Undefeated junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr., South African welterweight Chris van Heerden and undefeated middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly will all see action in scheduled ten-rounders on Saturday, August 17th at Los Angeles' Banc of California Stadium on the undercard of WBO junior featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete’s title defense versus Francisco “Panchito” De Vaca. The show will air live on the ESPN+ streaming service. The Californian Barboza (21-0, 8 KOs), coming off a knockout win over Mike Alvarado in April, will take on Jose Luis Rodriguez (25-13-1, 13 KOs). Rodriguez is 0-1-1 in 2019, including a competitive decision loss to Antonio Orozco and a draw with then-unbeaten prospect Bakhtiyar Eyubov.
“That Alvarado fight boosted my confidence to a whole new level,” Barboza said. “I’ve always been confident, but I needed to know I could do it at that level. The hard work paid off. We’ve trained hard for this fight. I’m at another level now, and we’re ready to showcase that on the 17th. “Everyone looks at the rankings, but it’s the next man up on the contract for me. Of course I want a title shot, but the longer these champions wait, the harder it will be for them because I am building my confidence in the ring.”
van Heerden (27-2-1, 12 KOs) will face Aslanbek Kozaev (33-2-1, 8 KOs), who has won seven in a row dating back to November 2015. On March 23rd, van Heerden notched a six-round technical decision over Mahonri Montes in a bout that ended due to a cut suffered by van Heerden.
“It's a homecoming for me on Aug. 17," van Heerden said. "The LA fans will adopt this South African boy. I am grateful to Top Rank for the opportunity to compete and stay busy on my road toward a world title."
Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2 KOs), who captured a gold medal at the 2013 amateur world championships and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics, will face Stuart McLellan (27-3-3, 11 KOs). Trained by Buddy McGirt, Alimkhanuly most recent fought on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Anthony Crolla card April 12 in Los Angeles, dominating Cristian Olivas over ten rounds.
“Every time I fight, I try to show what ‘Qazaq Style’ is all about,” Alimkhanuly said. “With every fight, I gain more valuable experience, and I will be ready to challenge for a world title before long. I have an incredible trainer in my corner and the confidence needed to advance to the next level. This is a very big stage, and I will show everyone that I’m a middleweight to watch.”
In other action on the undercard:
Junior welterweight Javier Molina (19-2, 8 KOs), a 2008 Olympian, will look to make it three wins in a row against Manuel Mendez (16-5-3, 11 KOs) in an eight-rounder...
Welterweight Brian Mendoza (17-0, 12 KOs), who scored a sensational one-punch KO on May 4th, will return to action in an eight-rounder versus Larry Gomez (9-1, 8 KOs)...
Former Russian amateur standout Dmitry Yun (1-0, 0 KOs) will face Javier Martinez (4-6, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder at lightweight...
Junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez (2-0-1, 2 KOs), whose last fight ended in a technical draw due to an accidental headbutt, will fight Jesus Gonzalez (6-2, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.