The most dominant rising force in the welterweight division returns to the ring as Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KOs) defends his WBA Gold Welterweight Title against Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event. Ortiz Jr. will headline a stacked card in his adoptive home of Southern California that will also feature Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan, Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis, Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and more! The event will take place Saturday, March 28 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Ticket information for the event will be announced shortly.
“When people think of the future of the welterweight division, one name stands out, and that’s Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO at Golden Boy. “Simply put, this kid is special. His talent, speed and power set him apart from any other fighter who is moving up the 147-pound rankings. Don’t miss another spectacular knockout performance at the Forum or live on DAZN!”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has knocked out every opponent in sight. The native of Grand Prairie, Texas, who has roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will participate in his first fight of the year after stopping Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco and Brad “King” Solomon in a spectacular 2019. The 21-year-old knockout artist plans to do the same in 2020, but Vargas stands in his way.
“I’m excited to be returning against Samuel Vargas,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “He’s a tough fighter with a lot of experience, so I know that my talent and skills are going to be put to a tough test. I’m also happy to be fighting in Los Angeles at such a historic venue where many legends in the sport have fought. I love this city, and I love the people here, so I’m going to work very hard to perform to the best of my abilities on March 28.”
Vargas is recognized as one of the toughest challenges in any division. The 30-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia has faced a who’s who of welterweight boxers, including Amir “King” Khan, Luis Collazo, Danny “Swift” Garcia and Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. Vargas plans to engage Ortiz Jr. in a war, something he has yet to encounter.
“Throughout my career, I have always taken the challenges that other fighters in the division don’t want, and that’s exactly what I’m doing again,” said Samuel Vargas. “Vergil Ortiz Jr. is one of the brightest young stars in boxing, but he hasn’t had to go through a war yet. I’ve shown that I’m willing to go through hell in that ring, so if Ortiz is everything he’s hyped up to be, he better be on point March 28 because I know I will.”
In the co-main event, Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (33-7-1, 23 KOs) will put his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title on the line against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) of Newark, N.J. in a 12-round fight.
Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan (18-3, 15 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBA Interim Super Bantamweight Championship against Jose Sanmartin (30-5-1, 20 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia in 12-round clash.
Welterweight contender Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) of Lynn, Mass. will defend his WBA Continental Americas Welterweight Title against Sergio Ortega (21-2, 15 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico in a 10-rounder.
Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. will make the first defense of her WBA Interim Flyweight Title in a 10-round battle.
Christopher Pearson (17-2, 12 KOs) of Tortwood, Ohio will participate in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Raul “Cougar” Curiel (8-0, 6 KOs) of Tampico, Mexico will face Steve “Manos de Oro” Villalobos (8-0, 6 KOs) of Mount Vernon, Wash. in a 10-round welterweight clash between two young prospects.
Irish prospect Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (10-0, 6 KOs) will return in an eight-round super welterweight clash.
Chris “Milly” Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) of Chicago will open the night in an eight-round middleweight battle against Jarvis Williams (8-2-1, 5 KOs) of St. Louis.
Below is what fighters had to say at today’s press conference:
VERGIL ORTIZ JR., WBA Gold Welterweight Champion:
“I’m thankful to have one of the best promotors in the world. We’re a big family, and I’m very proud to be a part of Golden Boy Promotions. I train for every fight like I’m training for a world title. I don’t think I’m the most talented fighter in the room, but I do know that I work the hardest in the game right now.”
SAMUEL VARGAS, Welterweight Contender:
“I’m open to fighting everyone. I’ve fought a lot of talented boxers have had great experience throughout the years. I’m confident and I’m ready. I’ve been training very well, and I’m excited for this fight. A huge shout out to my fans in Canada and Columbia who will be watching and supporting me.”
AZAT HOVHANNISYAN, Super Bantamweight Contender:
“I’m as ready for any champion. I’m in the best shape and have the best trainer. I can’t wait to show everyone a wonderful fight on March 28.”
SENIESA ESTRADA, WBC Silver Light Flyweight Champion:
“This is going to be my fifth time at the Forum, but this time it’s going to be very different. The last four times that I fought at this venue. I didn’t have promoter. I wasn’t making any money and I wanted to give up on my dreams. I honestly didn’t think I could make it as a boxer. This time coming back to the Forum, I’m at the best place in my career right now, physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m ready for a great fight.”
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy:
“There’s a lot of great boxing history at the forum. A lot of famous world champions have fought at this venue, including Oscar De La Hoya, who made his debut back in 1992. This is a great card and all these fights are going to be exciting, especially Vergil Ortiz Jr., who is no longer a prospect but now a contender. He has captivated the world of boxing, and I hope for him to win a world title this year. Vergil has proved himself in the ring, but make no mistake Samuel Vargas is a dangerous fighter. Vergil needs to be able to beat a fighter like Vargas. This is a big test for Vergil. Vargas is going to challenge him, but this is what he needs to go through to win a world title.
Ortiz Jr. vs. Vargas is a 12-round fight for the WBA Gold Welterweight Title presented by Golden Boy. The event is sponsored by Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, March 28 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Tickets for Ortiz Jr. vs. Vargas are on sale now and are priced at $10, $25, $50 and $100. Prices do not include applicable facility fees and service charges. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com.