Diego Pacheco’s November 18th DAZN main event against Marcelo Coceres isn’t much to write home about, but the co-feature looks fun, as Matchroom Boxing announced today that former featherweight champion Erika Cruz will drop to 122 to challenge WBA champ Mayerlin Rivas.
Cruz (16-2, 3 KO) put on what remains one of 2023’s best fights in February when she went through 10 rounds of hell with Amanda Serrano. The defeat ended a title reign that saw her beat Jelena Mrdjenovich twice while edging out Melissa Esquivel in between.
Venezuela’s Rivas (17-4-3, 11 KO) enjoyed a lengthy run as WBA bantamweight champ, and though she fell to 55-fight vet Marcela Eliana Acuna in her first shot at 122-pound gold, the second time proved the charm against unbeaten Laura Ledezma. She last saw action in June, getting off the canvas to salvage a five-round technical draw versus another undefeated fighter in Nazarena Romero.
Fun fact: our old pal Gloria Martinez Rizzo was scoring that one.
“First of all, I thank God for this opportunity to defend my world title again and debut in the United States with a world-class rival like Erika Cruz,” said Rivas. “I am preparing very well to put on a great show, I am very happy for this opportunity, I’m going for victory and then going for unification.”
“With the support of the National Guard, I’m stepping into the ring once more, and you can bet it’s going to be a war,” said Cruz. “I’ll proudly bring my second World title to Mexico, fueled by determination.”
Matchroom regular Marc Castro (10-0, 7 KO) opens the main card opposite Gonzalo Fuenzalida (12-2, 3 KO). Fuenzalida got smashed into the dirt by Claudio Marrero nine months back, so the only real intrigue here is the fact that it’s Castro’s first 10-rounder.
“November 18, we are back at it,” said Castro. “I’m grateful to be returning to the ring, especially in my home state. This is my first time fighting as a pro in LA and I’m expecting a ton of support and plan on putting on a sensational performance in my first scheduled 10 rounder.
“I’m looking to close out my 2023 in spectacular fashion as we look to take it to the next level in 2024.
19-year-old amateur standout Criztec Bazaldua (2-0, 0 KO) also sees action against Pedro Angel Cruz (3-3, 2 KO).
“I feel immensely privileged to be able to showcase my abilities in front of a home crowd so early on in my career,” said Bazaldua. “It is a testament to the opportunities I knew Matchroom could provide me with both domestically and in Latin America. To also be on the undercard of a big brother in Diego Pacheco, having grown up together in South Central, Los Angeles and enjoyed the same amateur tournaments and boxing circuit is a blessing. I can’t wait to see so many familiar faces in the crowd, the support for this show will be electric.