Junior welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr., one of boxing’s best prospects, will headline a card for the first time when he takes on former junior lightweight world titleholder Juan Carlos Salgado on June 23 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Thursday.
The fight will headline a Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card that will air on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 20-year-old Ortiz (9-0, 9 KOs), of Dallas, who has ended all of his bouts inside three rounds, will take part in his first scheduled 10-round fight against Salgado (27-8-1, 16 KOs), 33, of Mexico.
“This is an amazing opportunity. I’ll be headlining a Golden Boy event for the first time and against a former world champion,” Ortiz said. “I’ve stopped all my opponents in my career, and I hope to do the same in my toughest fight yet. Make sure to not miss my fight.”
Salgado is by far the most notable opponent of Ortiz’s career, but he has seen better days. He has lost seven of his last eight fights, including to former world titleholders Takahiro Ao, Argenis Mendez and Jonathan Victor Barros. Salgado is best known for his huge upset of Jorge Linares, whom he knocked out in the first round to win a junior lightweight world title in 2009 before losing the belt in his first defense to Takashi Uchiyama in 2010.
“I know that people think that I’ll be yet another stepping stone for Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” Salgado said. “But I want to tell everyone that they’re wrong. Mexicans do not back down. I’ve done away with predictions before, and this fight will not be the exception. You will all see a great fight on June 23 in Los Angeles.”
In the co-feature, lightweight prospect Hector “Finito” Tanajara Jr. (13-0, 5 KOs), 21, of San Antonio, will fight Roger Gutierrez (19-1-1, 16 KOs), 23, of Venezuela in an eight-round bout. Gutierrez has won four fights in a row.
Other bouts that will be on the card include Armenia native Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs), of North Hollywood, California, against Mexico’s Israel Villela (6-10, 2 KOs), in a six-round junior middleweight fight; Kevin Ventura (8-0, 7 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, taking on an opponent to be determined in a six-round junior welterweight fight; and China-born junior middleweight Kanat Islam (25-0, 20 KOs), of Oxnard, California, facing an opponent to be determined in a 10-round match.