Ganigan Lopez will end a near two-year hiatus while hoping to spoil the party for his unbeaten challenger.

The former junior flyweight titlist returns to the ring for a showdown with Colombia’s Jose Soto. Their scheduled ten-round regional junior bantamweight title fight headlines the next edition of Boxeo Telemundo this Friday from Deportivo Oceania in Lopez’s hometown of Mexico City, Mexico.

Soto (15-0, 6KOs) fights for the first time in just more than a year. The unbeaten 24-year-old prospect from Canalate, Colombia also fights on the road for the first time as a pro, though eager for the step up in competition versus a former titlist.

“I am excited to return to the ring Friday after a year layoff due to the pandemic, notes Soto, who has scored two straight knockouts heading into this weekend’s bout. “On Friday night I look to put my name on the map and soon become Colombia’s next world champion.” 

Lopez (36-11, 19KOs) has not fought since an eight-round loss to former flyweight title challenger Muhammad Waseem in November 2019.

The veteran southpaw—who turns 40 in November—comes in the far more superior opponent, having won and lost at the top level including a twelve-round, majority decision victory over Yu Kimura to claim the WBC junior flyweight title in March 2016. Lopez held the title for just over a year before dropping a narrow majority decision to then-unbeaten Kenshiro Teraji in May 2017.

Lopez was considerably less competitive in the rematch with Teraji, suffering a second-round knockout one year later. Efforts to rebuild his career saw Lopez debut on the Telemundo circuit, outpointing countrymen Ricardo Rodriguez and Saul ‘Baby’ Juarez in hometown headliners bookending a failed title bid versus then-WBO junior flyweight titlist Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta. The win over Juarez was followed by back-to-back losses, though with Lopez confident of delivering for his hometown crowd this weekend,

“The fans will be in for a treat with an intriguing main event,” notes promoter Felix ‘Tutico’ Zabala, owner and president of All Star Boxing, Inc. “We have an undefeated fighter looking to make a statement, but will face a tough, crafty veteran in Ganigan Lopez who has an urgency to win and prove he still belongs at the top level.”

The bout marks the series’ second straight telecast to air from Mexico City, going live beginning 12:00 a.m. ET/11:00 p.m. Central and local time. Select undercard bouts will be shown via slight tape delay, including a matchup of unbeaten bantamweights between Brandon ‘Raton’ Jimenez (4-0, 1KO) and Kevin ‘Avispa’ Cisneros (3-0, 3KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox