Former two-division world champion José “Sniper” Pedraza has set its sights on another world title. Pedraza, from Cidra, Puerto Rico, will face the undefeated Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodríguez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout on Saturday, June 12 at the Virgin Hotels Theater in Las Vegas.
The Pedraza vs. Rodriguez will be the co-main feature of the feature starring in the WBO interim junior lightweight title battle between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila. Both bouts will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN +) at 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT.
In preliminary fights, the undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight prodigy Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) will return to ensogado in a six-round fight. Zayas is coming off a first-round knockout on April 24 in Kissimmee, Florida.
In a Top Rank promotion, tickets priced at $ 200, $ 100, $ 75 and $ 50 go on sale tomorrow Friday, May 14 at 12 pm PT, and can be purchased by visiting Etix.com.
“This is a classic matchup that features a former world champion in Pedraza against a young man in Rodriguez, who is eager to show that he belongs on a global level,” said legendary Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. “I’m also excited to see Xander Zayas, who has grown both as a young man and a fighter since Top Rank signed him when he was 16.”
Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) is 2-1 since moving up from lightweight, where he won the WBO world title over Ray Beltran before coming up short in a unification showdown against Vasiliy Lomachenko. He made an unfavorable junior welterweight debut when he lost a one-sided decision to José “Chon” Zepeda, but has since made unanimous decisions over Mikkel LesPierre and Javier Molina. Ranked No. 6 by the WBO, Pedraza hopes a victory over Rodriguez will lead to another shot at world title glory.
“I have spent almost a year without fighting. I can’t wait to get back in the ring, to bring home another victory that will bring happiness to my people, ”Pedraza said. “I like that this fight is against a hungry contender like Julián Rodríguez. I’ve always liked the idea of facing the best opponents because they bring out the best in me. I know that with a big win on June 12, I will get closer to a world title shot. That is why we are fighting ”.
Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), of Bergen County, NJ, turned pro in 2013 after a historic amateur career that included a 2013 National Golden Gloves title and wins over the former champion. Robert Easter Jr. is 5-0, with four knockouts, since returning from a nearly two-year layoff in July 2019, including a first-round knockout last August over previously undefeated Anthony Laureano. Rodriguez has long called for a fight against a big-name opponent, and if he defeats Pedraza, he will immediately enter the ranks of the top 140-pound contenders.
Rodríguez said: “I know what I bring to the table. There is nothing in your arsenal that does it better than mine. He brings the experience, but they have broken it a couple of times. This opportunity was long in coming. I’m focused. It’s hard to look at my two sons and not be determined to go into the ring and break this guy’s ribs. “
About Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a reinvented and reconceptualized casino resort. The property is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The integrated complex mixes the passion for food and drink with music and culture and has three hotel towers that add more than 1,500 rooms and suites; the 60,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment; a five-acre desert pool oasis that includes a multi-functional event lawn; live music and entertainment theater with capacity for 4,500 people; 24 Oxford showroom with capacity for 650 guests; an exclusive portfolio of twelve food and drink venues including Olives by Todd English, Night + Market by Kris Yenbamroong, legendary Nobu, Michael and David Morton’s One Steakhouse, Kassi Beach House by restaurateur Nick Mathers, Casa Calavera by global hotel company Hakkasan Group, sports entertainment, daylife and nightlife venue Money, Baby! by Justin Massei and Mikis Troyan of the Clive Collective, the famous Afters Ice Cream, the Ferraro family’s Pizza Forte, and exclusive Virgin Hotels restaurants and bars, including The Kitchen at Commons Club, The Bar at Commons Club, The Shag Room, and Funny Library Coffee Shop. The property is owned by JC Hospitality, LLC, in association with Juniper Capital Partners, Virgin Group, LiUNA, Fengate Asset Management, Dream, and Orlando Development. The off-the-strip playground is located at 4455 Paradise Road. For more information, visit www.virginhotelslv.com.
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