Two-division world champion and pound for pound superstar Vasyl "Hi-Tech" Lomachenko returns to a Los Angeles ring for the first time in over three years when he headlines an all-action card, Saturday, August 5, at Microsoft Theater, located at LA Live!
Lomachenko will be defending his WBO junior lightweight title against two-time world title challenger and Top-10 contender Miguel "Escorpión" Marriaga.
The co-main event will feature three-time world title challenger and top-rated lightweight contender Ray "Sugar" Beltran defending his NABF and NABO lightweight titles against former two-time interim WBA super featherweight world champion Bryan Vasquez. The four gladiators boast a combined professional record of 102-12-1 (67 KOs).
Both title fights will be televised live and exclusively at 10 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN app.
"Vasyl Lomachenko is the best fighter in boxing and Ray Beltran is the best story in boxing," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "Both are in tough against Miguel Marriaga and Bryan Vasquez, who also have lots of world championship fight experience It's going to be an exciting show for the fans at Microsoft Theater or watching on ESPN."
"I can't wait to get back in the ring on August 5th," said Lomachenko. "I respect all of my opponents who are willing to step in ring with me and I will be at my best to show the boxing fans what boxing is all about it."
"Thanks to our promoter Top Rank for bringing Vasily back to the ring so quickly after his great performance in April," said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko's manager. "There is not much to say when Lomachenko steps into the ring.
"The way Vasily boxes is not unlike a symphony orchestra where all instruments are played beautifully. He is the best and most entertaining boxer.. I am looking forward to seeing him fight again on August 5th"
"I have respect but no fear of Lomachenko and I cannot wait to fight for his world title," said Marriaga. "Fighting Lomachenko on ESPN opens the door for my present and for my future . I'm training very hard in Mexico City and I'll be ready on August 5. I'm going to give him a real fight."
"I'm excited to fight on ESPN because so many people will be able to see me. It reminds me of the old days when the best fights were on ESPN so it's cool that Top Rank and ESPN are doing these shows together," said Beltran.
"As for my fight I always respect my opponent, but I've knocked out the past five and they had my respect as well. I expect Vasquez to come to fight, but I have a bigger goal to be a world champion, so August 5th is part of that journey and I will not let Vasquez or anyone get in the way of my goal. I'm sure Vasquez and I will make it a great fight for the fans."
"Ray is as focused as ever on the big prize, a world title shot against Terry Flanagan, Mikey Garcia or Jorge Linares," said Steve Feder, Beltran's manager. "But Vasquez is a tough competitor and so we aren't thinking past this fight just yet. We know it could go the distance, winning is all that matters.
"Ray's on a mission, he's ranked No. 2 breathing down the necks of the champions and was just named NABF Fighter of the Year. He's feeling it. This is his turf and his ring and he's determined to protect it. We are filing for the green card as we speak. This is Ray's year in and out of the ring. Fighting on ESPN is a chance for Ray to get the exposure he's been waiting for."
"I think Ray Beltran is a great fighter, motivated and skilled. In one word to describe him in the ring, he's an animal," said Vasquez. This fight means a lot for me, fighting for my two idols Chiquita Gonzalez and Roy Jones Jr. who promotes me.
"Beltran is going to be the toughest fighter I have ever faced. The game plan to is be smarter than him. Speed? How can you use speed against a fighter who sparred with Pacquiao his entire career? We are going to have to be smarter since I am moving up to Beltran's weight class but I am confident I am the better fighter -- faster, smarter, more skilled."
"Ray Beltran is a very powerful fighter and I really do believe if Bryan outboxes him then Bryan will be victorious," said Roy Jones Jr., Vasquez's promoter and a former four-division world champion.
"Bryan needs to be smarter than Beltran and not let Beltran dictate how the fight goes. Boxing needs two warriors and Bryan and Beltran are exactly what people have been waiting for. Once victorious, this will re-introduce Bryan Vasquez to the champion circle."
Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs), of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine, who has won his last five fights by knockout, returns to a Los Angeles ring for the first time in over three years, making his second world title defense of 2017.
