By Victor Salazar
Three-time world champion ROMAN "Rocky" MARTINEZ (29-2-3, 17 KOs), from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion VASYL LOMACHENKO (5-1, 3 KOs), of Odessa, Ukraine, will go mano a mano for Martinez's WBO junior lightweight world title. Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank.
And the boxing gem of Puerto Rico, FELIX "El Diamante" VERDEJO (21-0, 14 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will risk his WBO Latino lightweight crown, undefeated record and No. 2 world rating against JUAN JOSE MARTINEZ (25-2, 17 KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico, in the co-main event of a championship doubleheader Next Saturday! June 11 -- one day before the famed Puerto Rican Day Parade -- at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The two bouts, scheduled for 12 and 10 rounds, respectively, will be televised live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The non-televised undercard will feature the U.S. debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Amateur Champion ZOU SHIMING (7-1, 2 KOs), from The Peoples Republic of China. Zou will be defending his WBO International flyweight title and No. 2 world rating in a 10-round bout against JOZSEF AJTAI (15-2, 10 KOs), of Hungary.
The six gladiators boast a combined record of 102-8-3 (63 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 90% with over 60% of their victories coming by way of knockout.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Puerto Rican Best Boxing, Diamante Promotions, SECA and Madison Square Garden, remaining tickets to the Martinez vs. Lomachenko / Verdejo vs. Martinez championship doubleheader are priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $35. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
PETER RIVERA: It is an incredible fight for Rocky Martinez. It has been an opportunity we have been looking for a long time. As everyone knows, Rocky Martinez has already been a world champion three times. He has a lot of experience and he has been looking for this type of opportunity. Being the main event on HBO will give him a lot of exposure and a win over Lomachenko will be incredible for his career. In our camp, we are really confident about this fight -- confident that we can win this fight. Rocky is the bigger guy and the guy with the experience and he is hungry. Also to fight on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade is an incredible thing for Rocky Martinez.