Unbeaten bantamweight prospect "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Max Ornelas (10-0-1, 4 KOs) goes from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas classroom into an on-campus ring at Cox Pavilion on April 20th to take on his Roy Jones Jr, (RJJ) Boxing Promotions stablemate, Dallas challenger Tony Lopez (12-3, 4 KOs), in the 10-round main event for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) North American Boxing Association (NABA) bantamweight title. (photo by Manny Murillo)
Ornelas vs. Lopez, presented RJJ Boxing Promotions, will air live on beIN Sports, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
"I've watched Max come up in the rankings and as his confidence and power have grown," co-promoter Roy Jones, Jr. said. "The way he has represented his hometown and my stable is remarkable. Now, to witness him fight in front of his fellow UNLV student body, I know he will exude humbleness for RJJ, UNLV and Las Vegas."
The Las Vegas-born Ornelas was 38-5 as an amateur, highlighted by a bronze-medal winning performance at the National PAL Championships, ranked as high as No 2 in the United States in the 123-pound division.
RJJ Boxing Promotions immediately put Ornelas on the fast track from the start. He was late for the official weigh in of his June 10, 2016 pro debut because of his high school graduation, turned 18 the day after his first fight, and later signed an exclusive promotional contract with RJJ on the following Monday.
The lone blemish on his otherwise perfect pro record is a two-round technical draw against 6-0 Leopoldo Martinez, which Ornelas avenged three months later in a rematch, stopping Martinez in the fifth round. In his most recent fight last November, Ornelas was in his fist 10-round bout, headlining on beIN Sports from Sloan, Iowa, in which Ornelas won a 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Nick Otieno (31-11).
"I love what RJJ Boxing Promotions has done for me," WBA N0. 14-rated Ornelas spoke about his accelerated pace. "I'm only 19 but they've shown that they trust me. They gave me seven fights in six months, making it much quicker for a world title fight. The rest is up to me."
Ornelas is familiar with Mexico-born Lopez, who was a 2012 Ft. Worth Golden Gloves champion, having fought on the same card twice in Las Vegas and Arizona. "He's a southpaw with a cocky style that's hard to defend," Ornelas remarked, "but my speed and smarts in the ring will beat him. I think we'll box a few rounds, like a chess match to open the fight, but I'll open-up in the middle rounds and take him out in the sixth, seventh or eighth round.
"This will be my toughest fight yet. He's more experienced. This is going to be a good fight with a title on the line. An impressive win is going to open up more doors for me."
Ornelas' parents insisted that Max would have to attend college if he turned pro. He balances his life as a UNLV sophomore, majoring in criminal justice, with that of a prize fighter. Fighting at home, on the UNLV campus in front of family, friends and fellow students, pumps up the affable Ornelas.
"When I'm not training, I'm in school or studying," Ornelas explained. "I've handled things well. I'm disciplined and like to stay busy. I'll stay in school and keep fighting until I graduate. I'll probably cut back my workload, though, when I'm training for a world title fight.
"I'm really excited about fighting at home. I'll have a lot of people there supporting me. I like pressure and my adrenalin will be pumping. Because of my weight class, I realize that I will need to travel to other countries to fight for titles, but it's always exciting for me to fight at home in Las Vegas (this will be his sixth pro fight in Las Vegas)."
Former WBA junior featherweight Rico "Suavacito" Ramos (28-5, 13 KOs) squares off against Mexican featherweight Daniel "El Chato" Noreiga (30-11, 15 KOs), a former WBA Fedecentro super flyweight titlist, in the eight-round, co-featured event on beIN Sports.
Opening the televised portion of this loaded card is the much-anticipated professional debut of Uzbekistan-native Elnur Abduraimov, now fighting out of Las Vegas, who was a bronze medalist at the 2015 World Amateur Championships, as well as a 2015 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships winner. The gifted Uzbek will be in a six-round bout versus an opponent to soon be determined.
In a pair of eight-round fights, Australian junior middleweight and past world title challenger, Tommy "The Titan" Browne (35-7-2, 13 KOs), meets Carlos Hernandez (15-17, 12 KOs), of Puerto Rico, while unbeaten World Boxing Council (WBC) United States welterweight champion Jimmy "Quiet Storm" Williams (14-0-1, 5 KOs) faces TBA. Williams is a former college football player from New Haven, Connecticut.
Fighting on the undercard in six-rounders are Las Vegas welterweights Kevin Johnson (4-0, 4 KOs) vs. TBA, and undefeated Roy Jones protégé Shady Gamhour (6-0, 5 KOs), a Swedish middleweight now living in Jones' hometown of Pensacola, Florida.
In four-round action are Russian middleweight Pete Khamukov (1-0, 1 KO) vs. TBA, Russian light heavyweight Vyacheslav Barsukov (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. TBA and pro-debuting Las Vegas junior lightweight Jaime Gomez vs. Ivan Ortiz (1-0-1, 1 KO), of Los Angeles.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
"With Ornelas vs Lopez," co-promoter Keith Veltre added, "fans are going to watch a great battle in every sense of the word. They're two aggressive fighters who will surely entertain fans on April 20th.
"This card is filled with heavy hitters, power punchers and body shot artists. People are going to walk away feeling the pain of each loss and ready to celebrate all of the victories."
Tickets are priced at $100.00 Ringside, $40.00 Reserved Seating & $25.00 General Admission, and available to purchase online at http://www.unlvtickets.com/eventInfo/spe/687/ornelas-vs-lopez/Taxes and fees apply to all sold tickets.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. PT with the opening bout scheduled at 6:00 p.m. PT.