By Keith Idec
Shawn Porter will make his first WBC welterweight title defense March 9.
El Nuevo Herald reported Tuesday morning that Porter will face Cuban contender Yordenis Ugas that night in Las Vegas. The Porter-Ugas fight likely will be announced Tuesday afternoon at a press conference in Los Angeles, where Premier Boxing Champions and FOX will unveil several main events as part of an expansive partnership.
Las Vegas’ Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs), a former IBF welterweight champ, won the WBC 147-pound title by defeating Danny Garcia on September 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 31-year-old Porter topped Garcia by unanimous decision in a 12-round fight for a title injury-plagued Keith Thurman relinquished late in April.
Miami’s Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) moved closer to a shot at the WBC title on the Porter-Garcia undercard.
Ugas, 32, easily out-boxed Argentina’s Cesar Barrionuevo in a 12-round WBC welterweight elimination match that night. Ugas buzzed Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC) with right hands in the second and 12th rounds, but settled for a unanimous-decision win in what amounted to a boring bout.
That victory improved Ugas’ record to 8-0 since he lost back-to-back decision defeats to Emmanuel Robles and Amir Imam in 2014. He is ranked No. 6 among the WBC’s welterweight contenders.
Thurman, meanwhile, is expected to return from what will be a 22-month layoff January 26. A bout between Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, and Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs), of Riverside, California, also is expected to be announced Tuesday as the main event of a FOX telecast January 26 from Barclays Center.
The 29-year-old Thurman hasn’t fought since defeating Danny Garcia by split decision in their welterweight title unification fight in March 2017 at Barclays Center. Thurman recently petitioned the WBC to get the shot at Porter that WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman promised him when he gave up that title, but the WBA welterweight champion wasn’t expected to take on an opponent as tough as Porter in his first fight back from a hand injury and elbow surgery.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.