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.”

Seniesa Estrada Fighting Yokasta Valle Next Month to Crown First Undisputed Strawweight Champion

Seniesa Estrada is preparing to fight for all the marbles…

The 31-year-old Mexican American professional boxer will fight Yokasta Valle to crown the first undisputed strawweight champion in women’s boxing history on March 29 at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Seniesa EstradaThe fight will be the co-main event on the card featuring the Oscar ValdezLiam Wilson junior lightweight bout.

Estrada (25-0, 9 KOs), of East Los Angeles, won the WBA belt by defeating Anabel Ortiz in March 2021. After moving up four months later to fight for the WBO junior flyweight title in a victory over Tenkai Tsunami, Estrada made two successful defenses before adding the WBC title in a victory over Tina Rupprecht in March. She defended the two titles in a unanimous decision win over Leonela Paola Yudica in July.

Valle (30-2, 9 KOs) won the IBF belt in August 2019 against Joana Pastrana, and after five defenses, she unified the WBO belt with a unanimous decision win over Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in September 2022. This will be Valle’s fifth defense of her unified titles.

Estrada, ESPN’s No. 5-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, was promoted by Golden Boy until she left to sign a multiyear deal with Top Rank in July 2022, saying at the time, “I wanted more money, what I felt I deserved.”

Valle, the No. 2-ranked fighter in the division behind Estrada, is promoted by Golden Boy and has been on Estrada’s radar since the days when they had the same promoter.

“It’s not personal for her, but it’s personal for me for many reasons,” Estrada said during a news conference Wednesday to announce the fight. “I’m competitive. I’m hungry to become undisputed. This is the fight that I’ve been trying to make and wanting to make since I was with Golden Boy Promotions around the time they first signed me.”

Costa Rica’s Valle noted she has been working hard for this moment, fighting in different divisions to become one day undisputed, and added that the rivalry is not personal, it’s just business.

“I just want to be a champion,” Valle said. “I want to be undisputed. Seniesa has two titles. That’s what I’m looking for. Not her. Simply the world titles is what I’m looking for. That’s what I’ve been working towards for many years.”

Jose Ramirez Signs Multi-Fight Deal with Golden Boy Promotions

Jose Ramirez is entering his Golden era….

The 31-year-old Mexican American former unified junior welterweight titlist has signed a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions.

Jose RamirezThe newly formed deal was announced during the Vergil OrtizFredrick Lawson DAZN broadcast from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

“I’m ready to be a two-time world champion, and do it right now as well as stay active this year,” said Ramirez. “I felt Oscar [de la Hoya] and Golden Boy could deliver both immediately as well as some big fights at this point in my career that I want. This is the most motivated I have been since I turned pro.”

Ramirez and Ortiz are both managed by Rick Mirigian, who also recently brought over Arnold Barboza to the Golden Boy family. Barboza won via technical knockout after nine rounds in his Golden Boy debut Saturday evening.

“We know our value, and had to get a plan,” said Mirigian. “Golden Boy stepped up and showed that Jose would be a priority to them with the deal he was given. The fights that can now be made at 140 in house are among the best in all of the sport, as Golden Boy has now taken a strong hold on the most exciting division in boxing.”

Terms of the deal were not revealed. Boxing Scene reports that Ramirez could potentially challenge for the WBA junior welterweight title within his next couple of fights, depending on how the process plays out regarding current beltholder Rolando Romero and whether he next defends against the interim titlist.

Regardless, it’s a fresh start for Ramirez (28-1, 18KOs), who fought just once in each of the past four years.

An eleventh-round knockout of Richard Commey last March 25 in Fresno, California—the heart of Ramirez’s fan base as he hails from nearby Avenal—marked the final fight of his near 12-year-run with Top Rank. Ramirez signed with the Las Vegas-based outlet shortly after he represented the U.S. during the 2012 London Olympics.

During that time, Ramirez emerged as a sizeable draw in California’s Central Valley and won the WBC and WBO titles at junior welterweight. He came up just short versus then-unbeaten Josh Taylor in their May 2022 undisputed championship clash at Virgin Hotels, where he was in attendance on Saturday to confirm his new promotional deal.

In between the Taylor loss and Saturday’s news came just two ring appearances and a number of opportunities left on the table for various reasons. He eventually broke from Top Rank after his team could not reach terms for an offered shot at two-division lineal and current WBO junior welterweight champ Teofimo Lopez, who’ll instead face Jamaine Ortiz atop a February 8 ESPN show from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

All signs, however, point to a more optimistic future.

