January 18: Felix Verdejo-Manuel Rey Rojas Lightweight Battle Set for Alvarez-Seals Co-Feature LIVE on ESPN
Telecast to begin at 10 p.m. ET
CLICK HERE for Verdejo Training Photos and Video (C/O Top Rank)
VERONA, N.Y. (Jan. 10, 2020) — Puerto Rican superstar Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo, inching closer to a lightweight world title shot, will see action on a special Top Rank on ESPN show Saturday, Jan. 18 from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
In the 10-round co-feature to the light heavyweight main event featuring former world champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez and Michael “Cannon Handz” Seals (ESPN and ESPN App (in Spanish), 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), Verdejo will fight Manuel Rey Rojas, his first bout since linking up with new trainer Ismael Salas.
“This is a great opportunity for Felix Verdejo to show everyone that he is ready for a world title opportunity in 2020,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He has a great new trainer and a chance to reclaim his position as one of the sport’s best young fighters.”
“I know a lot of fighters say this, but without a doubt, this has been the best training camp of my life,” Verdejo said. “I have really connected with Salas. I’m definitely more motivated than ever, and I’m coming to prove that I belong at the top of the lightweight division. I’m sure that all the sacrifices I’m making will pay dividends. I will be victorious on Jan. 18, and I promise that Puerto Rico will have another world champion very soon.”
Verdejo (25-1, 16 KOs), at only 26 years old, is looking for a fresh start in 2020 with a new team. Once touted as the next Hall of Fame talent from Puerto Rico, a 2016 motorcycle accident and a 2018 TKO defeat to Antonio Lozada Jr. derailed the hype train. Verdejo has won two in a row since the Lozada loss, most recently outclassing Bryan Vasquez last April over 10 rounds. He officially joined forces with Salas in November and moved his training base to Las Vegas to find better sparring. Salas has trained a host of world champions in recent years, including Yuriorkis Gamboa, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Erislandy Lara and Jorge Linares. Rojas (18-3, 5 KOs) has won six in a row since a 2015 KO defeat.
In action on the ESPN+ undercard stream (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT):
- Former junior lightweight world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (24-2, 16 KOs) will fight former junior featherweight world title challenger Adeilson “Dell” Dos Santos (19-7, 15 KOs) in an eight-rounder at featherweight. This is Diaz’s first fight since he lost a unanimous decision to Shakur Stevenson last April on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan televised pay-per-view undercard.
“In 2020, I’ll keep leaving it all in the ring,” Diaz said. “I know that I have what it takes to become a world champion. I promised my late father and my family that I will become a world champion, and deep down I can feel that I will accomplish my dream in 2020. My family and my fans give me all the motivation that I need to keep going. I will not rest until I accomplish my dream.”
- 2004 Puerto Rican Olympian Victor Bisbal (23-4, 17 KOs) will clash with 2004 U.S. Olympian Devin Vargas (21-6, 9 KOs) in an eight-round heavyweight battle.
- In his second bout since losing his world title, former IBF junior featherweight world champion Jonathan “Salomon King” Guzman (23-1, 22 KOs) will face Rodolfo Hernandez (30-8-1, 28 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
- Top Rank’s newly signed super featherweight contender Abraham “El Super” Nova (17-0, 13 KOs) will fight Pedro Navarrete (30-24-3, 19 KOs) in a bout scheduled for eight rounds at a 133-pound catchweight.
- Heavyweight phenom Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (2-0, 2 KOs) will face Andrew Satterfield (5-3, 3 KOs) in a four-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Groupe Yvon Michel, tickets priced at $89, $75, $69, $62, $59 and $40 are on sale now and can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office, charge by phone by calling 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.
Use the hashtags #AlvarezSeals and #VerdejoRojas to join the conversation on social media.
ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise features more than 50 assets – nine U.S. television networks, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN International, ESPN The Magazine and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.
ESPN+ is the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service from Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. Launched in April, 2018, ESPN+ has grown quickly to 3.5 million subscribers in 18 months, offering fans thousands of live events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, as well as premium editorial content.
Programming on ESPN+ includes exclusive UFC and Top Rank boxing events, thousands of college sports events (including football and basketball) from more than a dozen sports at 20 conferences, hundreds of MLB and NHL games, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, Bundesliga – beginning in 2020, EFL Championship and Carabao Cup, Eredivisie), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, exclusive ESPN+ Original series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films.
Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) through the ESPN App, (on mobile and connected devices), ESPN.com or ESPNplus.com. It is also available as part of a bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu (ad-supported), and ESPN+ — all for just $12.99/month.
About Turning Stone Resort Casino
Host of the January 18th event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year caliber boxing. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including The Lounge with Caesars Sports, its new sports book in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, four hotels, more than 20 signature dining options, two spas, a 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, multiple entertainment venues, five golf courses, and several bars and lounges offering live entertainment every weekend. Additionally, Turning Stone and the International Boxing Hall of Fame announced a multifaceted partnership to spotlight boxing throughout the entire region. The program includes a series of boxing events at Turning Stone, culminating every year in June with an elaborate and bigger-than-ever International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend celebration. International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend will be held June 11-14, 2020.
Media credential requests for the January 18 fight should be emailed to Kelly Abdo, Director of PR for Turning Stone, at email@example.com.
Evan Korn: 516-510-6014 / EKorn@toprank.com
Gardy Lopez: 787-246-3668 / Glopez@toprank.com
Paul Melvin: 860-766-5069 / Paul.Melvin@disney.com
Ardi Dwornik: 646-547-5612 / firstname.lastname@example.org