On Saturday, May 31, boxing returns to The New Tropicana resort in Las Vegas with an exciting doubleheader featuring Javier "El Abejon" Fortuna taking on Juan Antonio Rodriguez and Luis Rosa against Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle. Tickets start at just $37 for the event, which will take place in the Tropicana Pavilion. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO Latino at 12 midnight EST ( 9 p.m. local start time in Las Vegas). In addition to the HBO Latino telecast, the HBO2 service will air the doubleheader with English language commentary at 12 midnight (ET/PT).
To view Tropicana Las Vegas hotel rates, visit www.troplv.com.
The main event will feature former world champion Javier "El Abejon" Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) taking on heavy-handed contender Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) for 10 rounds in the super featherweight division. The co-feature will pit undefeated contender Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) against the once-beaten, top 10-rated Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs) for 10 rounds in the super bantamweight division.
This Las Vegas boxing event is being promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing in association with Right Hook Promotions.
"From top to bottom, this is going to be an exciting card filled with action-packed fights," said promoter Lou DiBella. "Javier Fortuna has been flirting with stardom for a couple of years now, and an impressive showing on May 31further cements that. The co-feature is one of the absolute best matchups that you can possibly make at that weight. We are happy to be able to bring boxing back to The New Tropicana Las Vegas."
"This doubleheader will be an exciting event, which will bring together four very exciting boxers who are ready to challenge the best of their respective divisions. I am very happy to bring this event to my hometown, especially to the recently transformed Tropicana Las Vegas," said promoter Sampson Lewkowicz.
"We're absolutely thrilled to be hosting this event," said Fred Harmon, vice president and chief marketing officer for The New Tropicana Las Vegas. "We look forward to welcoming the boxing community and their fans to our all-new resort and casino, and are delighted to provide our guests with this exhilarating entertainment option."
Also scheduled to appear on the card in a special attraction eight-round middleweight bout will be former WBA junior middleweight world champion and "The Contender" champion, WBA #10-rated Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora (25-3-2, 8 KOs) taking on once-beaten Samuel Rogers (14-1, 8 KOs).
Additional Las Vegas boxing bouts and a complete list of the undercard will be announced soon.
Tickets are priced at $85, $65 and $37, plus applicable taxes and fees and will go on sale today, Monday, April 21. They will be available for purchase online (www.troplv.com), in person at the Tropicana Las Vegas Show Tickets desk or by phone (800-829-9034) starting today.
For fight updates, visit www.dbe1.com, www.hbo.com/boxing and www.troplv.com, Facebook (facebook.com/dibellaentertainment, facebook.com/hboboxing)and Twitter (twitter.com/dibellaent, twitter.com/loudibella, twitter.com/sampsonboxing).
Javier "El Abejon" Fortuna
Fortuna, a 24-year-old Dominican southpaw, was a hot prospect in 2012. Winning all three of his fights that year, Fortuna was included on Dan Rafael's ESPN.com "Prospects to Watch" list. He also won the interim WBA world featherweight title that year with a unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Patrick Hyland. The bout against Hyland was shown on the HBO PPV undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez IV and was Fortuna's first exposure to the HBO network family. Training alongside middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez, Fortuna followed up that performance with a devastating first-round knockout over Miguel Zamudio in April 2013, on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights."Unfortunately for Fortuna, he had outgrown the featherweight division and lost his title on the scales. In his next bout, also aired on "Friday Night Fights," Fortuna took on Cuban Olympian Luis Franco. In a bout that Fortuna seemingly dominated, he was held to a split decision draw, in what many viewed as one of the worst decisions of 2013. Fortuna has since won two bouts in a row, both by stoppage, and now the WBA #2 and WBC #7-rated super featherweight is looking for his first shot at capturing a piece of the super featherweight crown. To do so, Fortuna must first get by the hard-hitting and upset-minded Rodriguez, against whom Fortuna has a personal vendetta.
"I am very happy to be on HBO Latino and have a chance to redeem myself on national TV, especially in my second home of Las Vegas where I will bring pride to my beloved Dominican Republic. I will avenge the loss of my countryman Yenifel Vicente in devastating fashion with a spectacular knockout of Juan Antonio Rodriguez."
Juan Antonio Rodriguez
Rodriguez, a 26-year-old former WBC youth featherweight champion, is riding a five-bout winning streak, with four victories coming by way of knockout, since dropping a 10-round decision to former IBF world champion Billy Dib back in 2012. In January of this year, Rodriguez made his U.S. debut as the co-feature on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights," winning an eight-round decision over once-beaten Yenifel Vicente. Rodriguez knows that the fight with the highly regarded and top-rated Fortuna is exactly the opportunity he needs to move himself a major step closer toward challenging for his first world championship.
"This is the type of opportunity I have been waiting for. People in Mexico know how good I am, but after I beat Javier Fortuna on May 31 on HBO Latino, the entire world will see how good I am. My ultimate dream is to win the coveted WBC green championship belt, and a win over Fortuna moves me that much closer to achieving that," said a determined Rodriguez.
Rosa turned pro back in 2010 at just 18 years of age and has steadily progressed along the way. Rosa was a perfect 4-0 in 2013 and opened up 2014 with his most impressive victory to date, a dominant eight-round unanimous decision over former top-rated contender Jorge Diaz on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" on January 31. Rosa is looking to feed off that momentum and have another breakout performance when he takes on Del Valle.
"I couldn't be happier about this opportunity," said the 22-year-old Rosa. "This is my chance to show that I am not only one of the best fighters in the 122-pound division but also for me to pick up my first title belt and to make a major jump up the world ratings. I respect Orlandito as a fighter, but this is my time to shine and there is no one who will stand in the way of that."
Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle
A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the 27-year-old Del Valle was a stellar amateur and national champion before turning pro in 2008 and reeling off 16 consecutive victories and steadily moving up the ranks of the super bantamweight division. Then Del Valle met former three-time world champion Vic Darchinyan in his HBO debut, eventually dropping a hard-fought 10-round decision to the now resurgent contender. Del Valle has since put together two consecutive stoppage victories and is looking to once again throw his name into the title mix of the 122-pound division.
"A while back, it used to be all fun and hype for me, but not anymore," said Del Valle. "May 31 is just another date and another fight for me to prove to the world the type of fighter I am. I am all business now, and come May 31, Rosa is going to find that out very quickly."