Carlos Adames received a wonderful birthday present this year: He received the gift of being elevated to outright WBC middleweight titleholder.

On June 15, Adames will make his first defense, against 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, as part of the pay-per-view undercard of the Gervonta Davis-Frank Martin fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Adames (23-1, 18 KOs) had been the interim titlist since October 2022, when he knocked out Juan Macias Montiel in the third round of their vacant interim title fight, which was arranged due to WBC titleholder Jermall Charlo’s inactivity. Adames made one defense last year, in a stoppage of former unified junior middleweight titleholder Julian Williams. Charlo was arrested for DWI on May 7 and stripped of his title. This was the same day Adames turned 30.

“I was truly happy to be elevated to world champion on my birthday,” Adames said. “That news was just the cherry on top of my birthday. What I really wanted was for Jermall Charlo to fight me, but he made his choice.”

Adames waited for a consolidation bout with Charlo, but that moment never came. His first outright defense of the WBC title will be against Gausha (24-3-1, 12 KOs), who lost his previous title fight at junior middleweight to then-WBA titleholder Erislandy Lara. Gausha, 36, will enter next week’s bout on a two-fight winning streak after losing a unanimous decision to Tim Tszyu, despite Adames having dropped Tszyu in the first round. Adames, a power puncher, noted that Gausha has never been stopped.

“Gausha has the reputation of a guy who’s hard to knock down, but he hasn’t felt my power yet,” Adames said. “I’ll tip my hat to him if he can go the distance. Either way, I’m not focusing on the knockout. I’m making sure I’m ready for anything that happens in the ring.”

Since moving up to middleweight, Adames has been on a roll, winning four consecutive fights in the division, including a majority decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Some might view the competition Gausha has faced – such as Lara, Tszyu, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout – as superior. Adames doesn’t pay attention to that, as he feels he is better and has improved since his lone loss, to Patrick Teixeira, in a 2019 interim WBO junior middleweight title fight.

“I’m not concerned about Gausha’s resume or who he’s fought, because I’m the best fighter he’s faced,” Adames said. “I’m the best fighter in the 160-pound division, so he better be ready for what he’s coming up against. I’m not underestimating anyone, but I’m not worried about his experience.”