Rising junior middleweight star Xander Zayas is all set to take a leap in his boxing career with his first-ever scheduled 10-round bout. The fight will see him squaring off against Mexico’s Roberto Valenzuela Jr. as the co-feature to the main event—the IBF featherweight world title clash between current champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez and Joet Gonzalez. The action-packed night will take place on Friday, September 15, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The bouts, which also include the comeback of lightweight standout Emiliano Fernando Vargas, will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Tickets for the event, promoted by Top Rank, are available now through Ticketmaster.com.
Zayas, hailing from Puerto Rico, has been nothing short of sensational in the ring. Signed by Top Rank at just 16, he has an immaculate 16-0 record, with 10 of those wins coming by way of knockout. His 2022 has been particularly remarkable, featuring decision victories over Quincy LaVallais and Alexis Salazar, and a fifth-round TKO against Elias Espadas. This past June, he fought during the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, dominating Ronald Cruz to win by an eight-round unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden.
Valenzuela is no slouch either. The 24-year-old Mexican fighter has a solid 21-4 record with 20 knockouts. A veteran of six years in the pro ranks, Valenzuela has been a challenging opponent for the likes of Alexis Rocha, Souleymane Cissokho, and Bakhram Murtazaliev. He’s entering this bout on a high note, coming off a third-round TKO victory against Daniel Vega this past April.
After wrapping up a recent training session in Miami, Zayas shared the following insights:
“I’m fully committed to my training as I gear up for this crucial milestone in my career, set for September 15 in Corpus Christi, Texas. I’m in peak form and can’t wait to entertain the audience, particularly given the significance of this date for Mexican boxing enthusiasts. The fact that this bout marks one of my initial clashes between Puerto Rico and Mexico only adds to the thrill. I’m more than up for the challenge.”
“Over the last eight weeks, my focus and energy have been laser-sharp. I’ve been prepping rigorously for what promises to be a great fight. Having the opportunity to spar with seasoned Mexican boxer Juan Macias Montiel—an athlete who’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the best in the middleweight category—has unquestionably elevated my game. On September 15, you can bet that I’ll be in top form, ready to deliver yet another spectacular performance for the Corpus Christi crowd and everyone tuning in on ESPN.”