Golden Boy have announced the full undercard for the Nov. 2 Canelo vs Kovalev show from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with Ryan Garcia vs Romero Duno still set for the co-feature, and a title eliminator and interim title bout added to the event.
Garcia (18-0, 15 KO) has had some problems with Golden Boy recently, but for now the two sides are on the same page, with Garcia signing a “lucrative” contract extension with the promoter following their public spat.
The 21-year-old lightweight prospect will face the rugged Duno (21-1, 16 KO), a limited but always-exciting fighter, in a 12-round bout. The WBC is putting a “silver” title on the line in the fight.
“This is a big moment for me,” said Garcia. ”These opportunities don’t come often. It’s my chance to show what I’m capable of on the biggest stage in boxing. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip. I’m fighting against Romero Duno, the opponent I wanted since the beginning, so I’m going show that I’ve reached another level on Nov. 2.”
”This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” said Duno. ”I’m so excited to be part of a such a big night as the co-main event of Canelo vs. Kovalev. This fight has been building up for some time. I’ve had my eye on Ryan Garcia for a while now. I promise to do everything it takes to beat him on Nov. 2 and take home a big victory for the Philippines!”
Bakhram Murtazaliev (16-0, 13 KO) will face Jorge Fortea (20-1-1, 6 KO) in an IBF eliminator at 154 pounds. Murtazaliev was supposed to fight Jeison Rosario in an eliminator on Sept. 21, but Rosario pulled out with an injury, so this is the fight instead.
Murtazaliev, 26, is a Russian fighter now based in Oxnard, California, and he’s unbeaten against less than stellar opposition. Fortea, 28, is a 10-year veteran from Spain who has also never really fought anyone of note.
“I have been waiting a long time for this opportunity,” said Murtazaliev. “I am excited for my first fight with my new trainer, Virgil Hunter. We will be ready on Nov. 2 to face Fortea and become mandatory challenger.”
“It’s a moment I have been waiting for whole my life, to be part of the undercard of Canelo vs Kovalev for my US debut is like a dream,” Fortea said. “I trained 15 years for this. Murtazaliev is indeed a strong and dangerous boxer but I will be ready for that and my skills will prevail. I won’t waste the opportunity to fight for a world title.”
In a fight for an interim WBA flyweight title, currently vacant, Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (17-0, 7 KO) will face Marlen Esparza (7-0, 1 KO). These two have built to this fight for a good while now via social media and interviews, and Golden Boy has been behind both fighters in their pro careers. This is something of a make-or-break fight for each woman.
“Thank you to my promoter Golden Boy, especially Roberto Diaz for making this fight possible,” said Estrada. “I’m happy to give the fans the fight they’ve been wanting to see. I’m looking forward to representing women’s boxing in a positive way. I’m going to put on a great show and demonstrate my skills, showing things that people have not yet seen from me.”
”My team and I have been pushing for this fight,” said Esparza. “I know this is what the fans want. Now I’m forcing her to back up everything she has ever said. She knows it’s going to be a long night for her.”
The rest of the card, which streams live on DAZN:
- Blair Cobbs (12-0-1, 8 KO) vs Carlos Ortiz (11-4, 11 KO), welterweights, 10 rounds
- Tristan Kalkreuth (2-0, 2 KO) vs TBA, cruiserweights, 4 rounds
- Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8 KO) vs Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13 KO), middleweights, 10 rounds
- Evan Holyfield (debut) vs Nick Winstead (0-1), junior middleweights, 4 rounds