“An Olympic pedigree. An incredible resumé that features two world titles. A massive and loyal fan base — José Ramirez has it all, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Golden Boy family,” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy de la Hoya. “Our plan for Ramirez is simple: get him back in the ring quickly, keep him active against the best of the best and show the world that he is still among the cream of the crop in the super lightweight division.”

Details of his first fight under the Golden Boy banner are forthcoming.

Regis Prograis to Fight Devin Haney in December

Regis Prograis has a new date for his next bout…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer, the WBC junior welterweight champion, will fight Devin Haney at the end of the year.

Regis PrograisHaney, trying to become a two-division champion, will fight Prograis on December 9 at San Francisco’s Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN.

The Prograis-Haney bout, which was originally planned for October 28 in Las Vegas, will be streamed on DAZN pay-per-view, sources said.

Haney, 24, is the undisputed lightweight champion but will make his 140-pound debut as he prepares to campaign at a new weight. ESPN’s No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer, Haney retained his four 135-pound titles when he defeated future Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko in May via unanimous decision.

The bout was the last of Haney’s three-fight deal with Top Rank. Now, Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) will return to Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing, which promoted six of the American’s fights on DAZN.

Haney signed with Top Rank after his win over Joseph Diaz Jr. to pursue a fight with George Kambosos in Australia for the undisputed lightweight championship.

Haney, who fights out of Las Vegas, defeated Kambosos in June 2022 and then turned back the Australian boxer again in Melbourne with another decision in October.

He then made his pay-per-view headline debut with a career-best win, a thrilling victory over Lomachenko.

In his 140-pound debut, Haney will take on a dangerous southpaw puncher in Prograis, who is ESPN‘s No. 3-rated junior welterweight.

Prograis became a two-time champion at 140 pounds with an 11th-round KO of Jose Zepeda in November. Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) signed a three-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing afterward and went on to retain his title with a split decision victory over Danielito Zorrilla in a homecoming bout.

Now, Prograis will step up for the biggest fight of his career. His lone pro defeat came against Josh Taylor via majority decision in October 2019, a title unification fight in London. Prograis rebounded with four consecutive TKO victories.

With a victory over Prograis, Haney could place himself in pole position for Fighter of the Year honors.

Haney still retains the WBA, IBF and WBO titles at 135 pounds but was named champion in recess by the WBC. Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin had been slated to vie for the vacant WBC title, but sources told ESPN that Martin has withdrawn from the fight.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Team Requesting “Super Champion’ Designation from WBO

Teofimo Lopez Jr. is hoping for a super decision… 

Top Rank sent an official request to the WBO with hopes of naming the 26-year-old Honduran American junior welterweight champion as the organization’s “super champion,” a designation that provides the fighter with special privileges under the WBO guidelines.

Teofimo Lopez“As you are aware Teofimo most recently defeated then WBO world champion Josh Taylor at MSG on June 10,” the letter from Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, Carl Moretti, sent to the WBO reads. “His performance has received accolades throughout the boxing community as well as a nomination for “Performance of the Year“.

 

“It should also be noted that Taylor is a former undisputed unified 140-pound world champion never losing any of his titles inside the ring when he fought Teofimo.”

Top Rank also noted that “The magnitude of Teofimo’s accomplishments” are enough to grant him the “super champion” status.

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), a 2-1 underdog at the time, handed Taylor his first defeat in June with a dominating unanimous decision victory at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the win, Lopez became a two-division champion at just 25 years old, lending merit to Top Rank’s request.

Fernando Gaztambide, WBO press officer, told ESPN that “super champion” designation is a status granted “to those fighters whose professional merits and accomplishments satisfy the criteria set forth in the relevant provision.”

Gaztambide also noted that it is not a title, but rather a status which grants the recipient certain rights considering his accomplishments.

“As a super champion a fighter gets certain privileges, like being named mandatory challenger for a champion in higher or lower divisions, lifetime membership with the WBO, extended time to make mandatory title defenses and other things,” WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told ESPN.

The decision will be made this week, according to Valcarcel, and depends on Lopez meeting the required qualifications.

“We have rules and criteria the fighter should meet. If the five-member championship committee approves the request, it will need to be approved by the 23-member executive committee by majority,” Valcarcel explained.

Some of the WBO criteria includes that the fighter has a “multiple bout contract with a major television [company].” It also states that the fighter requesting the “super champion” designation had a minimum of 10 title defenses or if less than 10, the fighter has defended the belt against “opponents of high recognition and high skills.”

