LAS VEGAS, NV. (March 31, 2015) – The Chelsea inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas welcomes an exciting evening of boxing featuring former two-division world champion TAKAHIRO AO who returns to the ring in his 2015 debut where he will battle two-time world title challenger RAY BELTRAN in a 12-round rumble for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight world championship on Friday, May 1.
The fight will be televised live on tru-TV beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast will open with a battle between the undefeated with North America Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight champion MIKAEL ZEWSKI defending his title against world-rated contender KONSTANTIN PONOMAREV. The first bout will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the tru-TV bouts beginning at 7:00 p.m. local time.
These four gladiators boast a combined record of 109-10-2 (62 KOs) — a winning ratio of 90% with over half of those victories coming by way knockout.
Promoted by Top Rank®, tickets, priced at $50, $75, 85 and $100 (plus applicable taxes and fees), are on sale and available for purchase at The Cosmopolitan Concierge Desk, all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Ao (27-3-1, 12 KOs), from Chiba, Japan, captured his first world title in 2009, dethroning Oscar Larios to become the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight champion. He lost the title that same year in his first defense, which took place four months later, via a unanimous decision to Elio Rojas. He immediately moved up to the next weight class and 16 months later claimed the WBC super featherweight title winning a unanimous decision over Vitali Tajbert. Ao’s two-year world championship reign included three successful title defenses before losing a 12-round decision to Gamaliel Diaz in 2012. Ao has been campaigning as a lightweight ever since, going 4-0 (2 KOs), including a 10-round unanimous decision victory over former two-time world champion Juan Carlos Salgado last October en route to being world-rated No. 2 by the WBO, No. 3 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 4 by the WBC.
Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs), a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, who now lives in North Hollywood, Calif., is one of the lightweight division’s toughest and most experienced fighters. A former NABF and United States Boxing Association (USBA) lightweight champion, Beltran had his two-year five-bout unbeaten streak broken in his last fight, losing a unanimous decision to WBO lightweight champion and 2014 Fighter of the Year Terence Crawford last November. Crawford has since vacated that title to challenge for the WBO junior welterweight crown. Beyond his professional fights, Beltran has had the benefit of being a main sparring partner for Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao for several years before becoming a top-rated contender in his own right. He is currently world-rated No. 6 by the WBO.
Zewski (26-0, 20 KOs), a native of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, now living in Las Vegas, has won five of his last six bouts by knockout. The former amateur standout captured the vacant NABF welterweight title with a fourth-round knockout of Prince Doku, Jr. last June. In his last fight, in December, he successfully defended the title, at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, via a 10-round majority decision over savvy veteran Jeremy Bryan. Zewski is currently world-rated No. 7 by the WBO and No. 10 by the WBC.
Ponomarev (27-0, 13 KOs), from Miass, Russia, is trained by renowned trainer Abel Sanchez. At the age of 22, Ponomarev is already a five-year pro with an impressive resume which includes WBC Baltic and WBC Youth welterweight title victories. A crowd-pleasing fighter with power in both fists and an aggressive fighting style, Ponomarev is poised to break though this year. He is currently world-rated No. 15 by the WBC.
For fight updates go to www.toprank.com or www.hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxing, facebook.com/trboxeo, or facebook.com/hboboxing and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing. Use the Hashtag #AoBeltran to join the conversation on Twitter.