A pair of promising junior welterweight contenders are set to return to the public eye after considerable time away from the ring.
Arnold Barboza Jr. and Danielito Zorrilla both checked in at 139.6 pounds during Thursday’s official weigh-in for their upcoming ten-round battle of unbeaten junior welterweight contenders. Two-way respect was granted during the final staredown, as has been the case throughout fight week for their ESPN-televised main event Friday beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.
Zorrilla (16-0, 12KOs) has emerged as a prospect to watch but has unfortunately fallen out of sight. The unbeaten 28-year-old from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico came in red hot with a second-round knockout of Pablo Cesar Cano last September, which followed a hard-fought, technical decision victory over Ruslan Madiyev last March in Guaynabo, P.R.
The pair of wins mark Zorrilla’s most significant achievements as a pro to date, though his career came to a halt following his icing of Cano. He enters Friday’s bout under the guidance of former 130-pound titlist Roman Martinez, while guided by Promociones Miguel Cotto and Golden Boy Promotions.
Barboza’s awaited ring return extends even deeper, having been out since a ten-round win over Antonio Moran last August 14 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The unbeaten Los Angeles-based contender was mentioned as a possible opponent for the 140-pound arrival of former lineal and unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs), who has instead tabbed Mexico’s Pedro Campa as the opponent of choice.
Having let months go by without a fight, Barboza sought the next best available challenge, which led to a dangerous showdown with Zorrilla.
Keyshawn Davis was due to face Mexico’s Jair Valtierra in the evening’s co-feature. However, the 2020 Olympic Silver medalist for the U.S. was forced to withdraw after coming down with a non-Covid related illness. The fallout worked to the benefit of red-hot lightweight prospect Raymond Muratalla, who was promoted to the main telecast against Valtierra in a scheduled eight-round lightweight contest.
Muratalla arrived at a shredded 136 pounds, while Valtierra (16-1, 8KOs) came in at 137 pounds. Muratalla—a 25-year-old prospect from Fontana, California—has knocked out each of his last nine opponent, including a third-round stoppage of Jeremy Hill on the April 30 undercard of Shakur Stevenson’s lopsided win over Oscar Valdez in their WBC/WBO junior lightweight unification bout.
Opening the televised tripleheader, 2020 Olympic Silver medalist Richard Torrez (1-0, 1KO) takes the next step in his pro journey as he faces Roberto Zavala Jr (2-1-1, 2KOs) in a scheduled six-round heavyweight contest.
Torrez—a 23-year-old southpaw from Tulare, California and Davis’ Olympic teammate last summer in Tokyo—weighed a well-proportioned 224 pounds for his second pro fight, coming four months after his pro debut this past March in Fresno. Zavala weighed a beefy 255.2 pounds, as the 34-year-old Del Rio, Texas native fights outside his home state for the first time in his young career.
Below are the weights for the preliminary undercard, which airs live on ESPN+ beginning 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT.
Jorge Marron Jr (20-3-1, 7KOs), Lakeside, California, 143.2 pounds vs. Adrian Yung (28-7-2, 22KOs), Lakeside via Los Mochis, Mexico, 142.6 pounds—6 rounds, junior welterweight
Austin Brooks (6-0, 2KOs), La Mesa, California, 125.2 pounds vs. Victor Saravia (1-2, 1KO), North Hollywood, 125.2 pounds—4 rounds, featherweight
Stephan Shaw (16-0, 12KOs), St. Louis, 236.6 pounds vs. Bernardo Marquez (14-4-1, 10KOs), Imperial Valley, California, 231.2 pounds—8 rounds, heavyweight
Floyd Diaz (5-0, 1KO), Las Vegas, 121.6 pounds (second try; initially 0.6 pounds over limit) vs. Pedro Salome (3-0-1, 1KO), Anaheim, 121.4 pounds—6 rounds, junior featherweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox