The historic Apollo Theater in Harlem will play host to Showtime Championship Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions on March 2, with Daniel Ponce De Leon defending the WBC featherweight title in the main event.
On the undercard, Sharif Bogere will face Richard Abril for the vacant WBA lightweight title, and Gary Russell Jr will fight Vyacheslav Gusev in a 10-round featherweight bout.
"There's nothing like boxing's Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry and this fight between Ponce De Leon and Velez is going to be explosive from start to finish," said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "New York City is the perfect location for this event and we can't wait to have our first show at the historic Apollo Theater."
“This will be a great fight once again the classic battle between Puerto Rico and Mexico,” said Miguel Cotto, who promotes Velez. “Jayson is ready to take the challenge and fight for the world title. Puerto Rico will have a new world champion on March 2.”
Velez (20-0, 15 KO) made his Showtime debut on December 1, wiping out an overmatched Salvador Sanchez II in three rounds. Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) last fought on September 15, when he won the WBC belt from Jhonny Gonzalez, also on Showtime.
"This is a fight we've been waiting a long time for and my first defense is just around the corner," said Ponce De Leon. "I feel better prepared than when I won the title against Jhonny Gonzalez. I'm sure I'll win and will be world champion for a long time. I'm focused on the fight. I'm not bothered or uncomfortable fighting outside of my own backyard. To the contrary, it motivates me to fight better."
"I've been training really hard and am focused for this fight," said Velez. "Winning a belt has been the goal my whole life. Everything in camp is going as we planned and I can't wait to be in the ring on March 2."
There is no word on whether or not Howard "Sandman" Sims will rise from the grave to escort crappy fights out of the ring.