There will be a lot on the line this Friday, February 16th, when Mexican world title contender Ray Beltran faces former world champ Paulus Moses at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.
Beltran and Moses will battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight title, but for Beltran, this fight means way more than that. He will also be fighting for his dream of becoming a permanent resident of the United States.
Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs), a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, who now resides in Phoenix, Arizona, will be fighting to obtain his green card so that he can remain in the U.S. with his family under the Extraordinary Ability as a Professional Boxing (EB-1) Employment-Based First Preference category. A world title victory will all but assure him of his permanent status.
"This is the most important fight of my career, where finally I have the opportunity to make two of my dreams come true in one night. The first is to be world champion, and the second to become a permanent resident of the United States," said Beltran, who enters this fight having won four of his last five fights by knockout.
"I promise to put on a great show for all the fans and show the world why I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world. I’m bringing 18 years of experience into the ring with me, and my blood, and sweat of 42 fights that I fought to get me to this place. No man will deny me of my dreams. This Friday, Moses himself couldn’t save Moses," added the former sparring partner of eight-division world champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Moses (40-3, 25 KOs), from Windhoek, Namibia, captured the WBA world lightweight title in 2009 when he traveled to Yokohama, Japan to defeat defending champion and hometown favorite Yusuke Kobori via a unanimous decision. After one successful title defense -- a unanimous decision victory over Takehiro Shimada, Moses' 16-month reign as world champion ended in 2010 at the hands of Miguel Acosta. Since losing a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in their 2012 WBO lightweight world championship fight, Moses has strung together an impressive record of 11-1, 1 NC.
"I'm a chief of police in my country, and I deal with tough guys all the time. Beltran will not be any different," said Moses, a veteran who has fought professionally in Asia, Europe, Africa, and who will be making his United States debut against Beltran. "He is an experienced fighter that has faced a lot of good opponents, but I'm here to fight and take the title back home with me."
The co-main event will feature undefeated NABF welterweight champion Egidijus "The Mean Machine" Kavaliuskas (18-0, 15 KOs), from Oxnard, Calif., by way of Kaunas, Lithuania, defending his title against former world champion David "Ava" Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs), of Pyatigorsk, Russia, in a 10-round battle of Top-10 world-rated contenders.
The Beltran vs. Moses / Kavaliuskas vs. Avanesyan world championship event will be televised live and exclusively, this Friday, at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App at 7 p.m. EST.
The championship event will also feature the return of 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (4-0, 2 KOs), of Newark, NJ. Stevenson has a unique relationship with Reno, where he began each year from 2013 through 2015 by winning a national amateur title. Additionally, he won the gold medal and Outstanding Boxer award at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Stevenson has never lost in Reno. Two-time world heavyweight championship challenger and a current Top-10 world- rated contender Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, will also be featured on the undercard, in an eight-round bout.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Let's Get It On Promotions, remaining tickets to the Beltran-Moses world championship event priced at $79, $54, and $29, including facility fees, may be purchased online at www.grandsierra.com, at the Grand Theater Box Office, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT, daily, or charge by phone at 1-775-789-1115.