Orestes Velazquez may face the top of the 140-pound division sooner than we think.

After facing and defeating modest opposition thus far, Velazquez has his sights set on a significant bout later this year or early in 2024.

Velazquez will face once-beaten Mohamed Soumaoro tonight at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. The 10-round bout will stream live on Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube page (4:15 p.m. ET/ 1:15 p.m. PT).

In his last bout on March 25, Velazquez (7-0, 6 KOs) defeated fringe contender Marcelino Lopez of Argentina by unanimous decision over 10 rounds in Las Vegas. In his previous fight on December 11, Velazquez stopped another fringe contender from Argentina, Guillermo Crocco, after the first round. 

The win over Crocco also took place at the Caribe Royale. 

The 30-year-old was a standout amateur in Cuba before arriving to the United States, where he currently resides in Miami, Florida. 

Shane Shapiro, who promotes Velazquez, believes his charge is ready to face any of the top fighters in the division. All Velazquez needs to do is to stay active and receive an opportunity.

“This is a big step up for Orestes,” Shapiro told BoxingScene Thursday. “Fighting on a new platform in front of a new crowd against a very tough opponent. This is exactly what he needs for his career. He is ranked (in the) top five in the world, and after a big win Saturday night, hopefully some of the big names at 140 (pounds) will finally take notice of Orestes. 

“I would love to see him in there with Richardson Hitchins, Rolando (‘Rolly’) Romero, Subriel Matias, and hopefully fight for a world title in 2024.”

Soumaoro (13-1, 6 KOs), who is originally from Conakry, Guinea and now resides in Montreal, Canada, stopped previously-unbeaten Angel Vazquez in the eighth round of his last bout on March 22. Soumaoro, also 30, has won his last three fights since a close, majority decision loss to Elysson Marquez in February 2020.

Velazquez hopes to make a statement at the expense of Soumaoro in hopes of landing a meaningful fight against the top fights in the 140-pound division.

“As always I want to thank God, my trainer Ismael Salas, my promoter’s Shane Shapiro, Amaury Piedra, (and) Warriors Boxing,” Velazquez told BoxingScene. “We are here now. I am here to introduce myself properly to the fans on this massive fight card put together by Matchroom (Boxing). I am thankful.

“For a boy from Cienfuegos, Cuba fighting on DAZN in front of hundreds of thousands of people, what more can I ask for? I am ready. I will win Saturday night and then I will force all of the (top) guys at 140 to fight me.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing