Robson Conceicao to Fight O’Shaquie Foster for Foster’s WBC Junior Lightweight Title

Robson Conceicao is gunnin’ for a title…

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional boxer, a two-time super featherweight world title challenger and an Olympic gold medalist, will fight O’Shaquie Foster for Foster’s WBC junior lightweight on July 6 in Newark, New Jersey, per ESPN.

Robson Conceicao,The 130-pound title fight will serve as chief support to the Shakur StevensonArtem Harutyunyan lightweight title bout on ESPN.

Foster (22-2, 12 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 2 junior lightweight. The 30-year-old, who fights out of Houston, made his second title defense in February with a split decision victory over Abraham Nova. A 12th-round knockdown helped Foster avoid a draw.

Foster blamed a “bad weight cut” for his performance and vowed to come back stronger for his next title defense. He won the title last February when he defeated Rey Vargas and then successfully defended it in October with a 12th-round TKO victory over Rocky Hernandez. Foster was down wide on two of the three scorecards when he scored the come-from-behind KO to retain his title.

Conceicao (18-2-1, 9 KOs) is 0-2-1 in title fights, but his two losses came when he was at a disadvantage. He dropped a disputed decision to Oscar Valdez in September 2021 just weeks after Valdez tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Conceicao’s second crack at a title was a decision loss to Stevenson, who was stripped of his belt due to being 1.5 pounds overweight.

Conceicao’s third title bid was in November, and he suffered two knockdowns but still pulled out a draw with Emanuel Navarrete.

Conceicao returned last month with a seventh-round TKO victory over Jose Ivan Guardado.

Mauricio Lara Defeats Leigh Wood to Win WBA World Featherweight Title

Mauricio Lara is a world champion…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer demonstrated his clinical finishing-punch power by stopping Leigh Wood in the seventh round to win the WBA world featherweight title in England on Saturday.

Mauricio LaraLara silenced Wood’s hometown fans at the Nottingham Arena when he floored the champion with a crunching left hook, and when Wood got to his feet, the English boxer’s trainer, Ben Davison, threw in the towel to stop the fight.

Wood had established control in an exciting fight at the time of the stoppage, before Lara’s stunning finish, and was unhappy with Davison’s decision to pull him out of the fight.

“I feel very happy for this championship. It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was 8 years old,” Lara said. “I definitely felt Leigh’s punches, but they didn’t hurt me. He hits hard and is a good champion.”

The victory opens up the possibility of a title unification fight for Lara against one of the other world champions at 126 pounds — Rey Vargas (WBC) and Luis Alberto Lopez (IBF) — who are also both from Mexico.

But a rematch with Wood seems the more likely next move for Lara, ESPN‘s No. 1-ranked featherweight.

“I want the trilogy fight [with Josh Warrington] and, of course, I want more belts — it’s up to [promoter] Eddie Hearn to make it,” Lara said.

England is a happy hunting ground for Lara, who announced himself on the big stage when he stopped Warrington — the No. 1 featherweight in the world at the time — in the ninth round two years ago.

A rematch ended in frustration, when Lara suffered a nasty cut above his left eye in the second round, caused by a clash of heads, and the fight ended in a technical draw.

But Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs), 24, known as “Bronco” and from Mexico City, produced two third-round knockouts last year and continued that lethal form to win his first world title, as a heartbroken Wood lost the belt in a second title defense.

Wood (26-4, 16 KOs), 34, had produced two dramatic, last-round knockouts in his previous two fights, against Xu Can to win the belt in July 2021 and then against Michael Conlan — in ESPN’s fight of the year — almost a year ago.

This time Wood was on the receiving end, but he seemed unhappy with the decision of his trainer to stop the fight.

“I’m a fighter — I’m not going to say anything more,” Wood said.

“I made a mistake and I paid for it. Absolutely I want the rematch.”

Wood suffered a setback early on when he was cut near his left eye, caused by a clash of heads in the opening round.

However, Wood started the second round full of fire, landing heavy shots, including a thudding left hook.

But Lara finished the second on top, after he shook Wood with a right to the temple and then had the champion in trouble in the final few seconds of the round.

An excellent encounter swung back in favor of the champion in the third round, with Wood continually threading his right hand through Lara’s guard.

Both landed big left hooks in the fourth, but Wood was more accurate — especially with his right hand — in the fifth round.

Wood, who has transformed his fortunes late in his career, controlled the sixth round as Lara looked subdued and missed with his punches.

Wood had the momentum, but when both went to throw left hooks at the same time, it was Lara’s that landed with such destruction in the seventh round.

Wood was left flat on his back for a count, and when he got to his feet, he was on legs of jelly, prompting Wood’s trainer to throw in the towel with just six seconds left in the round.

Wood was left in tears by Davison’s intervention.

Brandon Figueroa Finalizing Deal to Fight Mark Magsayo in Featherweight Bout

Brandon Figueroa is thisclose to locking in his next opponent…

The 26-year-old Mexican American professional boxer, nicknamed “The Heartbreaker,” and Mark Magsayo are finalizing a deal for a March 4 featherweight bout in the U.S., according to ESPN.

Brandon Figueroa The PBC on Showtime bout would feature two of ESPN’s top 10 boxers at 126 pounds (Magsayo is No. 6 while Figueroa is No. 10).

Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) was in talks to meet Stephen Fulton in a rematch after the WBC ordered the matchup for its interim featherweight title. But with Fulton in talks to meet Naoya Inoue in Japan at 122 pounds, Figueroa is now slated to fight Magsayo in a battle of former champions that is shaping up to be a slugfest.

Figueroa, a volume-puncher from Weslaco, Texas, lost his 122-pound title via majority decision in a unification bout against Fulton that was one of the best action fights of 2021. He moved up to 126 pounds afterward with a sixth-round TKO of Carlos Castro in June.

Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) won his first title in January with a major upset, a majority-decision victory over longtime featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. Magsayo lost the 126-pound title in July to Rey Vargas via split decision in a grueling fight (he floored Vargas in Round 9.)

The 27-year-old Filipino is promoted by countryman Manny Pacquiao, one of boxing’s all-time greats.

Rey Vargas Dethrones WBC Featherweight Champ Mark Magsayo via Split Decision

Rey Vargas is holding a belt again…

The 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer and former WBC junior featherweight champion, fighting for just the second time in three years, persevered through a late knockdown to dethrone WBC featherweight champ Mark Magsayo via split decision Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

Rey Vargas “I have no words to describe what happened here tonight,” Vargas said through an interpreter. “This is my second title. This one’s going back to Mexico.”

After a vicious start at the Alamodome in which both men unleashed power punches and connected with a high percentage, the 5-foot-10 Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) took control of the bout by utilizing his longer reach to maintain distance and pepper Magsayo with jabs and left hooks whenever the Filipino fighter advanced.

Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) missed widely at times but did reach his target with big punches on several occasions throughout the 12 rounds, especially late in the ninth, when he dropped Vargas with a counter right hand. Vargas appeared to be on rubbery legs for the rest of that round and much of the 10th, but after that his jab and footwork kept him at a distance from Magsayo, who failed to aggressively capitalize on having his opponent hurt.

Two of the ringside judges saw the fight for Vargas by 115-112 scores, while the third scored it 114-113 for Magsayo.

“I worked hard for this,” Vargas said. “I want to thank God, my family, [trainer] Nacho [Ignacio Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it greatly but this one is special. This win is for me.”

Vargas had surrendered his 122-pound belt in 2020 — not inside a ring but because of his inactivity. Now a champion one division up, he wants to get right back into the ring, saying after the fight that he wants a title unification bout, preferably against WBA champ Leo Santa Cruz.

Magsayo entered the fight with a lofty ambition in boxing. The 27-year-old from the Philippines is a protege of his legendary countryman, Manny Pacquiao, and he’s been hyped up as the next “Pacman.” Magsayo became champ in January by ending the seven-year reign of Gary Russell Jr.

“I will rest and watch the fight and I’m going to train to fight again and will correct my mistakes for the next time,” Magsayo said after the fight.

