira one round.

“Thank you to the people of Puerto Rico,” Zayas said afterward. “Since I’m 5 years old, I’ve been dreaming about this.”

Sebastian Fundora to Defend WBC/WBO Belts Against Errol Spence Jr. in October

Sebastian Fundora has secured his next opponent.

The 26-year-old Mexican American professional boxer and unified light middleweight champion and Errol Spence Jr. have agreed to a deal for a junior middleweight title fight in Dallas this October, per ESPN.

Sebastian FundoraFundora will defend his WBC and WBO belts, which he won in a split-decision upset over Tim Tszyu in March.

PBC‘s hope is to stage the Prime Video PPV event at AT&T Stadium if the finalized date fits into the Dallas Cowboys‘ home schedule.

Spence, 34, has competed there twice, with wins over Mikey Garcia and Yordenis Ugas.

Following Fundora’s victory against Tszyu, Spence stepped into the ring and called him out, saying, “It’s time to get it on. He got a pretty good height, but we’ll see. We’ll break him down like we always do.”

Sebastian FundoraIndeed, Fundora possesses uncanny height for a 154-pounder at 6-foot-5½ with an 80-inch reach. The 26-year-old’s first title victory came on the heels of his lone defeat, a seventh-round KO loss to Brian Mendoza in one of 2023’s most surprising results.

One year later, Fundora (21-1-1, 14 KOs) is ESPN‘s top junior middleweight after he replaced the injured Keith Thurman on 11 days’ notice to outlast Tszyu.

Known as “The Towering Inferno,” Fundora and his sister Gabriela are the first brother and sister to be full-fledged champions in boxing history.

Spence, meanwhile, will make his 154-pound debut after July’s ninth-round TKO loss to Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship. Spence (28-1, 22 KOs) was a mainstay of ESPN‘s pound-for-pound list before the setback.

He recently parted ways with Derrick James, who trained him since his amateur days that culminated in an Olympic run at the 2012 London Games.

Spence and James have sued each other surrounding a disagreement over money.

Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz Overpowers & Dethrones WBA Super Lightweight Champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero

Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz has claimed his first major title…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer (26-2-1, 18 KOs) overpowered and dethroned WBA super lightweight champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero (15-2, 13 KOs) after getting an eighth round referee’s stoppage on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Isaac "Pitbull" CruzCruz set the tone early, with wild overhand rights that whistled by the head of Romero.

Then Cruz put on a masterclass in stalking and cutting off the ring against Romero.

Finally, Cruz completed his beatdown of Romero with at least six straight shots to the head, forcing referee Tom Taylor to stop the fight at 56 seconds of the eighth round.

With the win, Cruz took Romero’s WBA junior welterweight world title on the co-main event of a card headlined by a junior middleweight title fight between Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora.

“I didn’t want to come here and just win,” said Cruz. “I wanted to massacre Rolly and make him eat all the garbage he said to me. …I fought with the intention to leave the decision out of the judges’ hands.”

Mission accomplished.

The relentless Cruz so dominated the fight that Romero had to be checked by the ringside doctor before heading out for the fateful eighth round. Romero almost went down in the first round after taking a left hook to the forehead, was docked a point for holding in the fifth and was again saved by the ropes in the seventh after taking a big right uppercut to the chin that essentially had him out on his feet.

Cruz has now won four straight fights since losing a unanimous decision to Gervonta Davis on December 5, 2021 in Los Angeles.

“I was prepared for this. I wasn’t here to just fight. I was here to terminate him,” said Cruz. “I did my talking right here in the ring. And I did this not just for me but for everybody that is here at T-Mobile Arena. There’s going to be a Mexican champ at 140 pounds for a long time.”

The taller Romero, who fights out of Las Vegas but felt no home-ring advantage with a raucous pro-Mexico crowd, fell to 15-2 as he has now lost two of this last three fights.

He lost by a sixth-round TKO against Davis on May 28, 2022 in Brooklyn for the WBA’s lightweight title before stopping Ismael Barroso for the WBA’s junior welterweight title on May 13, 2023 in Las Vegas. He never looked comfortable with the way Cruz cut the ring off on him, while absorbing so many power shots.

Sebastian Fundora Upsets Tim Tszyu to Capture WBC & WBO Junior Middleweight Titles

Sebastian Fundora has pulled off an upset…

In one of the bloodiest fights in recent memory, the 26-year-old Mexican American boxer scored the upset with a split-decision victory over Tim Tszyu to capture the WBC and WBO junior middleweight titles on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Sebastian Fundora One judge scored the fight for Tszyu, 116-112, but was overruled by 116-112 and 115-113 tallies for Fundora. If Tszyu won the final round, the Australian star would have pulled out a draw.

Nicknamed “The Towering Inferno” for his gangly, 6-foot-5 ½ 154-pound frame, Fundora replaced Keith Thurman (ruptured biceps) on 11 days’ notice and stepped into his first title shot coming off his first defeat.

Last April, Fundora (21-1-1, 13 KOs) suffered a seventh-round knockout loss to Brian Mendoza in one of the year’s biggest upsets. He entered the ring a decided underdog and lost the first two rounds on all three cards.

However, the fight seemed to change when Tszyu (24-1, 17 KOs) suffered a deep gash on his forehead late in Round 2 due to an accidental elbow from Fundora.

Given the nine-inch height difference, such an accident was more likely than usual.

The blood never stopped flowing into Tszyu’s eyes for the remainder of the bout. The ringside doctor threatened to halt the fight following Round 3 but allowed it to continue. Tszyu, 29, never complained and never stopped coming forward.

“I’m an old, throwback fighter,” said Tszyu, who entered the night rated No. 2 by ESPN at 154 pounds. “I couldn’t see, but all credit goes to the man who won tonight. These things happen. The momentum was rolling, swinging hard in the first two rounds, and then boom, you’re blinded completely.

“This is boxing and this is part of the sport. Congratulations to Fundora. He’s the new king of 154. We’ll bounce back.”

Fundora also faced serious adversity. His nose bled profusely from the opening round onward, and his mouth was pouring blood as well. It made for a scene out of a horror flick, with both fighters’ faces crimson masks.

It made for great action, too, as Fundora and Tszyu furiously exchanged in a slugfest for two 154-pound titles.

“I didn’t want to break my nose today, but … this is boxing, you’re going to get hurt and you just have to be smart,” said Fundora, who entered the ring as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 154 pounds. “He’s a world-class fighter. He was a world champion for a reason.”

Fundora executed a disciplined game plan and used his long southpaw jab to pepper Tszyu from range. He was never dragged into a firefight, unlike in past fights, particularly Fundora’s 2022 TKO win over Erickson Lubin, in which he was floored, and in his loss to Mendoza, when he was up wide on the cards before being stopped.

“I’ve been telling everybody this whole camp, I’m gonna use my brain,” said Fundora, who fights out of Coachella, California. He was lined up for a fight with Serhii Bohachuk on PBC PPV on Prime Video undercard before he received the call to replace Thurman.

With the victory, Fundora and his sister Gabriela became the first brother and sister to be full-fledged champions in boxing history. Gabriela retained her IBF flyweight title in January with a TKO victory over Christina Cruz.

“It means the world,” Fundora said.

Tszyu, the son of Hall of Fame boxer Kostya Tszyu, broke out last year with a trio of victories. Last March, he scored a career-best win with a stoppage of former champion Tony Harrison two months after he was set to fight Jermell Charlo for the undisputed championship. That bout was canceled due to Charlo’s hand injury.

Tszyu stayed busy with a first-round knockout victory over Carlos Ocampo and then outpointed Mendoza in October. Afterward, Tszyu announced that he would campaign in the U.S. moving forward as he set his sights on the marquee fights.

Thurman presented a recognizable name to raise Tszyu’s profile, but his injury changed plans 11 days out. Tszyu adjusted on the fly to a 6-foot-5½ southpaw after he prepared all training camp for a 5-foot-8 orthodox boxer.

And Tszyu appeared in control against Fundora until the cut. He landed some powerful shots down the stretch, but Fundora’s active jab won the fight. Tszyu had been looking ahead to potential summer showdowns with Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr., but a rematch with Fundora could loom.

Fundora might have other ideas, however.

Spence, who was dominated by Crawford via ninth-round TKO in July for the undisputed welterweight championship, entered the ring afterward and called for a shot at Fundora next.

“It’s time to get it on,” Spence said. “He got a pretty good height, but we’ll see. We’ll break him down like we always do.”

Vergil Ortiz Jr. Scores First-Round TKO Victory Over Frederick Lawson

Vergil Ortiz Jr. has notched a convincing victory…

The 25-year-old Mexican American professional boxer scored a first-round TKO victory on Saturday in Las Vegas in a stoppage that was vehemently disputed by his opponent, Frederick Lawson.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.Ortiz, in his first fight in 17 months, buckled Lawson with a jab that backed him up. With Lawson lying on the ropes, Ortiz (20-0, 20 KOs) threw a flurry of left hooks to the body and overhand rights until referee Tony Weeks halted the action at 2 minutes, 33 seconds of the opening round.

Weeks told DAZN‘s Beto Duran that he stopped the bout because he saw Lawson’s eyes roll into the back of his head. Lawson, a 34-year-old Ghanaian who entered the fight as a huge underdog, passionately protested.

“I think that he got saved,” said Ortiz, who was making his junior middleweight debut. “I was hurting him with all the jabs. I wasn’t really putting anything behind it. … I love to fight. I wish I could have kept going. I need the rounds.”

Since March 2022, Ortiz has withdrawn from three fights due to health issues related to rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood.

Ortiz was rated No. 3 by ESPN at 147 pounds when he was set to meet Eimantas Stanionis last year. That bout was postponed three times; first after Stanionis underwent an emergency appendectomy and then twice due to Ortiz’s rhabdomyolysis recurrence.

