Marlen Esparza to Fight Gabriela Fundora in Undisputed Flyweight Championship Bout

Marlen Esparza has secured her next opponent…

The 34-year-old Mexican American boxer and flyweight women’s unified champion and fellow Latina boxing champion Gabriela Fundora will meet for the undisputed flyweight championship on January 6 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN.

Marlen EsparzaThe fight will be on the undercard of Vergil Ortiz Jr.‘s 154-pound debut against Fredrick Lawson, a show promoted by Golden Boy.

Esparza (14-1, 1 KO), of Houston, a bronze medalist for the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games and ESPN’s No. 1 ranked flyweight, won the WBC belt with a victory over Anabel Ortiz in December 2021. Esparza knocked down Ortiz twice en route to a unanimous decision win by scorecards of 100-88, 99-90 and 95-94.

Esparza added the WBA title four months later with a one-sided decision victory over Naoko Fujioka (100-90, 100-90 and 97-93), and after one successful defense against Eva Guzman in August 2022, Esparza unified the WBO belt in a tough fight against Gabriela Celeste Alaniz, whom she beat by majority decision (99-91, 97-93 and 95-95) this past July.

Fundora (12-0, 5 KOs), of Coachella, California, is the younger sister of former junior middleweight interim titlist Sebastian Fundora.

Gabriela Fundora, ranked No. 2 by ESPN in the division, has been very active in 2023, fighting three times, including a fifth-round TKO victory over Arely Mucino in October to win the IBF title.

Gabriela Fundora Scores TKO Victory Over Arely Mucino to Claim IBF Flyweight Title in First Attempt

Gabriela Fundora is officially a titleholder…

The 21-year-old Latina professional boxer scored two knockdowns en route to a fifth-round TKO victory over IBF flyweight champion Arely Mucino to claim the title.

Gabriela FundoraFundora threw punch after punch, finding the face and body of Mucino over and over again. It was clinical from the opening bell until the fight was stopped less than 10 minutes later.

In the end, Fundora (12-0, 5 KO) defeated Mucino to win the IBF flyweight belt in her first title fight.

“We just stayed calm,” Fundora said in the post-fight interview on DAZN. “We’re not going to go rushing into the fight. That’s not smart. So we just stay calm, stay focused and stay in attack.

Gabriela Fundora“And honestly at the end of the first round, we saw that she was hurt so I knew from there it was going to be a long night.”

A long night, at least, for Mucino (32-4-2, 11 KO), who was making the first defense of the title. She had also held the IBF, WBC and WBO flyweight belts earlier in her career.

This was Mucino’s first loss since 2015 and the second stoppage loss in her career — she lost the IBF belt the first time in a second round knockout against Ava Knight in 2011.

This fight took a little longer, but was a high-level performance from Fundora, ESPN’s No. 5 flyweight and a rising star in the sport since she turned pro at age 18. Fundora landed 136 of 305 punches throughout the four-plus rounds — a 45% connect rate — while Mucino landed 31 of 177 punches.

It was the third win in as many fights for Fundora in 2023, and her first stoppage since last April. Mucino, ESPN’s No. 2 flyweight, was also the toughest opponent Fundora had faced in only her third 10-round fight.

Trained by her father, Freddy Fundora, and often working out with her brother, former WBC interim junior middleweight champion Sebastian Fundora, they had been angling for this moment for over a year. And now, it finally came.

After the victory, she said her mom had cannolis ready to celebrate in their home outside Bakersfield, California.

“I’m just going to go enjoy that, enjoy this belt and enjoy the victory with my loved ones and my family,” Fundora said. “Take each step as it comes.”

Edwin De Los Santos Agrees to Fight Shakur Stevenson for Vacant WBC Lightweight Title

Edwin De Los Santos is ready to Shakur things up…

The 23-year-old Dominican boxer and Shakur Stevenson have agreed to a deal for a November 16 fight in Las Vegas for the vacant WBC lightweight title.

The 135-pound title bout will headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card two days before Formula 1‘s debut race on the Las Vegas Strip.

Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) had been slated to fight undefeated contender Frank Martin after a deal was reached last week, but Martin decided not to proceed with the bout after the contract was sent over. De Los Santos was the next available contender in the WBC‘s lightweight rankings.

De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) has impressed in his past two fights. He rose off the canvas to score a third-round knockout of Jose Valenzuela in September 2022 and followed that with a unanimous-decision win over Joseph Adorno in July. De Los Santos’ lone defeat was an eight-round split decision against William Foster in January 2022.

Less than two years after that setback, De Los Santos will meet Stevenson, ESPN’s No. 9 pound-for-pound boxer, for the title formerly held by undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney.

The WBC named Haney “champion in recess” after he decided to move up to 140 pounds for a shot at the organization’s junior welterweight title. That fight for Regis Prograis‘ WBC title will take place December 9 in San Francisco.

“Most ducked fighter in the sport of boxing,” Stevenson posted on Instagram after Martin withdrew. “Edwin get ready, I’m tired of [you] saying my name.”

