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Ra’eese Aleem vs Eduardo Baez, Gary Antonio Russell vs Alejandro Barrios complete September 18th Fulton-Figueroa tripleheader

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Aleem was initially in talks to face Danny Roman

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Showtime’s September 18th Stephen Fulton vs. Brandon Figueroa show is now officially a tripleheader. Unbeaten super bantamweight contender Ra’eese Aleem takes on Mexico’s Eduardo Baez in the co-feature, while Gary Antonio Russell opens the show against Alejandro Barrios.

“We train hard for every fight and make sure we go 110% come fight night,” said Figueroa. “I expect Fulton to be flashy and slick with his movements, and perhaps he’ll want to mix it up a little as well, so we’re ready for anything. People know I always come to fight and with this being my second back-to-back fight against another undefeated world champion it makes this an exciting fight on paper and it should be even more exciting to see it live on September 18.”

“We will have a new king of the division on a historic day,” said Fulton. “Training camp has been great, rough and dirty. I know where I need to be for this fight and I’m right there not running away from it. History will be made September 18 on Mexican Independence Day weekend in Las Vegas. Let’s celebrate with a bang!”

The red-hot Aleem (18-0, 12 KO) was initially slated to meet former unified champion Danny Roman, though the bout fell apart last month over what Roman’s manager considered an insufficient offer. In steps the 26-year-old Baez (19-1-2, 6 KO), BoxRec’s #16 at 122 pounds. “Lalo El Gemelo” has handed two consecutive unbeaten fighters their first defeats, taking wide decisions over Narek Abgaryan and Abimael Ortiz, and his only loss came against Mauricio Lara in 2017.

“It’s great to be back fighting on SHOWTIME,” said Aleem. “I’ve been waiting patiently, working hard in the gym, and now it’s go time. Eduardo Baez is a good fighter who is trying to make a name for himself, but he’s standing in my way of becoming world champion, and I’m going to take him out. I’m on a mission to prove I’m the king of the super bantamweight division, and the journey continues on September 18.”

“I can’t wait for this opportunity against Ra’eese Aleem,” said Baez. “Success is the most precious treasure, the more you are willing to pay, the more valuable the prize will be. I will win this fight and we will all scream ‘viva Mexico!’”

Russell (18-0, 12 KO) makes a quick turnaround after an August 14th bout with Emmanuel Rodriguez got stopped in 16 seconds due to a nasty clash of heads. Rodriguez took a nasty cut in the process, so while it’s likely they’ll run it back, I don’t blame Russell for staying busy while he waits. Barrios (24-2-5, 13 KO) is unbeaten since 2014 and arguably deserved the win against Jerwin Ancajas in 2018, so he’s not just a tune-up.

“I’m excited to be back after I trained so hard for my last fight before it ended early,” said Russell. “Now, I’m just taking that same fight energy that I had for Emmanuel Rodriguez and bringing it on September 18 for my new opponent.”

“I want to thank my whole team and everyone else who made this fight possible,” said Barrios. “It has been a long road for me. I’ve been looking for another title fight or a rematch with Ancajas, ever since our draw. We decided to move up to 118-pounds and I’ve just remained focused and worked hard for the next opportunity. Now I get to share the ring with a great and talented fighter in Gary Antonio Russell. On September 18, I will leave everything in that ring, put on a great fight for all boxing fans and leave victorious.”