Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) world champions ÓSCAR VALDEZ and GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ will headline and exciting world championship event Next Friday! September 22, at Tucson Arena (260 South Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701.) Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs), a two-time Mexican Olympian with strong roots in Tucson, will be defending his WBO featherweight title against the WBO’s No. 4 world-rated contender GENESIS SERVANIA (29-0, 12 KOs), of Bacolod City, Philippines. WBO super middleweight champion Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs), from Mazatlan Mexico, will take on No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger JESSE “Hard Work” HART (22-0, 18 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA, in the grudge match of the year. The four warriors boast a perfect combined record of 108-0 (73 KOs) with nearly 70% of their victories coming by way of knockout.
The event will be further enhanced with the addition of Irish Olympic hero MICHAEL “MICK” CONLAN, 2016 U.S. Olympian MIKAELA MAYER and the battle for the vacant NABF welterweight title between EGIS KAVALIAUSKAS and MAHONRI MONTES. Conlan (3-0, 3 KOs) will rumble in six-round featherweight bout against Kenny Guzman (3-0, 1 KO), Kalispell, Montana, and Mayer (1-0, 1 KO) will take on Allison Martinez (1-2, 1 KO) from Spring, Texas, in a four-round lightweight bout.
Both world championship fights and Conlan’s six-round featherweight battle against Kenny Guzman (3-0, 1 KO), of Kalispell, Montana, will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN app. The entire card will be available via the ESPN app beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT.
“I’m ready for my opponent on the 22nd, this has been a really tough camp where I have learned a lot,” said Conlan. “I plan on bringing everything I’ve learned this camp on fight night. My opponent is undefeated with the same amount of fights as me so someone’s 0 has got to go and it sure as hell won’t be mine! Expect fireworks in Tucson!”
“I’m grateful to Top Rank for scheduling this fight so promptly. I’m looking forward to stepping back into the ring after my pro debut in August,” said Mayer. “There are going to be three Olympians on this card and I’m honored to be one of them and honored to be fighting alongside names like Oscar Valdez and Michael Conlan. As one of several female Olympians recently entering the pro scene, I feel obligated to fight hard and represent us well. Training has been going well in my new city of Sacramento with the addition to my team of Coach Gabe Flores. I’m eager to put on another exciting performance so that the boxing fans in Tucson and everywhere through ESPN’s platforms can see Mikaela Mayer in action.”
For his pro debut, which took place on St. Patrick’s Day at a sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan (3-0, 3 KOs), of Belfast, was escorted into the ring by UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Conlan produced one of the most memorable moments during last summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A loss in the bantamweight quarterfinals to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin was arguably the most controversial of the boxing tournament. In fact Conlan hurt Nikitin so badly that the Russian forfeited his semifinal fight because he wasn’t able to recuperate from the injuries he suffered from the pasting he received from Conlan. After the decision was announced, Conlan saluted the judges with both middle fingers followed by a series of post-fight interviews ripping the decision and accusing the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which oversees amateur boxing, of corruption. AIBA sent the judges who worked that fight home in the wake of the immediate public outrage. Conlan further added to his legend by sending a Tweet to Russian president Vladimir Putin, “How much did they charge you bro???” A former amateur standout who was a 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and 2015 World Amateur Champion — a first for a male Irish fighter — Conlan trains in Los Angeles with Manny Robles and spars regularly with Robles’ champion fighters.
Mayer (1-0, 1 KO), a native of Los Angeles, boasts a sterling amateur resume which includes being a three-time national champion, Mayer advanced to the women’s lightweight quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, one bout short of the medal round, before losing an extremely close majority decision to Anastasiia Beliakova of Russia. Two judges scored it 39-37 for the Russian while a third judge ruled it a draw. She made her pro debut on August 5, scoring a first-round stoppage of Widnelly Figueroa. Mayer will be facing Allison Martinez (1-2, 1 KO) of Spring, Texas, in a four-round lightweight bout.
Kavaliauskas (17-0, 14 KOs), a native of Lithuania who trains in Oxnard, Calif., enters this fight having won three of his last four bouts by knockout and world-rated No. 4 by the WBO. Montes (32-6-1, 21 KOs), of Mexico, brings experience and power to the table. In his last fight, on April 22, he defeated Francisco Santana via a 10-round split decision.
All fights, and the ARTUR BETERBIEV – ENRICO KOELLING International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight title elimination bout, will take place Saturday, November 11 at Save Mart Center at Fresno State. Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs), from Las Vegas, Nev., will be defending his title against No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger CESAR JUAREZ (20-5, 15 KOs), from Mexico City. Local favorite and farmer rights activist Ramirez (20-0, 15 KOs), of Avenal, Calif., will be risking his title and his world rating against Top-10 contender MIKE “Yes Indeed” REED (23-0, 12 KO), of Waldorf, MD
All three fights will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN app.
Promoted by Top Rank®, tickets to this world championship event go on sale Tomorrow! Friday, September 15, at 10 a.m. PT. Priced at $150 (floor), $88, $58 and $33, plus applicable fees, tickets may be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 800 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office. For the Box Office hours go to savemartcenter.com.
“A great fight inside and outside the ring,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Jessie and Jose are going to light it up on November 11 because that’s the only way they know how to perform. Fresno is one of my favorite places to watch a fight because the fans are so great. And you can’t fight for a better cause than for the water rights of the Central Valley farmers. They are America!”
“Now that my first title defense is under my belt I am even more inspired to work hard every day and remain a world champion,” said Magdaleno. “Juarez is not only my mandatory challenger he is the next obstacle in establishing my legacy in the sport. I don’t go around obstacles. I go through them.”
“I’m ready to show the world how hard I have worked and trained for this moment,” said Ramirez. “And to do it at home for my city — to bring awareness to our immigration issues and to get the Temperance Flat dam built for water storage, makes it that much more important to me,” said Ramirez.
“Jose is headlining the largest televised sporting event in our city’s history,” said Rick Mirgian, Ramirez’s advisor. “The combination of ESPN’s coverage in a Top-10 Arena and a homecoming fight for a local hero on the big stage will make this a very special night.”
The previous Top Rank events at the Save Mart Center, headlined by Jose produced a sellout of 13,700 last December, and 13,100 in 2015.
One of the most prestigious arenas in America, ‘Venues Today,’ a leading industry publication, listed the Save Mart Center among its ‘Top Stops’ for venues in the 10,000 to 15,000 capacity category. The venue came in as the No. 1 ranked collegiate venue, No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 12 based on concert grosses. Save Mart Center was one of seven SMG-managed arenas to rank in the Top 10 in this size category.