Rey Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs), the undefeated world champion of Mexico City, Mexico, will make the third defense of his WBC Super Bantamweight World title against explosive Armenian contender Azat "Crazy A" Hovhannisyan (14-2, 11 KOs) in the 12-round co-main event to Sadam "World Kid" Ali and Liam "Beefy" Smith for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship on Saturday, May 12 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Vargas is a 27-year-old world champion who brings a considerable height and reach advantage to every fight, which he has used to defeat all of his previous opponents. In February 2017, Vargas traveled to the United Kingdom to defeat Gavin McDonnell for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight Title. For that fight, Vargas enlisted the help of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, who has been training him ever since. Vargas then defended the title against Ronny Rios and Oscar "El Jaguar" Negrete, and he'll look to make his third defense against yet another tough contender in Hovhannisyan.
"I'm ready to make the third defense of my world title in what will be the next step of a historic career," said Rey Vargas. "I've faced the best contenders since becoming world champion, and May 12 will not be the exception. Hovhannisyan is explosive and fast, but I will be prepared to win in exciting fashion to show that I'm the best super bantamweight in the world."
Hovhannisyan is a fiery contender who has worked hard for his title opportunity. In September 2017, the 29-year-old fought with an injured right hand across 10 rounds of grueling action to win the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight Title on the undercard of Linares vs. Campbell. Hovhannisyan then returned in March for his most impressive victory yet, a sixth-round technical knockout win against former world title challenger Ronny Rios. After defeating a common opponent of Vargas via a more impressive manner, Hovhannisyan will look to use his quick and aggressive style to earn his first world title.
"This is the most important fight of my career," said Azat Hovhannisyan. "I've prepared for this fight my entire life. Vargas is a great champion and this will be a hard fight, but I will do anything it takes to win this title."
"Both of these world championship fights on May 12 will provide action from the opening bell," said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. "Rey Vargas is the man to beat in the 122-pound division, and Azat Hovhanniysan has put in the work to potentially dethrone him."
"Promociones del Pueblo and Golden Boy Promotions are dedicated to making great fights like this one," said Oswaldo Kuchle, President of Promociones del Pueblo. "Rey Vargas has all the tools to walk away with the victory and will remove all doubts regarding his position as the best fighter in the 122-pound division."
Ali vs. Smith is a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Frank Warren. Vargas vs. Hovhannisyan is a 12-round battle for the WBC Super Bantamweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Promociones del Pueblo. The event is sponsored by Tecate, "THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING" and Casa Mexico Tequila. The doubleheader takes place Saturday, May 12 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Host of the May 12 event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year level boxing. The May event will mark Turning Stone's 25th nationally-televised boxing event, cementing the resort as a leading destination for nationally-televised combat sports. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues with live entertainment every weekend.
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup are on sale and are available from $95 and $75 for ringside seats and all others priced at $55 and $45, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office in person or by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).