Southern California 140-pound standout Arnold Barboza Jr. wanted the main event spotlight. He’ll get his opportunity to shine when he takes on Puerto Rican contender Danielito “El Zorro” Zorrilla in a 10-round junior welterweight showdown Friday, July 15, at the Pechanga Summit at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic silver medalists Keyshawn Davis and Richard Torrez Jr. will return on the card, with Davis battling Jair “Kaiser” Valtierra in the eight-round lightweight co-feature. Torrez will open the televised broadcast in a six-round heavyweight special attraction versus Roberto Zavala Jr.
Barboza-Zorrilla, Davis-Valtierra and Torrez-Zavala will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Barboza (26-0, 10 KOs), from South El Monte, California, is a nine-year pro who is closing in on a world title shot following a series of headline-grabbing victories. In April 2019, he knocked out former world champion Mike Alvarado in three rounds, a resounding Los Angeles homecoming that solidified him as a top contender. Barboza has won five bouts since, securing one-sided verdicts over Ricky Sismundo, William Silva, Tony Luis, Alex Saucedo, and Antonio Moran. He comes back following an 11-month layoff, the second-longest of his career. Ranked No. 8 by the WBO and No. 11 by the WBC, Barboza hopes a dominating win over his unbeaten foe will earn him that long-awaited title opportunity.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. This fight will put the other fighters at 140 pounds on notice. We’re going to take full advantage of it,” Barboza said. “Zorrilla is undefeated, ranked, and coming off a great win. We’re going to make a statement on July 15. I want a world title shot soon, and I’m going to keep pushing forward and fighting whoever they put in front of me.”
Zorrilla (16-0, 12 KOs) is a native of a Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, who had more than 100 victories before turning pro with a second-round knockout in November 2016. The 28-year-old, ranked No. 10 by the WBO at 140 pounds, has diced through his opposition in the paid ranks with 11 knockouts in three rounds or less. He went 2-0 in 2021, edging past Ruslan Madiyev in March and knocking out former interim world champion Pablo Cesar Cano in two rounds in September. A renaissance man who has an associate degree in banking and cuts hair out of his home-based barbershop, Zorrilla can cut past the line of contenders with a victory over Barboza.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and I want to thank Miguel Cotto Promotions and Top Rank,” Zorrilla said. “We have been waiting for an opportunity of this magnitude. Arnold Barboza Jr. is a quality opponent, and I’ve always wanted an at-bat against a top contender. I am working very hard, and I will be at 100 percent on July 15 to continue my journey to a junior welterweight world championship.”
Davis (5-0, 4 KOs), the fighting prodigy from Norfolk, Virginia, has been on a whirlwind ride to stardom over the past year-plus. In February 2021, he turned pro on a Canelo Alvarez undercard in Miami, fought on another Canelo card at AT&T Stadium in Texas, earned his Olympic silver medal, signed a multi-year promotional contract with Top Rank, and made his Top Rank debut in December with a second-round knockout at Madison Square Garden. He fought April 30 on the Oscar Valdez-Shakur Stevenson card at MGM Grand Garden Arena, knocking out Mexican veteran Esteban Sanchez in six rounds. Valtierra (16-1, 8 KOs), from Leon, Mexico, is a four-year pro who previously held the WBC Latino lightweight title. Last August, he suffered an upset knockout loss to Alberto Ruiz Ibarra. Three months later, Valtierra got back on the winning track with a convincing 10-round decision over Argentina’s Javier Jose Clavero.
“Every time I fight, I try to give the fans something to remember, and I’m excited to make my Southern California debut. I will put on a show for everyone watching on ESPN, that much I can guarantee,” Davis said. “We know Valtierra is coming to fight, and I’ll be ready to match whatever he brings.”
Torrez (1-0, 1 KO), from Tulare, California, is a 22-year-old southpaw who became the first U.S. Olympic super heavyweight medalist since 1988. He made his pro debut on March 4 in Fresno, California, knocking out Allen Melson in the second round. Torrez sustained a cut along his right eyebrow in the first round, which delayed his second outing by a couple of months. Zavala (2-1-1, 2 KOs), from Del Rio, Texas, has never fought outside Texas. He has never been stopped in the paid ranks and is coming off a four-round draw against the 2-0 Rudy Silvas. The 34-year-old has never weighed under 255 pounds as a pro and should have a significant size advantage over Torrez, who tipped the scales at 228¼ pounds for his debut.
