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The Heat Is On: Miami Fight Night Headlined by Teofimo Lopez-Steve Claggett Junior Welterweight World Title Showdown June 29 at James L. Knight Center LIVE on ESPN

PhilBoxing.com





Robeisy Ramirez-Brandon Leon Benitez & Nico Ali Walsh-Sona Akale II round out the televised tripleheader
Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK & Ireland
Tickets on sale Wednesday, May 22 at 2 p.m. ET via Ticketmaster.com

MIAMI, Fla. (May 20, 2024) – The Takeover is returning to his South Florida roots.

Teofimo Lopez will defend his WBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight world titles against Canadian contender Steve Claggett on Saturday, June 29, at James L. Knight Center in Downtown Miami, Florida.

In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, Cuban former WBO world champion Robeisy Ramirez returns against Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez.

The six-round televised opener sees middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh attempt to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch against Sona Akale.

Teofimo-Claggett, Ramirez-Benitez & Ali Walsh-Akale II will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK & Ireland.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Eye of The Tiger, tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 22 at 2 p.m. ET via Ticketmaster.com.

“Teofimo Lopez is among the most electrifying fighters in the sport, and I know he’s motivated to put on a show against a very tough challenger in Steve Claggett,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “Robeisy Ramirez wants to become a two-time world champion, and the road back starts in his adopted hometown. Nico Ali Walsh has been asking for the Akale rematch from the moment the judges’ decision came back after their first fight, and he now has a chance for revenge.”

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs), a two-weight lineal champion who grew up in South Florida, captured the IBF lightweight world title with a second-round knockout against Richard Commey in December 2019. The following year, he triumphed over pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko to claim the WBA, WBO, and WBC Franchise titles. He lost the belts in a shocking upset to George Kambosos Jr. in November 2021. The 26-year-old made his junior welterweight debut in August 2022, registering a seventh-round TKO versus Pedro Campa before tallying a points verdict over Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin that December. In June 2023, Lopez painted a fistic masterpiece when he upset former undisputed champion Josh Taylor to capture the WBO and Ring Magazine titles. He defended his crown with a unanimous decision over former amateur rival Jamaine Ortiz in February.

Lopez said, "I have always wanted to fight in South Florida, where I grew up and developed as a fighter. I never thought it would happen, but now, on June 29, I get the opportunity to do so not just as a world champion but as the lineal world champion of my division. This has been one of my goals since turning pro, and I’m motivated to showcase my talent there in front of my Honduran fans and the entire Latino community. This is like a Rocky Balboa story for Steve Claggett. I'm very much looking forward to what kind of style I'm going to see. There were no other fighters who were interested in fighting me, and I felt like he would give not just me, but the fans as well, a great fight to watch."

Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs), a native of Calgary, Canada, is a 15-year veteran who hasn’t lost a fight since 2021. The 34-year-old went 4-0 with two knockouts in 2023. In March, he stopped Rafael Guzman Lugo in seven to capture the vacant NABF junior welterweight strap. He defended it with a third-round TKO against former world champion Alberto Machado in June before decisioning Carlos Sanchez in September and Miguel Madueño in November. He kicked off his 2024 in January by dispatching Marcos Gonzalez Barrera in two.

Claggett said, “I have worked my entire life for this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it. I am more motivated than ever before, and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got.”

Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist, won the WBO featherweight world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe in April 2023. The 30-year-old traveled to Japan for his first defense, battering hometown hero Satoshi Shimizu en route to a fifth-round TKO in the July 2023 co-feature to the Naoya Inoue-Stephen Fulton main event. Ramirez lost the title via majority decision against Rafael Espinoza, dropping the Mexican in the fifth before himself visiting the canvas in the 12th round of a Fight of the Year contender. Benitez (21-2, 9 KOs) looks to capitalize on a seven-fight win streak. His last defeat was against Saul Sanchez in May 2019. His wins since then include a split decision upset over former world champion Xu Can in October 2022 and a body shot knockout over Rigoberto Hermosillo in December.

Ramirez said, “Last December, we put on an action-packed battle, a worthy ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. While the result was unexpected, we also proved to the boxing world just how amazing a Miami crowd can be. On June 29, I will begin my quest to recapture my world title and return to the top, where I know I belong. It’s Cuba vs. Mexico again, and I’m excited to have the loyal support of the Cuban community of Miami.”

Benitez said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to show that I belong among the best of the division. But I want Robeisy Ramirez to know that this is nothing new to me. I know what it’s like to go on enemy turf against a tough former world champion. Like I did with Can, I’m going to make it a tough night for Ramirez. I respect him as a fighter, but as soon as I get in the ring, I’m not going to stop throwing punches until my hand is raised."

Ali Walsh (10-1, 5 KOs) went 8-0 before suffering his first pro defeat against Akale last August in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The grandson of “The Greatest” bounced back with a points triumph over Noel Lafargue last December in Conakry, Guinea, and made his 2024 debut with a six-round unanimous decision win against Charles Stanford in March. Ali Walsh thrived in the lone rematch on his dossier. In August 2022, he knocked out Reyes Sanchez in two rounds after edging him by majority decision the previous December. Akale (9-1, 4 KOs) heads into the rematch after decisioning Tray Martin across six last December.

“I’ve had a rematch before. I know how to right my wrongs,” Ali Walsh said. “I appreciate Akale for not running from the rematch, but on June 29, I’ll leave no doubt.”

Akale said, “I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to fight again for Top Rank on ESPN. I'm going to prove my first win over Nico was no fluke. After this fight, everyone will know I’m the real deal.”

In scheduled undercard action, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+:

· Junior welterweight Rohan Polanco (12-0, 7 KOs), who represented the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo Olympics, returns in an eight-rounder against Mexican veteran Luis Hernandez (23-4, 20 KOs). Polanco thrilled the South Florida fans last December with a sixth-round TKO over Keith Hunter in Pembroke Pines.

· Middleweight puncher Euri Cedeño (8-0-1, 7 KOs), an Olympic teammate of Polanco’s, looks to increase his winning streak to three in an eight-rounder against Colombian southpaw Dormedes Potes (14-6-1, 10 KOs).

· Rising Dominican prospect Yan Santana (11-0, 11 KOs) seeks his 12th straight knockout in a 10-rounder against the tough-as-nails Brandon Valdes (15-4, 7 KOs), who is coming off a decision loss to Ruben Villa last September.

· South Florida-born heavyweight fan favorite Lorenzo Medina (10-0, 9 KOs) fights Baltimore native Colby Madison (11-7-2, 7 KOs) in a six-rounder. The 19-year-old Medina has won three straight bouts by knockout, including December’s sixth-round stoppage over Joshua Temple.

· Puerto Rican middleweight prospect Bryan Polaco (6-0, 4 KOs) faces fellow unbeaten Richard Acevedo (6-0-1, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder.




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