Days after news broke that Luis Alberto Lopez would defend his IBF featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez on September 15th in Corpus Christi, Top Rank has both confirmed the event and announced the undercard.
“We’re going to bring a memorable all-Mexican war to Corpus Christi on Mexican Independence Day Weekend,” Lopez said. “Nothing but respect to Joet, but he’s not leaving Texas with my belt. I guarantee an exciting fight, but the IBF world title will still be wrapped around my waist.”
Gonzalez said, “I am thankful to Top Rank that I am receiving another shot at the world title. I plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity and fulfilling my dream. Lopez is an excellent champion, but I’m coming to Texas with every intention on hearing the words, ‘And NEW!’”
The co-feature pits 20-year-old super welterweight prospect Xander Zayas (16-0, 10 KO) against Roberto Valenzuela Jr (21-4, 20 KO) in the former’s second fight of 2023. The press release describes Valenzuela as a “six-year pro who has given stiff tests to Alexis Rocha, Souleymane Cissokho and Bakhram Murtazaliev,” which is more than a little generous; Rocha stopped him in five, Cissokho won every round except the one in which he got dropped, and Murtazaliev swept him.
Xayas said, “I am excited for the next big step in my career that will take place on September 15 in Corpus Christi, Texas, against a Mexican warrior that I know will come prepared to give his best and will bring out the best in me. I am training hard to continue showing Puerto Rico and all of Latin America what I am capable inside the ring.”
The ESPN+ undercard features a number of familiar faces, including Jamaine Ortiz, Omar Aguilar, Ruben Villa, Robson Conceicao, and “Tiger” Johnson. Three of those five are booked to face TBA.