Torrez said, “Ever since that cut in my pro debut, I’ve been counting down the days until my next fight. I’m thankful to be fighting on ESPN and back in my home state. If you don’t know why you should watch me, you will soon.”
Undercard action, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+, includes SoCal lightweight sensation Raymond “Danger” Muratalla in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be named. Muratalla (14-0, 12 KOs), a 25-year-old from Fontana, California, has knocked out nine consecutive opponents. He last fought April 30 on the Valdez-Stevenson card in Las Vegas, knocking out the usually durable Jeremy Hill in three rounds.
The undercard will also see heavyweight contender Stephan Shaw (16-0, 12 KOs) in an eight-rounder, and Las Vegas-born junior featherweight prospect Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (4-0, 1 KO) in a six-rounder against Pedro Salome (3-0-1, 1 KO).
Arnold Barboza Jr.
“I think this fight has all the makings of being another great war between Mexico and Puerto Rico. I’m Mexican American and he is Puerto Rican. This one will be a great battle. Everyone knows my style, and he also likes to come forward. I can’t wait for Friday night.”
“All the hard work is paying off. I began my career fighting on the small UniMás shows and now I’m the main event on ESPN, but we are not satisfied. We want more!”
“It’s exciting to fight in front of friends and family in California. It has been a while since I fought in Cali, but now we are here, and we have a great matchup. We have a tough and hungry fighter in front of us.”
“I feel happy and thankful for this opportunity. I’m well-prepared physically and mentally. Everyone will see on Friday night. I expect a lot from Barboza. He is a great fighter and one of the best in the division. This will be a very competitive fight. This will be a war!”
“Now I have former world champion, Rocky Martinez, in my corner. He is a man that has a lot of experience. He is a three-time world champion and knows what it takes to become a champion. He has added a lot to my team. I think this combination will benefit my career.”
“We are working hard to represent Puerto Rico. If the opportunity presents itself for me to become the next big Puerto Rican star, we will be ready for that and will take it. That is what we are working for.”
“I love opportunities like this. I’m ready and can’t wait for Friday night. Working at Robert Garcia’s Boxing Academy is great. All the talent there is crazy. We have great sparring sessions, and because of that, I know I’m ready. I feel like I’m ready for the next step. I know I’m ready!”
“I had a great training camp, and I know I’m ready to come out victorious. I know he is a strong fighter, but we have a great strategy, and we are going to follow the game plan.”
“I feel very excited about this opportunity. This is my first fight in the United States. Now people around the world will know about me. I hope to put on a great show for all the fans.”
Richard Torrez Jr.
“I think that my professional debut put me through a lot of things that I needed to learn as a pro. I had a cut and there was also a mix-up with the referee. There were a lot of different things going on that will help me in my future fights.”
“For this training camp, my team and I added a nutritionist. We felt like that was missing. We added them to the team and now I look and feel great. Right now, I’m here! I’m ready! We are prepared for this fight! I’m ready for Friday night!”
(ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
• Arnold Barboza Jr. 139.6 vs. Danielito Zorrilla 139.6
(Vacant WBO Intercontinental Junior Welterweight Title — 10 Rounds)
• Raymond Muratalla 136 lbs vs. Jair Valtierra 137 lbs
(Lightweight — 8 Rounds)
• Richard Torrez Jr. 224 lbs vs. Roberto Zavala Jr. 255.2 lbs
(Heavyweight — 6 Rounds)
(ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
• Austin Brooks 125.2 lbs vs. Victor Saravia 125.2 lbs
(Featherweight— 4 Rounds)
• Stephan Shaw 236.6 lbs vs. Bernardo Marquez 231.2 lbs
(Heavyweight — 8 Rounds)
• Floyd Diaz 121.6 lbs vs. Pedro Salome 121.4 lbs
(Junior Featherweight — 6 Rounds)
• Jorge Marron Jr. 143.2 lbs vs. Adrian Yung 142.6 lbs
(Junior Welterweight — 6 Rounds)