By Francisco Salazar
WBO World featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez will defend his belt against mandatory challenger Miguel Marriaga on Apr. 22 at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif., Top Rank officially announced Thursday afternoon.
Top Rank will produce and distribute the four-bout card in Carson through pay-per-view.
The official announcement comes as no surprise as Top Rank had already placed a hold on the venue with the California Athletic Commission.
Top Rank also announced unbeaten Gilberto Ramirez will defend his WBO super middleweight title against Maxsim Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs) of the Ukraine. Unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno will make the first defense of the WBO junior featherweight title against Adeilson dos Santos of Brazil.
U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson, who signed a promotional contract with Top Rank last month, will make his long-awaited pro debut as well.
Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs) was successful in the first defense of his world title belt on Nov. 5, when he stopped Hiroshige Osawa in the seventh round in Las Vegas. The Nogales, Mexico resident has stopped his last five opponents.
Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs) became the mandatory challenger to face Valdez on Aug. 27, when he stopped Guy Robb in round six in Fallon, Nev. He has won his last five bouts since suffering the only loss as a pro at the hands of then-WBA World featherweight titleholder Nicholas Walters in June of 2015.
Marriaga had a stay-busy bout on Dec. 16 in his hometown of Cartagena, Colombia, knocking out overmatched Eduardo Montoya in the third round.
Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) has not fought since Apr. 9 of last year, when he won the WBO title from Arthur Abraham by a one-sided decision. Ramirez was scheduled to defend his title on July 23, on the undercard of the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol unification bout, but had to withdraw from the bout when he tore the tendon to his knuckle of his middle finger during sparring.
Bursak has won his last two bouts.
Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs) won the WBO title in his last bout on Nov. 5, winning a close unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire. Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs), who has won his last two bouts, lost a decision to Kid Galahad in the only bout where he fought a recognizable name.
Stevenson, who hails from Newark, N.J., stunned the boxing world as he signed a deal with Top Rank, after reportedly being courted by Floyd Mayweather and Roc Nation to sign a promotional deal. He will appear in a six round bout in his pro debut.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing