Jose Zepeda has yet another opponent for his July 7 fight in Las Vegas.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Kendo Castaneda has accepted that challenging assignment on seven days’ notice. Marcelino Lopez, a southpaw from Argentina, first agreed to replace an injured Ivan Baranchyk on short notice.
Zepeda was preparing for the right-handed Baranchyk, who withdrew from their 10-round fight over the weekend due to a rib injury. The junior welterweight contender was willing to face a left-handed opponent, though, even without an appropriate amount of time to adjust.
Once Lopez (36-2-1, 21 KOs) changed his mind, San Antonio’s Castaneda agreed to replace Baranchyk. Castaneda (17-1, 8 KOs, 1 NC) had been training to appear on another Top Rank/ESPN card later in July.
ESPN will televise the Zepeda-Castaneda contest as the main event July 7 from MGM Grand Conference Center.
The 26-year-old Castaneda suffered his first professional defeat in his last fight – a 10-round majority decision to Puerto Rico’s Yomar Alamo (18-0-1, 12 KOs) on February 28 in Kissimmee, Florida. In Zepeda, Castaneda will encounter a top 140-pound contender who nearly upset unbeaten WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez in February 2019.
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) referred to Zepeda as the toughest opponent of his career after defeating Zepeda by majority decision in their 12-rounder at Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, near Ramirez’s hometown of Avenal. The 31-year-old Zepeda (31-2, 25 KOs, 1 NC), of La Puente, California, bounced back from that close loss by convincingly out-boxing former two-division champion Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) in Zepeda’s last appearance, September 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
If Zepeda defeats Castaneda, his handlers hope to reschedule his fight with Russia’s Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs) for later this year. The former IBF junior welterweight champion’s team initially had hoped to push back their fight a few weeks, until they realized Baranchyk’s rib needed more time to heal than that.
The card headlined by Zepeda-Lopez also will include a 10-round featherweight fight in which Andy Vences (23-1-1, 12 KOs), of San Jose, California, will meet Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez (20-2, 11 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.