Rey Vargas Defeats Tomoki Kameda to Retain WBC Junior Featherweight Title

Rey Vargasis still the champion…

In what’s described as “an often awkward and ugly affair” over the weekend at the Dignity Health Sports Park, the 28-year-old Mexican professional boxer retained his WBC junior featherweight title by outpointing Japanese challenger Tomoki Kameda.

Rey Vargas

All three judges scored the fight 117-110 for Vargas.

Loud boos poured in at the end of the bout and after the decision was rendered; while Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) was effective, he was far from exciting. Kameda (36-3, 20 KOs) certainly tried his best to make a fight, but his efforts were mostly futile.

While the decision was unpopular, it was the correct one.

Vargas is one of the toughest matchups in boxing. Listed at nearly 5-foot-11 — significantly tall for a 122-pounder — he can control distance from the outside and is adept at smothering his foes as they get close. While not a particularly crowd-pleasing style, it works for Vargas, who methodically wins one round after another.

That continued Saturday night.

 “The idea was to throw a lot of punches and to have a very intelligent fight,” said Vargas, who made his fifth title defense. “I believe that we made this a very smart fight, an intelligent one. This is a boxer’s style, to fight with precision. I believe that he brought a lot of fans from Japan, and that’s why they don’t agree with the decision.”

Kameda tried his best to close the gap and rush inside on Vargas, but oftentimes he was devoid of the jab and had problems gauging distance. That left him in positions where he couldn’t land clean punches and then ended up in a clinch with the champ.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone,” Kameda said. “I recognize Vargas. I believe that he won the fight tonight, and I respect him as a champion. He won. I need to learn and to practice more in order to get another chance to be champion again. I am very grateful for all the Mexican people. I want to be world champion again.”

Moving forward, Vargas would like to add a couple of more belts to his collection. Asked whom he wanted to face next, he pointed to the IBF and WBAbelt holder.

Danny Roman,” Vargas said. “We need to unify titles — why not? I want all three titles. Danny, we are ready. I am ready whenever you want to fight. You know when a Mexican fights another Mexican, it’s a war.”

Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez Signs Co-Promotional Deal with Golden Boy Promotions

Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandezhas a new deal…

The 21-year-old Mexican junior lightweight boxer, one of Mexico’s most highly touted up-and-coming boxers, has signed a co-promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, according to CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

Eduardo "Rocky" Hernandez

Hernandez, who is also co-promoted by Promociones del Pueblo, one of Mexico’s leading promoters, will make his United States debut in his first fight of the deal. 

He’ll face Ibrahim Class in a 10-round fight on March 30 on the undercard of the Ryan GarciaJose Lopez lightweight bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

De La Hoya and Oswaldo Kuchleof Promociones del Pueblo have worked together over the years, and they both hope the partnership will help launch Hernandez (27-0, 24 KOs), 21, to stardom.

“At Golden Boy, we are in the business of working with fighters from all over the world and making them into international stars,” De La Hoya said, listing an impressive roster of fighters that Golden Boy helped build into well-known names, including Deontay WilderAdrien BronerDaniel JacobsMarcos MaidanaAbner Maresand Jermell and Jermall Charlo.

“We’re doing it presently with the biggest star in the sport, Canelo Alvarez, along with world champions such as Jaime Munguia, Rey VargasXu CanAngel Acosta and Andrew Cancio; and we have the next generation of stars with Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, and Lamont Roach Jr.

“This company knows how to work with fighters from all kinds of backgrounds,” De La Hoya continued, “so we’re more than ready to join forces with Oswaldo Kuchle and Promociones del Pueblo to co-promote Rocky Hernandez as he begins to make big waves in the stacked 130-pound division.”

Hernandez turned pro at age 16 in February 2014.

“I’m very delighted to be presented to fans in the United States,” Hernandez said. “I am preparing very hard to give a great fight to the fans on March 30, and God willing, I will walk away with my hand raised. I have a tough opponent in front of me, but I am training very hard.”Class (22-5, 10 KOs), 28, of Tanzania, also will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time.