Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s Bout with Eimantas Stanionis Rescheduled for April

Vergil Ortiz Jr. will have to wait six more weeks for his next bout…

The 24-year-old Mexican-American boxer and Eimantas Stanionis will meet in a rescheduled welterweight bout on April 29 in Texas, according to ESPN.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.The 147-pound matchup was set for March 18, but postponed after Stanionis underwent an emergency appendectomy in his native Lithuania earlier this month.

Oritz’s promoter, Golden Boy, won the rights to the WBA “regular” welterweight title fight at last month’s purse bid with a commitment of $2.3 million and will stream the fight on DAZN.

Golden Boy will kick in additional money to make Ortiz, who is a far bigger star than Stanionis in the U.S., whole. The Lithuanian boxer won the secondary title with a split-decision victory over Radzhab Butaev in April and is entitled to 75% of the winning bid, while Ortiz will earn much more than the $575,000 he’s set to make via the purse bid.

The bout shapes up as a coin-flip matchup between two pressure fighters in one of boxing’s best weight classes.

Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) is rated No. 4 by ESPN at welterweight. He broke through last year with a pair of stoppage wins over Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Ortiz, who fights out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was set to fight Michael McKinson in March, but it was postponed after Ortiz was hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases the damaging protein myoglobin into the blood, which can lead to kidney damage. Ortiz went on to score a ninth-round TKO of McKinson in August and will now step way up in class.

Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 147 pounds. He also owns a win over Thomas Dulorme.

Jessica Nery Plata Defeats Kim Clavel to Unify WBA/WBC Junior Flyweight Titles

Jessica Nery Plata is a unified champion…

In the first major women’s bout of the new year, the 28-year-old Mexican professional boxer – who entered Friday’s fight as the WBA junior flyweight champion – is the unified champion after beating WBC titleholder Kim Clavel by unanimous decision.

Jessica Nery PlataTwo judges scored it 97-93 and a third had it 96-94 after a fast-paced fight that had urgency in all 10 rounds.

Nery Plata (29-2, 3 KO) showed early on in Place Bell in Laval, Canada, that she would be willing to stand in and trade punches with Clavel. And it was her punches that did the most damage throughout the fight.

Nery Plata forced bleeding from Clavel’s nose in the fifth round and continued to reopen the bleeding on Clavel’s face throughout the latter half of the fight. Clavel’s face was swollen by the end of the fight. Nery Plata landed the more effective body shots as well.

Clavel (16-1, 3 KO) kept almost every round close, but Nery Plata seemed to often close each round with the stronger and more effective combinations, particularly using her right jab to set up everything else she was attempting to throw.

Nery Plata consistently caused more issues, including in the final round, when it looked like Nery Plata might have stunned Clavel as the two were exchanging punches in the center of the ring.

It was the eighth straight win for Nery Plata and first defense of the WBA title she won in March 2022, when she defeated Yesica Yolanda Bopp in Panama. It’s also the second straight fight Nery Plata has fought outside of her native Mexico, where she fought the first 29 fights of her professional career.

Nery Plata is the only current titleholder in the division; the WBO and IBF titles won by Yokasta Valle in November when she beat Evelin Bermudez have been vacated.

It was the first professional loss for Clavel, 32, who was making the first defense of her WBC title she won by defeating Yesenia Gomez last July.

Mauricio Lara to Fight Leigh Wood in WBA Featherweight Title Fight

Mauricio Lara is taking on a champion…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer is set to fight Leigh Wood, who is hoping to defend his WBA featherweight title, on February 18 in Nottingham, England, according to promoter Matchroom Boxing.

Mauricio Lara,The bout, which shapes up as a slugfest between two aggressive fighters, was scheduled for September before Wood suffered a torn biceps while sparring.

Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) defended the 126-pound title with a thrilling 12th-round knockout of Michael Conlan in February, a bout that was named ESPN‘s Fight of the Year and KO of the Year. Wood, 34, was floored in Round 1 but rallied to send Conlan through the ropes for the brutal finish.

It was a raucous atmosphere in Nottingham, and now Wood will return home for his second title defense. Leo Santa Cruz, who hadn’t defended his WBA title since 2019, relinquished the belt in December, meaning Wood will fight as a full-fledged champion for the first time.

“Mauricio Lara has made things personal between us with the disrespect he showed me regarding my injury and my country,” said Wood, ESPN’s No. 7 featherweight. “I’m going to show him what I’m all about.”

While the Englishman recovered from the biceps injury, Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) stayed busy with a third-round KO of journeyman Jose Sanmartin in October in his hometown, Mexico City.

Lara is no stranger to fighting on the road in England. He broke out in February 2021 with an upset victory over Josh Warrington before the rematch seven months later in Leeds resulted in a two-round no contest due to a clash of heads.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity for two years and I am not going to waste it,” said Lara, ESPN’s No. 2 featherweight. ” … The WBA 126-pound world title goes to Mexico, that I promised to my daughter, my family, my team and to my whole country. Your time has come Leigh Wood, no ‘injury’ can save you now from this.”

Vergil Ortiz Jr. to Fight Eimantas Stanionis in March

Vergil Ortiz Jr. has received his marching orders…

The 147-pound bout between the 24-year-old Mexican-American boxer and Eimantas Stanionis has been scheduled for March 18 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to ESPN.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.Oritz’s promoter, Golden Boy, won the rights to the WBA “regular” welterweight title fight at last month’s purse bid with a commitment of $2.3 million, and will stream the fight on DAZN.

Now, Oscar De La Hoya‘s promotional outfit is placing the fight in Ortiz’s home state, where he’s headlined many times.

Golden Boy will also kick in additional money to make Ortiz, who is a far bigger star than Stanionis in the U.S., whole. The Lithuanian boxer won the secondary title with a split-decision victory over Radzhab Butaev in April and is entitled to 75% of the winning bid, while Ortiz will receive far more than the $575,000 he’s set to make via the purse bid.

The bout shapes up as a coin-flip matchup between two pressure fighters in one of boxing’s best weight classes.

Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) is rated No. 4 by ESPN at welterweight. The 24-year-old broke through last year with a pair of stoppage wins over Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

Ortiz was set to fight Michael McKinson in March, but the fight was postponed after Ortiz was hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases the damaging protein myoglobin into the blood, which can lead to kidney damage.

Ortiz went on to score a ninth-round TKO of McKinson in August and will now step way up in class.

Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 147 pounds. The 28-year-old also owns a win over Thomas Dulorme. He’s promoted by Probellum but has competed under the PBC banner for most of his career.

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.

Amanda Serrano to Face Erika Cruz in Undisputed Featherweight Title Bout

Amanda Serrano will be fighting for undisputed status in February…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, the current IBF, WBC and WBO featherweight titleholder, will face WBA champion Erika Cruz in an undisputed featherweight title fight, according to ESPN.

Amanda SerranoThe fight between Serrano and Cruz will headline a card on February 4 at the Hulu Theater in New York City.

If Serrano wins, it will be the first time the seven-division titleholder would be an undisputed champion in a division, and she would be the first Puerto Rican undisputed champ, male or female.

Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KO) was last in the ring in September, when she beat Sarah Mahfoud by unanimous decision to win the IBF featherweight title. Serrano is ESPN’s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter.

She fought twice last year, against Mahfoud and Katie Taylor, a split-decision loss at the big room of Madison Square Garden in what was named ESPN‘s women’s fight of the year in 2022.

Cruz (15-1, 3 KO), 35, won the WBA belt in April, 2021, when she beat Jelena Mrdjenovich by technical decision.

She since defended the title twice, beating Melissa Esquivel by split decision in 2021 and Mrdjenovich by unanimous decision in a rematch in September. Cruz suffered her only loss in 2016, a majority decision loss to Alondra Gonzalez Flores in a four-round fight in Cruz’s second career fight.

For all of Serrano’s accomplishments – and there have been many since she began fighting professionally in 2009 – she has never become an undisputed four-belt champion, something she would become should she beat Cruz.

This could be the beginning of a big year for Serrano, who has said she would like to face Katie Taylor in a rematch of an April fight that saw Taylor win a split decision over Serrano for Taylor’s undisputed lightweight titles.

But first, Serrano said, she knew she wanted to fight Cruz.

“After Cruz,” Serrano told ESPN recently. “It’s a great storyline. Undisputed versus undisputed champion, and of course it’s a different weight class, but it is what it is. The first fight was great, and I think the second fight would be even better.”

Serrano said she would go up to lightweight to fight Taylor a second time should that fight happen.

ESPN previously reported Ramla Ali is also expected to fight on the February 4 card.

WBA Orders Amanda Serrano to Fight Erika Cruz for Undisputed Featherweight Title

Amanda Serrano has received her orders…

The WBA has ordered a fight between the 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler and Erika Cruz for the undisputed featherweight title, according to the organization’s Twitter account.

Amanda SerranoThe sides will have 30 days to close a deal before a purse bid is ordered.

Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) holds the WBO, WBA and IBF titles at 126 pounds while Cruz (15-1, 3 KOs) holds the WBA version.