Other provisions are that the fighter has been a champion in more than one division or has held more than one championship from the other major organizations (WBC, WBA, IBF), or has been a unified champion, among others. Lopez checks all those boxes, having been a former WBO lightweight champion and a unified champion.

Currently, the WBO has five “super champions”, heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk, super middleweight Canelo Alvarez, junior middleweight Jermell Charlo, welterweight Terence Crawford, and lightweight Devin Haney.

Regis Prograis Signs Three-Fight Deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing

Regis Prograis has a new deal…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer, a junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis, has signed a three-fight deal with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing.

Regis Prograis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) accepted the offer over a more lucrative offer from Top Rank, sources said.

Prograis’ first fight with Matchroom will take place on June 17 in Prograis’ native New Orleans against Australia’s Liam Paro (23-0, 14 KOs), Prograis told ESPN. Sources said it is a headline bout on DAZN.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been contemplating which move I should make next,” Prograis said. “I had a lot of good offers on the table. But I feel like Matchroom is the best for me. I just feel like it’s the right fit. From the beginning I had that gut feeling and it never left. I can’t wait to start this chapter in my career.”

Prograis, who fights out of Houston, was ringside with Hearn for the Canelo AlvarezJohn Ryder undisputed super middleweight championship fight, Canelo’s first fight in Mexico in nearly 12 years.

ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 140 pounds, Prograis became a two-time champion when he scored an 11th-round KO of Jose Zepeda in November. Prograis’ lone professional defeat came against Josh Taylor in 2019 via majority decision.

Now that he’s aligned with Matchroom, Prograis could be matched with Jack Catterall, ESPN’s No. 1 junior welterweight. Catterall, who signed with Hearn last month, dropped a controversial decision to Taylor last February in his lone pro defeat.

Robeisy Ramirez to Defend WBO Featherweight Title vs. Satoshi Shimizu in July

Robeisy Ramirez is going into defensive mode…

The 29-year-old Cuban professional boxer will make the first defense of his WBO featherweight title versus Satoshi Shimizu on July 25 in Tokyo, promoter Top Rank has announced.

Robeisy RamirezThe 126-pound title bout will serve as chief support on ESPN+ for the highly anticipated showdown between Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue for Fulton’s unified 122-pound championship.

Ramirez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, captured the vacant title this month with a unanimous-decision victory over Isaac Dogboe.

Ramirez (12-1, 7 KOs) rose to No. 6 in ESPN’s featherweight rankings and is poised for some big matchups in the action-packed division going forward.

“Fighting is what I do best, titles are meant to be defended and there’s no stopping ‘El Tren!,'” said Ramirez, 29.

Shimizu (11-1, 10 KOs), an Olympic bronze medalist from Japan, will be fighting for a world title for the first time at age 37.

Luis Alberto Lopez to Defend IBF Featherweight Title Against Michael Conlan

Luis Alberto Lopez is going on the defensive…

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer will defend his IBF featherweight title against Michael Conlan on May 27 in the challenger’s native Belfast, Northern Ireland, after the fighters struck a deal, according to ESPN.

Luis Alberto Lopez, El VenadoThe 126-pound title fight, which shapes up as a slugfest, will be streamed stateside on ESPN+ in the afternoon.

Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs), 31, suffered his lone professional defeat against Leigh Wood in ESPN‘s 2022 Fight of the Year. Conlan floored Wood in the opening round and was ahead on all three scorecards when Wood sent him through the ropes for a 12th-round TKO victory, which was also named ESPN‘s KO of the Year.

Conlan, an Olympic silver medalist, rebounded with two victories later in the year. He dropped Miguel Marriaga three times in an August decision victory before he flattened Karim Guerfi in one round in December.

Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) will be making the first defense of the title he wrested from Josh Warrington in December. He was in his opponent’s backyard, Leeds, England, but did enough to eke out the majority decision in a grueling fight.

Now, Lopez will travel to enemy territory once more. He has won 10 consecutive fights since a 2019 decision setback against Ruben Villa.

Lopez and Conlan are promoted by Top Rank. Lopez is ESPN’s No. 3 featherweight while Conlan is ranked No. 9.

Teofimo Lopez to Fight Josh Taylor for WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez will be fighting for another title…

The 25-year-old Honduran American professional boxer has agreed to fight Josh Taylor for Taylor’s WBO junior welterweight title on June 10 in New York on ESPN/ESPN+.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.The 140-pound bout, which pits the former undisputed junior welterweight champion against Lopez, the ex-undisputed lightweight champion, will take place at either Madison Square Garden (20,000-plus seats) or the Hulu Theater at MSG (approximately 5,500 capacity).

“We’re set on the fight. Teo is set on Josh Taylor like he was set on [Vasiliy] Lomachenko,” said Lopez’s manager, David McWater. “We don’t know yet, but I suspect it’s the big room. We almost sold out the big room in December for Sandor Martin.”

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) was set to meet Jack Catterall in a rematch on March 4, but the bout was postponed after Taylor tore a plantar fascia last month. The 32-year-old champion said he would be able to resume training in approximately six to eight weeks.

Boxxer, the U.K.-based promoter of the Taylor-Catterall rematch, failed to place rescheduling language in the contract, multiple sources said, which freed Taylor to move on to the Lopez bout. Boxxer spokesperson Matty Lawless tweeted that “our position at Boxxer is that we have a legally binding contract with Top Rank. Therefore we will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

“Further on down the line, Jack and me can still fight,” Taylor told Sky Sports last week. ” … This fight [vs. Lopez] is a much bigger fight than the Catterall fight … and it’s a harder fight. He is a much higher caliber of opponent. He has been at a higher level. He’s been in with better fighters. He’s done the business.”

Taylor defended his undisputed championship against Catterall last February in Scotland and emerged with a split-decision victory, but the judging was marred in controversy.

Taylor is a star in Scotland, and the matchup with Lopez was originally being explored for the U.K. Instead, Taylor will travel for his fifth fight in the U.S. His most-recent stateside was his career-best victory, a unanimous-decision win over Jose Ramirez in May 2021 to capture the undisputed championship. Taylor vacated three of his four belts to avoid mandatory challengers that would have prevented the rematch with Catterall.

“I think the Taylor side has become less enthusiastic about the rematch with Catterall,” said McWater. “For us, we were concerned about fighting over there [in the U.K.]. If we fight over there, you’ll watch it at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It was really important to Teofimo not to do that. We want the eyeballs.

“Top Rank really listened to me this time. I think it’s a better fight over here.”

In a way, this a comeback bout for each fighter. Taylor has fought only once since he defeated Ramirez. And that victory over Catterall was one of the most controversial in years.

Lopez, among the most charismatic and talented young fighters in the game, lost the four belts he won from Lomachenko when he was defeated by George Kambosos at the Hulu Theater in ESPN’s 2021 Upset of the Year, and has been criticized for lackluster performances in his two fights at 140 pounds. His split-decision win over Sandor Martin was highly disputed.

Taylor and Lopez have been on a collision course for years as they’ve traded insults. Most recently, Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) vowed to knock Taylor out before he faced Martin.

“I’d tear him up, from the body to the head, he’s not going to know which one I’m going to hurt him with,” Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, told Sky Sports in December. “A lot of people would like to see me take on Josh Taylor, and I’ve been calling him out.

” … I actually will put him down better than what Catterall did. He won’t come back up, that’s all I can tell you.”

Lopez is rated No. 10 at junior welterweight by ESPN. Taylor is ESPN’s No. 2 junior welterweight.

Taylor must fully recover from yet another injury first. The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes to create the arch of the foot, and tearing one is considered a highly painful injury.

Taylor and Lopez were both on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list at the same time before Lopez’s loss to Kambosos. Taylor, too, dropped off the list after the performance vs. Catterall.

Seniesa Estrada to Fight Tina Rupprecht in March

Seniesa Estrada is headed back to the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican American professional boxer and WBA strawweight champion will make her first appearance of 2023 when she fights in a unification bout against WBC champion Tina Rupprecht, according to ESPN.

Seniesa EstradaThe fight is expected to take place in the United States with a targeted date of March 25 as a co-feature fight, according to ESPN.

It will be Estrada’s second fight for promoter Top Rank after splitting with Golden Boy Promotions last year. She last fought in November — after an 11-month layoff — beating Jazmin Gala Villarino by unanimous decision.

Estrada (23-0, 9 KOs) will be making the third defense of her WBA strawweight title, which she won by defeating Anabel Ortiz in March 2021. Estrada, ESPN’s No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter and No. 1 strawweight, has also held the WBO junior flyweight title and the WBA interim flyweight title.

Rupprecht (12-0-1, 3 KOs) defeated Rocio Gaspar by unanimous decision on December 10. She has held the WBC title since 2018, and before that, the interim WBC crown. This will be the fifth defense of her non-interim world title.

Rupprecht’s best win came against current IBF and WBO strawweight titleholder Yokasta Valle by unanimous decision for the interim WBC title in 2018.

This would be the second time Rupprecht has fought outside her native Germany as a pro and the first time in the United States. She defeated Yana Denisova in Russia in 2016.