By Miguel Rivera
Puerto Rican lightweight contender Felix "Diamante" Verdejo is hoping that a victory over Antonio Lozada will bring him one step closer to a world title shot.
The fight is scheduled to take place in New York on March 17. Top Rank has not yet made the fight official but is expected to do so soon.
Lozada, who spent the better part of his career at 140-pounds, says he already signed the agreement for the fight with Verdejo (23-0, 15 KO's).
Lozada (37-2, 31 KOs) and Verdejo were scheduled to fight last September, but Verdejo withdrew with a claimed wrist injury after suffering a bad fall in the bathroom while holding camp at Big Bear in California.
Over the last few years, Verdejo has suffered injuries and put in lackluster performances in the ring.
At the end of last year, his manager and trainer Ricky Márquez had promised that Verdejo would be added to a show that Top Rank would present in the Big Apple.
He hopes to get himself back in position for a world title fight at some point this year.
"I'm looking to go one step further in the direction of my world championship fight. I only ask that God give us health, to both Lozada and me, and we will take care of the rest, "Verdejo said.
Verdejo, 24-years-old, has not made an official fight since early 2017 when he struggled to defeat Oliver Flores by unanimous decision.
Lozada views the contest as the fight of his life.
"The truth is, this is the fight of my life, it's the door to the big leagues," said Lozada to ESPN Deportes.
"All my life I dreamed of an opportunity, this is the fight. By winning this we can rise up and go for everything. It's an explosive fight, I'm going to leave the best of me in the ring as always and I promise you an explosion fight. I'm going for everything, the best thing is that at lightweight I will have no problem, I had fought a lot at junior welterweight and even higher, but I feel good at 135 pounds, and I even thought about going down to 130 pounds if a good opportunity came up."