Unbeaten light welterweight contender Richardson Hitchins must show the world if he’s the real thing tonight in his first headliner against the heavy puncher Jose Zepeda at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)
Promoter Eddie Hearn has been talking up a storm about how great Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs) is, putting him in the same league as Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney & Shakur Stevenson regarding his talent.
Tonight, fans will judge for themselves if the 25-year-old Hitchins is a massive talent or another fighter like Regis Prograis, who Hearn recently signed, and he doesn’t look so great.
Last Friday, Hitchins weighed in at 139.8 lbs, while the 34-year-old Zepeda came in at 140 lbs.
Tonight’s Hitchins vs. Zepeda event starts at 8:00 p.m. ET on DAZN.
Undercard weigh-in results
Jessica McCaskill 146.4 vs. Sandy Ryan 146.4
Conor Benn 153.6 vs. Rodolfo Orozco 154.4
Claudia Trejo: “The star of the ball, Jose Zepeda. I’ve seen you grow up through the ranks.”
Jose Zepeda: “We’re ready. We took this fight because this guy is a talented fighter. He’s fast, he’s everything,” said Zepeda to Matchroom Boxing about Richardson Hitchins.
“I told my manager that I need a fight that is going to get me right back to the titles again to go for the fourth time for a world title, and this is Richardson Hitchins.
“We have to go through him, and we’ll see if he’s all about the truth or if it’s all hype.”
Trejo: “You’re used to fighting at that level. You’ve had Jose Carlo Ramirez and the likes of him. You’ve trained with outstanding fighters from the talent pool of California. What do you see as a challenge with Hitchins?”
Zepeda: “He’s a really talented fighter. Nothing that I haven’t seen before. I was in there with sparring with Mayweather. So, I’ve seen it all. He’s the one that is stepping up a level. We’re going to see if he has it or not.”
Trejo: “The 140-lb division is a very competitive division, and it’s deep, and it’s wide in all the entities. What does it take today to become a household name at 140?”
Zepeda: “You have to beat the champions, that’s for sure, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I just lost to Prograis. I told my manager that I can do a lot better.
“I told my manager to get me a fight that would get me right back with all the champions right now. So this is the guy. Matchroom told me that if I beat him, I have a real chance for the rematch with Prograis or whoever wins between Prograis & Haney.”
Trejo: “So, tomorrow you’re fighting here. You’ve never fought in Florida. How does it feel to be here where most of the fans are Hispanic?”
Zepeda: “Great. I have a lot of experience, so I feel good anywhere. It doesn’t matter. With 40 fights, I’m ready. I trained my a**, so we’ll see tomorrow. I’m going to do what I always do, which is to give my heart out there.”
Trejo: “Obviously, you’re going to be fighting for the title. How is it coming from Jersey all the way here?
Richardson Hitchins: “It’s great. I’ve been to Orlando a few times. I’ve sparred here. It’s nothing different. I’m ready to box and show the world my talent and skills.”
Trejo: “When we look at the record with 14 wins with 6 knockouts. Jose Zepeda has 34 knockouts. That can be intimidating. How do you work against a fighter with such a long record?”
Zepeda: “I just got to be smart and let my talent and abilities speak for themselves. He has 28 knockouts, but I feel he has a built-up record also. I feel like anybody he has been in the ring with, with me with only 16 professional fights, I would have dominated.
“I think that’s what’s given me the mental edge. Like I said. Tomorrow night, we got to go see. He seems ready, I’m ready, so tomorrow night should be a great night of boxing.”
Trejo: “Let’s take a look back. You were part of our national team. Obviously, that Olympic experience is more than the kills. The experience. You have to adjust the day of the fight for your opponent. So, based on that experience. How much work to you have to do to adjust to a person like Jose Zepeda?”
Hitchins: “I just figure it out when I get in there. When I get in there, I’ll figure it out. Most guys’ game plan is to come in, and put pressure. We know that Zepeda has a powerful left hand and we know he’s a strong guy. So, we’ll figure everything out tomorrow when we get in there.
“We have a game plan and tomorrow is up to us to stick to it and make sure that we can dominate in the fight.”