Thursday @ 5pm on ESPN is a 10-round lightweight battle between Felix Verdejo from Puerto Rico vs. Will Madera.
Editor’s note: This story was updated after the Miguel Marriaga vs. Mark John Yap fight was canceled due to Yap missing weight.
Video 1: Weigh in at 136 pounds.
Felix Verdejo (26-1, 16 KOs), once considered a blue-chip prospect, has an opportunity to step up in the main event against Madera (15-0-3, 8 KOs) and show he can contend in the lightweight division.
“Having passed the initial test of the scale, it is time to demonstrate [Thursday] in the ring the result of all my dedication, effort and perseverance,” Verdejo said after the weigh-in.
“It will be different to fight in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas without my fans, but I have no doubt that I will carry in my heart, my family, my people of Puerto Rico and all who have supported me throughout my career.”
Thursday’s fight card:
Felix Verdejo (26-1, 16 KOs) vs. Will Madera (15-0-3, 8 KOs), 10 rounds, lightweights
Aleem Jumakhonov (8-2-2, 4 KOs) vs. Martino Jules (9-0, 2 KOs), 10 rounds, featherweights
Raphael Igbokwe (14-2, 6 KOs) vs. Genc Pllana (8-1-1, 4 KOs), eight rounds, super middleweights
Hector Madera (6-0, 3 KOs) vs. Adrian Valdovinos (5-0-1, 4 KOs), six rounds, welterweights
Kenny Davis (2-2-1) vs. Eduardo Sanchez (2-2), four rounds, lightweights.
Madera rose from obscurity to notoriety following an eight-round win over Thomas Mattice in their battle of unbeaten lightweight prospects last February. Their Showtime-televised bout remains his biggest career win to date, though his upcoming clash with Verdejo (26-1, 16KOs), a member of the 2012 Puerto Rico Olympic team and 2013 BoxingScene.com Prospect of the Year who is currently riding a three-fight win streak.
Verdejo’s most recent win came this past January, outpointing Manuel Rojas in an ESPN televised bout at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. The event featured at least one interested observer.
“I was there for his last fight at Turning Stone,” notes Madera, who is coming off of a 2nd round knockout win this past January in Toronto, Canada. “The fight didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know – he’s a good fighter, but he’s fallen off a bit. He didn’t really impress me that night, to be honest.
“I know I’m going into this fight unknown to a lot of people and everyone knows who [Verdejo] is. They don’t know my name now but they will know me after July 16.”
About Will Madera:
He wasn’t surprised by the last-minute request for his services, so much as wondering what took so long to finally land a fight like his next one.
The unbeaten lightweight prospect from Albany, New York remains hell-bent on shocking the world ahead of his challenge of Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo. The two will collide July 16 live on ESPN from a crowdless MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the winner to be positioned for a big opportunity in the suddenly talent-rich lightweight division.
“Honestly, I thought this call would come last year,” Madera (15-0-3, 8KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “After my draw with [Christian Uruzquieta], I figured guys like Verdejo and other lightweights would be chasing after my unbeaten record.
“It’s all good, though. I’ve been ready for everyone at lightweight and I will be ready on July 16.”
Top Rank on ESPN Summer series is a 10-round lightweight main event with Puerto Rican sensation Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo, closing in on a world title shot of his own, fighting the unbeaten Will Madera. #VerdejoMadera, and undercard bouts will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Try ESPN+ For Free: https://watch.espnplus.com/toprank/
Look back at this freefight featuring #felixverdejo and Juan José Martínez.