In Lomachenko's previous Los Angeles area fight, which took place on June 21, 2014, at StubHub Center, Lomachenko captured his first world title, the vacant WBO featherweight title, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten and future world champion Gary Russell Jr. It remains the only blemish on Russell's record.
It was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight. Lomachenko successfully defend that title three times during his reign before vacating it to challenge three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez on June 11, 2016.
The Martinez victory, via a cringe-worthy one-punch knockout in the fifth round, not only made Lomachenko a two-division world champion, but he once again he broke a record doing it, winning world title No. 2 in a record least amount of fights, seven.
He followed that with his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title, on Nov. 26, totally dominating Nicholas Walters, the previously undefeated former WBA featherweight champion who quit on his stool after the seventh round.
Not only was it a total domination but a boxing masterpiece painted on the canvas by Lomachenko. It concluded a year that had many media outlets declaring Lomachenko the "Fighter of the Year."
In his most recent fight, on April 8, Lomachenko stopped former WBA super featherweight champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa in the ninth round. It was the second most viewed fight on premium cable for 2017.
The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively. He retired from the amateurs with a 396-1 record.
Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs), from Arjona, Colombia, enters this fight having won 15 of his previous 20 fights by way of knockout. The only blemishes on his record, 12-round unanimous decision world title losses to WBO featherweight champion Óscar Valdez, in a ferocious battle on April 22, and former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas "Axe Man" Walters in 2015.
Between those two world championship battles, Marriaga fashioned a five-bout winning streak, which included NABO featherweight title knockout victories against Guy Robb and Eduardo Montoya in 2016 to become the WBO's No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger to Valdez. In his challenge of world champion Valdez, Marriaga went toe-to-toe throughout the fight in a ring war fight fans are still talking about nearly three months later.
Beltran (33-7-1, 21 KOs), a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico who resides in Phoenix, AZ., was recently named the NABF Fighter of the Year. He enters this fight having won his last four fights by knockout.
A two-time lightweight world title challenger and a former sparring partner of former eight-division world champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, Beltran still trains at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. with Pepe Reilly.
In his most recent bout, in the co-main event to the Terence Crawford vs. Félix Díaz world title fight on May 20, Beltran scored a sensational one-punch second-round knockout of Top-10 contender Jonathan Maicelo in a world lightweight title elimination bout that also had him retaining his NABF and NABO lightweight titles as well as claiming the vacant WBA International championship belt.
It was also a fight that captured the nation's attention because not only was Beltran fighting for another world title shot but also a new life for himself and his family. Winning his fight against Maicelo may prove to be the deciding factor in getting a green card via the "extraordinary athlete" status needed to qualify for the EB-1 green card typically available to certain sportspeople, entertainers, and masters of the arts and sciences.
Recently, he has been in the U.S. under an athletic visa, but risked deportation when that document expired. It was story told by USA Today and followed by NBC News before the fight on "Today" and after on the "NBC Nightly News." Beltran is currently world-rated No. 2 by the WBO, the WBC and the IBF.
Vasquez (36-2, 19 KOs), from San Jose, Costa Rica, is a former two-time WBA interim super featherweight champion. His professional resume features victories over Santos Benavides, Jorge Lacierva, René González, Jose Felix, Jr. and Sergio Thompson.
He won the WBA interim super featherweight title in 2011, winning a dominant unanimous decision over Benavides. He successfully defended the title the following year via a ninth-round TKO over Lacierva. Later that same year, he unsuccessfully challenged defending WBA super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama losing by an eighth-round TKO.
Vasquez recaptured the WBA interim super featherweight title the following year winning a five-round technical decision over González. Vasquez successfully defended the title once in 2014, during his one-year reign, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over then-undefeated contender Felix.
In 2015 he once again challenged for a world title, losing a unanimous decision to undefeated Javier Fortuna. for the vacant WBA super featherweight title. He successfully made his debut as a lightweight last summer, scoring a second-round TKO of Thompson. He is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBA.
Tickets to the Lomachenko vs. Marriaga / Beltran vs. Vasquez championship event will go on sale today, Thursday, July 13, at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT. Priced at $130, $105, $80, $55 and $30, tickets may be purchased at microsofttheater.com, AXS.com, by phone at 888-929-7849 or at the Staples Center Box Office.