Serrano met Katie Taylor in the biggest boxing match in women’s history in April and dropped a split decision. That fight was at 135 pounds for the undisputed lightweight championship. Afterward, Serrano returned to 126 pounds and successfully defended her three titles with a unanimous-decision victory over Sarah Mahfoud in September.

Cruz, 32, won the featherweight title in 2021 with a technical decision over Jelena Mrdjenovich and has made two defenses. Most recently, she scored a shutout decision over Mrdjenovich in a September rematch.

Serrano is ESPN’s No. 1 featherweight and No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer. Cruz is No. 2 at 126 pounds.

Taylor retained her lightweight championship on Saturday with a unanimous-decision over Karen Elizabeth Carbajal and called for a rematch with Serrano next year in Taylor’s native Ireland.

Joshua Franco Reportedly Agrees to 115-Pound Title Unification Bout Against Kazuto Ioka

Joshua Franco is hoping to expand his belt collection…

The 26-year-old Mexican American boxer and Kazuto Ioka have agreed to terms for a 115-pound title unification bout on December 31 in Japan, according to ESPN.

Ioka (29-2, 15 KOs) holds the WBO junior bantamweight title, while Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs) was elevated by the WBA in August after its super champion, Juan Francisco Estrada, relinquished his belt.

Ioka, a 33-year-old who fights out of Tokyo, won the title with a split-decision victory over Donnie Nietes in 2018. He has made five successful defenses, most recently a unanimous-decision win over Nietes in a July rematch in which he left no doubt.

Franco, from San Antonio, closed out three consecutive fights against Andrew Moloney with a decision victory last August. He hasn’t competed since and secured his release from Golden Boy Promotions in August.

Ioka is rated No. 4 by ESPN at junior bantamweight, one of boxing’s most stacked divisions. Franco, the brother of Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, is No. 7.

Future Hall of Famers Roman Gonzalez and Estrada meet in a trilogy on December 3, and the winner could meet the victor of Ioka-Franco next year.

Seniesa Estrada to Defend WBA Strawweight Title Against Jazmin Gala Villarino

Seniesa Estrada is going on the defensive…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer will defend her WBA strawweight title against Jazmin Gala Villarino in a co-feature bout on November 12, the first fight of her contract with Top Rank.

Seniesa EstradaEstrada (22-0, 9 KO) will be fighting for the first time in 2022.

She last fought on December 18, 2021, beating Maria Micheo Santizo by knockout in the fourth round in San Antonio.

This will be the second defense of her WBA belt after winning it from Anabel Ortiz in March 2021 by unanimous decision and then defending it against Santizo in December.

Villarino (6-1-2, 1 KO), from Argentina, has not lost since her debut in 2016 and beat Judith Vivanco by unanimous decision in her last fight in March. This will be Villarino’s debut in the United States. The exact location for the fight has not been announced.

Having fought the majority of her career in her native Argentina, her past two fights have taken place in Colombia and Mexico.

Juan Francisco Estrada to Face Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in Trilogy Bout in December

Juan Francisco Estrada is preparing for a triology…

The 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer is expected to meet Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on December 3 in a trilogy bout for the junior bantamweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has announced.

Juan Francisco EstradaNo location for the fight was revealed.

This is the third time the third fight between Estrada and Gonzalez has been scheduled. The future Hall of Famers were set to square off in October 2021 before Gonzalez tested positive for COVID-19. A March bout was postponed after Estrada contracted the coronavirus.

Estrada returned Saturday to his native Mexico with a tougher-than-expected decision victory over Argi Cortes to retain the WBC franchise championship at 115 pounds. Now, Estrada heads into the rubber match with Gonzalez, a rivalry that began 10 years ago.

Gonzalez (51-3, 41 KOs) scored a unanimous-decision victory over Estrada in 2012 to retain a 108-pound title. Estrada (43-3, 28 KOs) exacted a measure of revenge in the March 2021 rematch at 115 pounds, but the split-decision win was marred by controversy. They combined for 2,529 punches in the return bout that was ESPN’s runner-up for fight of the year.

“When you talk about great rivalries over the years, this is right up there,” Hearn told ESPN last year. “Fight 1 was a classic, and Fight 2 was probably the best I have ever seen live. The decider will be historic.”

After Estrada withdrew from the rematch, Gonzalez went on to defeat 112-pound champion Julio Cesar Martinez in March in yet another master-class performance for the 35-year-old Nicaraguan.

Estrada, who relinquished his WBA title last month, is ESPN’s No. 1 junior bantamweight. Gonzalez, who was long recognized as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is No. 2.