Shortly after Queensberry Promotions confirmed their plans for September 12th, Top Rank has done the same, officially announcing an ESPN+ doubleheader at welterweight and featherweight. Egidijus Kavaliauskas takes on Canadian veteran Mikael Zewski, while Miguel Marriaga squares off with prospect Joet Gonzalez.
Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KO), whose name is nowhere near as difficult to parse or say as Top Rank seems to think, gave Terence Crawford a solid but unsuccessful fight last December, which went a long way towards erasing the memory of his uninspiring draw with Ray Robinson the prior March. He was originally slated to face Amir Imam, but instead takes on Zewski (34-1, 23 KO), who’s been munching on mid-tier opposition in his home country since falling to Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015.
Kavaliauskas said, “I am excited to return to the ring, as I still have unfinished business. I still believe I have what it takes to become a world champion, and that journey resumes against a tough opponent in Mikael Zewski.”
Zewski said, “This is the fight I’ve been waiting for. Kavaliauskas is a fast and extremely powerful boxer, but I have all the tools to win. The stakes are high, and a win will propel me into a world championship fight. This is my ninth fight in Las Vegas. I’ll feel right at home.”
In the co-feature, Marriaga (29-3, 25 KO) will make yet another bid at entering the ring in 2020. His planned March 14th bout with Shakur Stevenson was among the first coronavirus casualties and his July 16th main event opposite Mark John Yap fell through when Yap came in two weight classes heavy. He’ll have a tough task ahead of him in Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KO), who remains a very capable 26-year-old despite his loss to Stevenson.
Marriaga said, “I was disappointed after what happened with Yap, but Joet Gonzalez always comes to fight. It’s going to be a toe-to-toe battle. I believe my experience and power will be the difference. I will not underestimate him, as I must win to move forward in my career.”
Gonzalez said, “It’s a real privilege to be coming back at this time. I want to thank my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my promoter, Golden Boy, for making this possible. Marriaga is a very tough fighter. He’s been in the ring with Nicholas Walters, Oscar Valdez and Vasiliy Lomachenko, so this will give everyone a good indication of where I stand in the division. I plan to make the most of this opportunity and score a big win so I can show everyone that I deserve to be at the top of the division.”
The undercard features Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KO) against Anthony Mercado (13-4, 11 KO) at super lightweight, Angel Alejandro (9-0, 4 KO) against fellow featherweight Jorge Ramos (7-2-1, 4 KO) , and a bantamweight battle between Manuel Flores (8-0, 5 KO) and Jonathan Rodriguez (8-0, 3 KO). Eric Puente (3-0, 0 KO) and Thomas Wu face TBA.
Notably absent from that lineup is Andrew Cancio vs. Saul Rodriguez, which was announced for that date earlier this month.