The undercard for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez's ambitious move up from middleweight world champion to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has been announced by Main Events. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN. As announced previously, soical media darling Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) of Victorville, Calif. will battle Champion "Ruthless" Romero Duno (21-1, 16 KOs) of the Philippines in a twelve-round lightweight battle, a fight between two of the hardest-hitting lightweights in the Golden Boy stable. Russia's prospect Bakhram Murtazaliev (16-0, 13 KOs) will face the biggest test of his career in an IBF junior middleweight elimination bout vs. Jorge Fortea (20-1-1, 6 KOs) of Spain. Murtazaliev was originally supposed to fight Jeison Rosario on September 21st for the #1 position but Rosario pulled out due to an injury.
"We have put a lot of thought into this long-awaited night, and we're eager to deliver one of the best undercards of the year," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. "This event will feature some of our brightest talents taking on the toughest fights of their careers. With Ryan Garcia, we have a huge star in the making, but he'll need to get past a tough, hard-hitting contender in Romero Duno to secure his path for a world title. We also have Seniesa Estrada and Marlen Esparza, who will look to final end their rivalry in a fight for the Interim WBA Flyweight Title. So, whether in person or live on DAZN, a new chapter in boxing's history will unfold on November 2."
"This is a big moment for me," said Ryan Garcia. "These opportunities don't come often. It's my chance to show what I'm capable of on the biggest stage in boxing. I'm not going to let this opportunity slip. I'm fighting against Romero Duno, the opponent I wanted since the beginning, so I'm going show that I've reached another level on Nov. 2."
"This is the opportunity I've been waiting for," said Romero Duno. "I'm so excited to be part of a such a big night as the co-main event of Canelo vs. Kovalev. This fight has been building up for some time. I've had my eye on Ryan Garcia for a while now. I promise to do everything it takes to beat him on Nov. 2 and take home a big victory for the Philippines!"
Murtzaliev said, "I have been waiting a long time for this opportunity. I am excited for my first fight with my new trainer, Virgil Hunter. We will be ready on November 2nd to face Fortea and become mandatory challenger. Thank you to my team Main Events, Krusher Promotions, Kathy Duva, Sergey Kovalev, my manager, Egis Klimas and Virgil Hunter for making my dream a reality."
According to Fortea, "It's a moment I have been waiting for whole my life, to be part of the undercard of Canelo vs Kovalev for my US debut is like a dream. I trained 15 years for this. I want to thank Sampson Lewkowicz for making it true, Main Events and Golden Boy for hosting the eliminator. Murtazaliev is indeed a strong and dangerous boxer but I will be ready for that and my skills will prevail. I won't waste the opportunity to fight for a world title"
"Bakhram is a terrific fighter and we are so pleased to be able to give him this great opportunity on such an auspicious night," said Main Events' CEO Kathy Duva. "With any luck, Main Events and Krusher promotions will have another world champion soon."
Also on the card, Seniesa "Superbad" Estrada (17-0, 7 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. and Marlen Esparza (7-0, 1 KOs) of Houston, Texas battle for the vacant Interim WBA flyweight title. This clash has been building up for over two years as both fighters have been exchanging words over social media and various interviews. "Thank you to my promoter Golden Boy, especially Roberto Diaz for making this fight possible," said Seniesa Estrada. "I'm happy to give the fans the fight they've been wanting to see. I'm looking forward to representing women's boxing in a positive way. I'm going to put on a great show and demonstrate my skills, showing things that people have not yet seen from me. Thank you to all the people who continue to support me."
"My team and I have been pushing for this fight," said Marlen Esparza. "I know this is what the fans want. Now I'm forcing her to back up everything she has ever said. She knows it's going to be a long night for her."
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