Tonight's edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights goes live at 10 p.m. EDT from the Hard Rock in Vegas, with top 130-pound prospect Javier Fortuna in a very interesting main event matchup with veteran brawler Cristobal Cruz, plus an intriguing heavyweight co-feature. The show can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
Fortuna (19-0, 14 KO) is an explosive southpaw from the Dominican Republic, who turned a lot of heads on April 27 with a first round TKO win over fellow prospect Yuandale Evans. Evans, who was 16-0 entering that bout, was simply blown up by the power, speed, and accuracy of Fortuna, who won in just two minutes, totally overwhelming the talented Evans.
Cruz (39-13-3, 23 KO) is one of the wildest fighters in the sport. Never afraid to mix it up proper or foul away at will, the 35-year-old Mexican veteran can be a handful for anyone, even though he's not fast and doesn't have great skills. It's pure desire and recklessness that keep him relevant, and though the former featherweight titlist hasn't won a fight since 2009 (he's 0-2-2 in his last four, with two early technical draws on head clash cuts), he's a good next step for Forutna tonight. Cruz gave Juan Carlos Burgos a solid fight in February of this year on FNF.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Russian Magomed Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KO) looks to keep his stoppage streak alive against Maurice Byarm (13-1-1, 9 KO). Abdusalamov, 31, now fights out of Oxnard, Calif., and has one of those annoying records where it just isn't what it looks like it is, as his level of opposition has been pretty terrible so far. The 29-year-old Byarm is a 6'2" southpaw you probably saw in January on NBC Sports, losing to Bryant Jennings. Byarm isn't likely headed for stardom, either, but he's definitely better than Rich Power, the hilariously out of shape Pedro Rodriguez, and Jason Pettaway.
We'll be here with live round-by-round coverage, so join us at 10!