New York’s 5,000 seat Madison Square Garden Theater see Top Rank and HBO hook up for a boxing card packed with international talent on Saturday, June 11th.
The main event sees WBO World 130 pound champion Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico taking on Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is 5-1 as a professional and he already has held the WBO’s world title at featherweight. He has one of the most decorated amateur resumes of all-time and ever since turning professional has made no bones about fast-tracking his career. In his second fight he experienced a setback, losing to rugged Mexican veteran Orlando Salido by split decision.
As for Martinez, he is 1-0-1 against Salido, from whom he took the WBO featherweight belt. Despite Lomachenko’s move up in weight class and Martinez’ success against Salido compared to Lomachenko, the Ukrainian will enter this fight a huge betting favorite.
Also featured on the card is undefeated 23 year old Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo (21-0). He faces Mexico’s Juan Jose Martinez (25-2) as Top Rank invokes the classic Latin rivalry in the co-feature spot. Despite that, Verdejo will enter the fight an even wider betting favorite than Lomachenko.
The evening’s ten round bout sees China’s Olympic hero Zou Shiming (7-1) continue his pro career after his 2015 slate was abbreviated by injury. Providing the opposition is 19 year old Hungarian Jozsef Ajtai (15-2).
Shiming, the most famous boxer in all of China and like Lomachenko a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is a central part of Top Rank’s international strategy. In this, his ninth pro fight, Top Rank is featuring him in New York City for his first pro fight outside of Asia. With Ajtai, Top Rank is taking very little chances with their Chinese star.
In Shiming, Verdejo and Lomachenko, Top Rank is rolling out a trio of Olympians with gold medals on their resumes. Top Rank is hoping that their success translates to the pro ranks, and at least in Lomachenko and Verdejo they feel they not only have future box-office stars but fighters who will impact the top pound for pound lists. Shiming is also wildly talented, but at 35 years old he is being looked at more as a way to crack the vast Chinese market.
The undercard has bouts that feature some of Top Rank’s better prospects. At 140 pounds Maryland’s Mike Reed (18-0) and New Jersey’s Julian Rodriguez (12-0) both are in showcase bouts as is another product out of Puerto Rico, the undefeated 21 year old Christopher Diaz, who is 16-0. The HBO broadcast is not a pay-per-view, but rather airs for free if you subscribe to HBO.
The complete card as it stands today appears below.
Saturday, June 11th, 2016 – Madison Square Garden Theater
New York, New York
130 LBS 12 rounds: Roman Martinez vs Vasyl Lomachenko
135 LBS 10 rounds: Feliz Verdejo vs Juan Jose Martinez
112 LBS 10 rounds: Zou Shiming vs Jozsef Ajtai
140 LBS 8 rounds: Mike Reed vs Abraham Cordero
140 LBS 8 rounds: Julian Rodriguez vs Kelvin Dotel
126 LBS 8 rounds: Christopher Diaz vs Nefatali Campos
126 LBS 6 rounds: Jean Carlos Rivera vs Heriberto Delgado
126 LBS 6 rounds: Jose Gonzalez vs Sean Acosta