"A lot of work has been put in to making sure we could proceed with fights this summer," Felix 'Tutico' Zabala Jr., president of series content provider All-Star Boxing Inc. told BoxingScene.com. "Fighter safety and fan-friendly matchups remain the highest priority, especially in the current (environment)."
The Boxeo Telemundo summer season now has a starting point.
Former bantamweight title challenger Ricardo 'Hindu' Espinoza will kick off the four-week block, as he faces Colombia's Brandon Valdes in a 10-round regional bantamweight title fight. The matchup headlines the August 14 show, airing live from an enclosed Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida (Telemundo, 12:00am ET), which will house the entire summer season.
All participants will be quarantined in the designated bubble upon arrival and through post-fight checkout.
Espinoza (24-3, 21 KOs) scored three straight wins on the Telemundo circuit—all by knockout—in advancing to the mandatory contender slot in the WBO bantamweight rankings. His bid for an interim title fell short, suffering a 12th round stoppage to John Riel Casimero in an otherwise competitive affair last April in Carson, California.
The 22-year old slugger from Tijuana, Mexico rebounded with a confidence-restoring 1st round knockout in his hometown last December.
Valdes (13-0, 7 KOs) steps up in class for his third fight in the United States,. The 21-year old from Baranquilla, Colombia enjoyed a terrific amateur career before turning pro in 2016, but has yet to establish himself due to facing modest competition. The showdown with Espinoza could very well prove to be his launching pad.
Efforts have been made to further hone his craft, leaving Baranquilla to train out of Cesar Garcia's Black House Boxing academy in Los Angeles.
"We had to make a statement with our first fight of the new season," Zabala notes. "A title challenger and an unbeaten contender on the rise is the type of 50/50 fights we wanted. It's a great test for both, and the best fights for the fans are the ones where you have no idea who will win until they're in the ring."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox