Boxing’s most-exciting fighter, WBC super lightweight champion Arturo Gatti, returns to the ring on Jan 29 to defend his crown against former world champion Jesse James Leija, it was announced today by Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. Bally’s Atlantic City will host the electrifying evening of boxing, which will take place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. HBO’s “World Championship Boxing Series” will broadcast the bout live.
Gatti (38-6, 29 KO’s) has participated in the “Fight of the Year” five times (1996-1998; 2002-2003). The 32-year-old Montreal, Canada native and current Jersey City, NJ resident captured the vacant WBC super lightweight title on January 24, 2004, when he defeated WBC #1 ranked contender Gianluca Branco in front of 11,000 fans at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ (W 12). The Branco bout was Gatti’s first since his epic trilogy against Mickey Ward in 2002-2003. In his last bout on July 24, 2004, Gatti stopped former world champion Leonard Dorin with a crippling left hook to the body that sent Dorin to his knees, unable to beat the 10 count.
Leija (47-6-2, 19 KO’s) has won five of his last six bouts. The 37-year-old San Antonio, TX native’s sole loss during this time period was a six round stoppage at the hands of former undisputed jr. welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu (TKO by 6). Leija is a former WBC super featherweight champion who fought three memorable bouts against Ghanan legend Azumah Nelson. Since turning pro in 1988 Leija has fought some of the sport’s finest boxers, such as Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley, Azumah Nelson, Kostya Tszyu, Gabriel Ruelas, Micky Ward, Ivan Robinson, and Juan Lazcano. In his last bout on July 24, 2004, Leija climbed off the canvas in round two to upset “Panchito” Bojado to earn a decision victory (W 10).
The evening is being presented by Main Events, Bally's Atlantic City, and Caesar's Atlantic City, in association with Golden Boy Promotions.