With his health restored, Ortiz returned Saturday at a 156-pound catchweight shake-off-the-rust bout. And he did so with renowned trainer Robert Garcia back in his corner following a split in 2021.

Ortiz, a Dallas-area native, maintained his perfect knockout record with the victory over Lawson (30-4, 22 KOs). Now he wants his first world title shot.

“I’m ready for anyone out there,” said Ortiz, whose breakout 2021 campaign featured inside-the-distance wins over Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. “It feels like I’m back to doing what I usually do. This is my calling; this is what I live for.”

Ortiz called out Tim Tszyu, the WBO junior middleweight champion.

“With all respect, I would love to fight you,” Ortiz said in his call out. “I think you’re a hell of a fighter and let’s make this happen. … I want to fight the best.”

Ortiz’s promoter, Hall of Fame fighter Oscar De La Hoya, said Ortiz “will even go to Australia to fight Tim Tszyu.”

Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, issued a response to Ortiz in a post on X, welcoming him to the 154-pound division and saying, “I’m always keen for a modern day classic.

Xander Zayas Defeats Jorge Fortea to Set Up Bout Against Patrick Teixeira

Xander Zayas’ impressive ring performance helps set up his next fight…

The 21-year-old Puerto Rican boxer took only five rounds to dispatch 14-year veteran Jorge Fortea in front of an adoring crowd on Saturday at Dodge City Center near Miami.

Xander ZayasAlthough it probably felt a lot longer to Fortea.

Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs) earned a knockout stoppage at 1:37 of the fifth round after a crushing left hook to Fortea’s body. The body shot brought a merciful end to the junior middleweight bout, which Zayas dominated from start to finish with vicious body combinations and power shots along the ropes. He landed 27 total body shots on Fortea, two of which forced Fortea to take a knee, once in the first and again in the fifth.

The impressive showcase by Zayas sets up a bout on February 16 against Patrick Teixeira, the No. 2-ranked junior middleweight by the WBO.

“We knew he liked to keep his elbows out,” Zayas said of Fortea. “It was just a matter of time since we got him in the first round. After that, he kind of went into survival mode. February 16, [Madison Square Garden], Patrick Teixeira, you’re next!”

In total, Zayas landed 285 punches to 144 for Fortea. Both of Fortea’s eyes were badly swollen by the third. It was the Spanish fighter’s first loss since he suffered a knockout against Anthony Fowler in March 2021.

Jaime Munguia to Fight John Ryder in a Super Middleweight Bout in January

Jaime Munguia has secured his next opponent…

The 27-year-old Mexican professional boxer, who held the WBO junior middleweight title from 2018 to 2019, will meet John Ryder in a super middleweight bout on January 27 in Phoenix.

Jaime MunguiaMunguia (42-0, 33 KOs), a native of Mexico, is coming off a career-best victory, a unanimous-decision win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in June. Munguia scored a 12th-round knockdown to pull out the decision in a leading candidate for ESPN‘s Fight of the Year.

Now, Munguia will enter what shapes up as another slugfest.

England’s Ryder is coming off the biggest bout of his career, a spirited unanimous-decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in May.

Ryder (32-6, 18 KOs) was floored in Round 5 and suffered a broken nose against boxing’s top star but was able to land some effective blows down the stretch in Alvarez’s homecoming bout in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Munguia, ESPN‘s No. 6 boxer at 168 pounds, was a titleholder at 154 pounds and is hoping for his own crack at Alvarez next year.

Ryder, ESPN’s No. 4 super middleweight, defeated former champion Daniel Jacobs in 2022 in a career-best win.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. Set to Make 154-Pound Debut vs. Fredrick Lawson in January

Vergil Ortiz Jr. is ready for his debut…

The 25-year-old Latino boxer will make his 154-pound debut against Fredrick Lawson on January 6 in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions has announced.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) hasn’t competed since August 2022 as he dealt with the effects of rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood.

Ortiz was ESPN‘s No. 3 welterweight. He was set to step up in competition with a 147-pound fight against Eimantas Stanionis, a bout that was postponed three times. The bout was first postponed after Stanionis underwent an emergency appendectomy in January.

The second postponement was due to a recurrence of rhabdomyolysis. Finally, Ortiz withdrew in July days before the fight as he struggled to make weight.

Ortiz will now look to win his first title at junior middleweight rather than welterweight. The Texan will shake off 17 months of ring rust against Lawson (30-3, 22 KOs), a 34-year-old journeyman from Accra, Ghana.

“Headlining my first card in Las Vegas after over a year of inactivity is just what I needed,” Ortiz said. “I am very motivated to put on a great show like I always do, and to show everyone that I’m still here.”

Ortiz broke out in 2021 with inside-the-distance wins over Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Now, Ortiz will look to carry his vaunted power to a new weight class.

“Vergil is ready to come back stronger than ever to become a world champion in this sport,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “He’s got the heart and dedication and is on a mission to be a world titleholder.”