Stevenson, 26, is one of the fastest-rising stars in boxing. The Newark, New Jersey, native has won titles at 126 and 130 pounds and will look to do the same in a third weight class.

A southpaw who is perhaps the sport’s best defensive fighter, Stevenson scored a sixth-round stoppage of Shuichiro Yoshino in April in his lightweight debut.

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.

Arely Mucino to Defend Her IBF Flyweight Title Against Gabriela Fundora

Arely Mucino is going on the defensive…

The 34-year-old Mexican professional boxer and reigning IBF flyweight champion will make the first defense of her title against Mexican American fighter Gabriela Fundora on October 21 at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California, according to ESPN.

Arely MucinoMucino, ESPN’s No. 2 flyweight, last fought in October when she beat Leonela Paola Yudica for the IBF title. Mucino (32-3-2, 11 KO) had been the WBO and WBC flyweight champion at points earlier in her career.

Her last loss came in 2015 by unanimous decision to Yessica Chavez. Mucino has won her past 11 fights.

Fundora, ESPN’s No. 5 flyweight, has been one of ESPN’s top prospects the past two years. The 21-year-old last fought in April, beating Maria Micheo Santizo by unanimous decision.

This will be the third fight this year and first title shot for Fundora (11-0, 4 KO), who is from California and is the younger sister of super middleweight Sebastian Fundora.

WBO Orders Undisputed Featherweight Champion Amanda Serrano to Fight Danila Ramos in Mandatory Title Defense

Amanda Serrano has been assigned her next opponent…

The WBO has ordered the 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, the undisputed featherweight champion, to have a mandatory title defense against Danila Ramos, potentially lining up the next fight for ESPN‘s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter.

Amanda SerranoBoth Serrano and Ramos last fought earlier this month.

Serrano (45-2-1, 30 KO) beat Heather Hardy by a unanimous decision in Dallas, and Ramos (12-2, 1 KO) defeated Brenda Karen Carabajal by split decision in Buenos Aires.

If the fight gets made, it will be the sixth defense of the WBO title for Serrano.

Ramos, 38, has been in three “interim” title fights in her career — losing a unanimous decision to Elhem Mekhaled for the WBC interim junior lightweight title in 2019, a split decision loss to Katharina Thanderz for the same belt later in 2019 and then defeating Carabajal for the “interim” WBO featherweight title earlier this month.

It’s not clear why there’s an interim title in the division since Serrano has been active since beating Hardy for the WBO title in 2019.

The WBO is giving the two sides 10 days to negotiate and come to a fight agreement before it gets sent to purse bid.

Emanuel Navarrete Defeats Oscar Valdez to Retain WBO Junior Lightweight Title

Emanuel Navarrete is keeping his title…

In an all-out slugfest on ESPN, the 28-year-old Mexican boxer (38-1, 31 KOs) retained his WBO junior lightweight title against Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision by scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109. ESPN scored it 116-112.

Emanuel Navarrete“I feel happy to have been part of this … next great chapter of Mexican boxing history,” Navarrete said through an interpreter. “I am happy and appreciate Oscar for the great fight that we delivered.”

“Thank God I won,” he added. “I appreciate what he did in the ring. He is a Mexican warrior. If people want a rematch, they will demand it.”

Round after round, Navarrete fired punches from awkward angles, rarely setting his feet. He uncorked looping right hands and lefts from uncanny trajectories while in constant motion. He totaled a dizzying 1,038 punches for the fight, more than double the output of Valdez, who threw just 436.

Valdez (31-2, 23 KOs) was content to march forward and exchange with Navarrete, a strategy that rarely worked. When he took a step back, he often missed wildly on home run swings. He did, however, connect plenty with his left hook, the same shot that brutally knocked out Miguel Berchelt in 2021 to win the WBC junior lightweight title.

When Valdez drilled Navarrete with the counter left hook in Round 2 and the champion didn’t so much as budge, it was clear trouble was in store for the challenger.

Slowly but surely, Valdez’s right eye closed and turned purple under duress from Navarrete’s punishing, whirlwind attack. Even when Navarrete indicated that his right hand was injured late in the fight, he continued to throw with his power hand.

“It was a small inflammation in my right hand,” Navarrete said. “But the more you hit it, the tougher it gets. But I had to overcome it.”

Navarrete entered the fight rated No. 2 by ESPN at junior lightweight after he defeated Australia’s Liam Wilson to win the vacant title in February. Wilson stepped in six months ago to replace Valdez, who was injured, and almost pulled off the upset. Wilson scored a knockdown in Round 4 of Navarrete’s 130-pound debut, but Navarrete rallied to stop him in Round 9.

On Saturday night, Navarrete scored not just a second victory at 130 pounds but the biggest win of his career.

“He is a warrior,” said Valdez, who lived in Tucson, Arizona, during parts of his childhood. “I tried my best. We gave it our best. He is a warrior. He is a true champion.”

“I’m sorry I disappointed everyone,” Valdez added. “I feel terrible. I wanted to give you all a great fight. I hope you enjoyed the fight. I hope to return strong.”

A two-time Olympian, Valdez, 32, emerged with his face badly bruised and swollen, the product of Navarrete’s thudding shots. Of course, he’s no stranger to fighting through trying circumstances.

In a 2018 featherweight title defense against Scott Quigg, Valdez battled through a broken jaw to win a decision. His jaw was wired shut afterward.

He has been floored multiple times in his career but always bounced back to win outside of his fight last year against pound-for-pound talent Shakur Stevenson. And now, for the second time in three outings, Valdez will look to bounce back.

Navarrete, meanwhile, appears to be improving with each fight and each new weight class. He made his pro debut in 2012 at 112 pounds and won his first title in 2018 when he upset Isaac Dogboe. He then turned back Dogboe in the rematch before notching four more junior featherweight defenses against limited opposition.

At 126 pounds, Navarrete defeated Ruben Villa in 2020 to capture a vacant title and went on to score far more impressive wins against quality opponents, including victories over Joet Gonzalez and Eduardo Baez.

He has defeated the top boxer in ESPN‘s 130-pound ratings and once again was able to overwhelm his foe with not just volume but bruising power.

Navarrete will continue to be in demand, a champion on top of his weight class who consistently delivers action fights — and another in a long line of brave fighters from Mexico.

David Benavidez Finalizing Deal for Super Middleweight Bout vs. Demetrius Andrade

David Benavidez is thisclose to heading back to the ring…

David BenavidezThe 26-year-old Mexican-Ecuadorian-Dominican American professional boxer, a two-time WBC super middleweight champion, is finalizing a deal to fight Demetrius Andrade in a super middleweight bout this fall in Las Vegas.

The battle of former champions will be a pay-per-view event, according to ESPN sources.

Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) scored a career-best win in March, a unanimous-decision victory over Caleb Plant. Fighting out of Seattle, he’s ESPN‘s No. 2 super middleweight after undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez.

Benavidez lost his belt outside the ring on both occasions (positive test for cocaine before he later missed weight).

The volume puncher, known as “The Mexican Monster,” is hoping for a showdown with Alvarez next year. But first, Benavidez will face a slick boxer for the second consecutive fight when he meets Andrade.

A former champion at 154 and 160 pounds, Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) will finally land the big fight he’s sought at age 35. Long avoided for his defensive prowess and boxing skills, Andrade moved up to 168 pounds in January with a shutout decision win over journeyman Demond Nicholson.

Andrade, a Providence, R.I., native, has never faced an elite opponent. He’ll step up in class when he meets Benavidez in a matchup that could propel the winner to a showdown with Alvarez.

Andrade is ESPN’s No. 8 super middleweight.

Seniesa Estrada Beats Leonela Yudica by Unanimous Decision to Retain WBA & WBC 105-Pound Titles

Seniesa Estrada has successfully defended her titles…

The 31-year-old Mexican American professional boxer retained her WBA and WBC 105-pound titles with a unanimous decision victory over Leonela Yudica on Friday at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort.

Seniesa Estrada

All three judges scored the fight 97-93.

Estrada used her height and reach advantage to outbox Yudica, sometimes switching stances in a tough title defense. Estrada was able to dig hard shots to the body in a fight that featured a lot of exchanges and many rounds that were difficult to score.

“I knew coming into this fight that she was a boxer who would move away from me and not come forward much,” Estrada said. “In my preparation, I knew I had to show something different in myself.”

She added: “Going into this fight, I knew she was a natural flyweight, so she is a lot bigger than me physically. … I definitely had to use my footwork. … I had to use my feints and movements to make sure I was close enough to land punches and not get countered.”

Estrada (25-0, 9 KOs) captured a second minimumweight belt in March in a title-unification victory over Tina Rupprecht. From East Los Angeles, Estrada has made three title defenses at 105 pounds. Estrada also won a 108-pound title in July 2021 with a victory over Tenkai Tsunami but returned to 105 pounds afterward. She is ESPN‘s No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer.

Yokasta Valle, who holds the WBO and IBF titles at 105 pounds, was welcomed into the ring after Estrada’s win Friday night. A fight with Estrada could take place next for the undisputed minimumweight championship.

“I want Yokasta Valle,” said Estrada, who is No. 1 in ESPN’s division rankings, with Valle No. 2. “I’m the best in this division. I want to prove it by beating her. She can just hand me those belts right now because when we fight it’s going to be bad for her.”

Yudica (19-2-3, 1 KO), a longtime champion at 112 pounds, fought at 105 pounds for the first time.

The 34-year-old Argentine lost to Arely Mucino in October via split decision but rebounded to defeat Tamara Demarco in April, also via split decision. It was just her second fight outside of Argentina.

“I do not agree at all with the scorecards,” Yudica said. “I am convinced that nobody has hit her like I have hit her. If not, she can take off her hat and show how her face has been left.

“I did a very good job. … I exchanged when I needed to. It was a good fight, and it didn’t deserve this result.”