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Jose Zepeda vs Josue Vargas, Carlos Caraballo vs Jonas Sultan set for October 30th on ESPN+

Joe Smith Jr. vs. Umar Salamov originally headlined

As revealed last week, top super lightweight contender Jose Zepeda will headline an October 30th ESPN+ card against streaking prospect Josue Vargas. The bout will serve as half of a doubleheader from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.

Zepeda (34-2, 26 KO) vs. Vargas (19-1, 9 KO) pits an enormously talented but occasionally underachieving veteran against a strong, young up-and-comer who’s only ever lost by disqualification. “Chon” is almost certainly a top-five super lightweight alongside the likes of Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, and Regis Prograis, but his fights can wind up much closer than they need to be, making this a potential road bump for the WBC #2 contender.

“I am pushing hard to earn another world title opportunity, but I understand the task at hand against a young, talented fighter like Josue Vargas,” Zepeda said. “There is mutual respect, but when we enter the Madison Square Garden ring, that all goes out the window.”

Vargas said, “I’m ready for this opportunity. Being the main event in my hometown, Madison Square Garden, is a dream true. The Bronx and Puerto Rico will be in the building to show their support. This is Puerto Rico versus Mexico, so you know it’s going to be a heck of a fight. Once I got the call, I started pushing even harder. I‘ve been through a lot in my professional career, so why not step up to the plate? I have the skills to beat Zepeda, and I’m going to do just that. Zepeda has a lot of experience against the top names in the junior welterweight division. We both have the talent and the skills to put on a show.”

The co-feature is another crossroads bout, this one pitting 25-year-old Puerto Rican bantamweight bruiser Carlos Caraballo (14-0, 14 KO) against former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (17-5, 11 KO). Caraballo was last seen mauling the very game Leonardo Baez in March, while Sultan’s won three of his last four and boasts a 2017 unanimous decision win over John Riel Casimero.

Caraballo said, “I am thankful for the opportunity that my promoter, Miguel Cotto Promotions, is giving me together with Top Rank to fight at Madison Square Garden. I will take this opportunity to look great and continue to make noise at 118 pounds as I aspire to win a world title. Sultan is a strong, experienced opponent. I know he has fought the big names, but I am working hard with my team to show I am a force to be reckoned with. This victory is for my people from Guayanilla, and all Puerto Ricans in New York.”

The undercard is standard Top Rank prospect fare with a couple of noteworthy names, including former super bantamweight champion Jonathan Guzman (24-1, 23 KO) and rising Irishman Paddy Donovan (7-0, 5 KO). Guzman fights for just the third time since his 2016 upset loss to Yukinori Oguni.

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