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Santa Cruz vs Martinez: Gerald Washington to face Oscar Rivas in SHO opener

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Heavyweights Gerald Washington and Oscar Rivas will clash later this month on Showtime.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Undefeated heavyweights Gerald Washington and Oscar Rivas will open the Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast on February 27 from Anaheim, Calif., joining a pair of world title fights to complete a tripleheader from the Honda Center.

The night's main event will see Leo Santa Cruz defend the WBA featherweight title against Kiko Martinez, and the co-feature is a WBC super bantamweight title rematch between Julio Ceja and Hugo Ruiz.

Washington (16-0-1, 11 KO) is a 33-year-old prospect who struggled to what many felt was an undeserved draw decision last time out against Amir Mansour in October. Many of his limitations seemed to be exposed by a solid veteran fighter, but he kept his "0" (even if he had to add a "1" in another column).

Rivas (18-0, 13 KO) was a 2008 Olympian for Colombia, and is now fighting out of Montreal. He went 3-0 last year, smashing through Oezcan Cetinkaya (TKO-1), Jason Pettaway (KO-1), and Joey Abell (KO-2). Though Rivas won't be giving up much, if anything, in terms of weight -- both fighters generally weigh 240-250 pounds -- he'll be the much smaller man in terms of height and reach. Washington is 6'6" with a reach of 82 inches, whereas Rivas is listed at 6'0½" with a 76½-inch reach. So there are some interesting matchup dynamics here. Rivas is almost surely the better schooled boxer, but Washington has some notable size advantages.

"I'm thrilled to be fighting so close to home in front of all my friends and family," said Washington. "Oscar Rivas is a hard puncher but he's never faced anyone as big and strong as I am. I'm anxious to get in the ring and continue to prove myself on my way to a world title opportunity."

"I'm very excited to be fighting Gerald Washington in my first fight in Southern California," said Rivas. "I know that he is a very tough, strong fighter. I will be prepared to come out victorious and stay undefeated as I head towards my goal of becoming a world champion."