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February 20: Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Jayson Velez

Tabbed as Miguel Berchelt-Oscar Valdez Co-Feature

LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10pm ET / 7pm PT!

(January 14th) Undefeated super featherweight standout Gabriel Flores Jr. will fight former world title challenger Jayson Velez in a 10-round tilt Saturday, Feb. 20, as the co-feature to the highly anticipated all-Mexican showdown between WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel Berchelt and former featherweight kingpin Oscar Valdez.

 

Velez replaces former world champion Andrew Cancio, who suffered a back injury.

 

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Berchelt-Valdez and Flores-Velez will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

 

Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs), from Juncos, Puerto Rico, makes a quick comeback to the ESPN airwaves following his spirited effort against Valdez last July. He lost via 10th-round TKO after suffering a pair of knockdowns in that round. A 14-year pro, Velez has victories over former two-weight world champion Juan Manuel Lopez, former WBC super bantamweight world champion Victor Terrazas and then-unbeaten prospect Alberto Mercado.

 

About Top Rank

Innovation has been the standard at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company, Top Rank has shaped, developed, and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

 

Top Rank has promoted some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s history, including 26 Ali events, Leonard vs. Hearns, Pryor vs. Arguello, Duran vs. Leonard, Hagler vs. Hearns, Leonard vs. Hagler, Foreman vs. Holyfield, Morales vs. Barrera, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, and the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights.

 

Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors, and television networks, Top Rank has been an architect of boxing’s global growth by staging high-profile events in landmark settings around the world, including Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Staples Center, Wembley Arena, Araneta Coliseum, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, The “Fabulous” Forum, and AT&T Stadium. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans and embracing 21st century technological advancements to distribute world-class fights and shoulder programming across a variety of platforms.

 

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

 

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights and events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

 

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com.

Mexican Warriors Collide: Miguel Berchelt To Defend

Super Featherweight World Title Against Oscar Valdez

Feb 20 LIVE on ESPN Gabriel Flores Jr. vs Andrew Cancio Super Featherweight Battle Tabbed As Co-Feature

ESPN & ESPN Deportes to Broadcast Doubleheader!

(January 6th) The 2021 Fight of the Year race has officially started, as Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez will face off in one of the most anticipated all-Mexican fistic showdowns in years.

 

Cancun’s Berchelt will defend his WBC super featherweight world title against Nogales native Valdez in a special Top Rank on ESPN telecast Saturday, Feb. 20.

 

The 10-round super featherweight co-feature will see rising 20-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. against former world champion Andrew “El Chango” Cancio.

 

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Berchelt-Valdez and Flores-Cancio will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

 

Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez are two proud Mexican warriors who will give boxing fans a memorable fight,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Top Rank promoted all three bouts between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, and I view Berchelt-Valdez as this generation’s Barrera-Morales."

 

Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) has held the WBC super featherweight title since January 2017, when he knocked out Francisco Vargas in the 11th round. His last five title defenses have ended via the quick route, including a ninth-round TKO over Miguel Roman, a sixth-round TKO over Vargas in their May 2019 rematch, and a fourth-round knockout over former world champion Jason Sosa. He fought last June in a non-title bout and knocked out Eleazar Valenzuela in six one-sided rounds.

 

“This fight is the one that I dreamed of since we were both amateur fighters,” Berchelt said. “Valdez is a great fighter, and it will be a great fight. I am preparing with everything to win by knockout and leave no doubt that I am the best super featherweight in the world."

 

Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) is a two-time Mexican Olympian who vacated the WBO featherweight world title last year after six title defenses, which included scintillating 12-round barnburners against the likes of Scott Quigg, Genesis Servania and Miguel Marriaga. He suffered a severely broken jaw against Quigg in March 2018, returned 11 months later, and has since won four consecutive bouts. Since moving up to 130 pounds, Valdez has scored stoppage wins over Adam Lopez and Jayson Velez.

 

Valdez said, "Whenever there are two Mexicans in the ring, it is a guaranteed war, and it will be an honor for me to bring a great war to my fans."

 

Flores (19-0, 6 KOs), from Stockton, Calif., signed a professional contract with Top Rank at 16 years old and went 3-0 in 2020 as he graduated from prospect to contender. He started the year Feb. 22 on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II undercard and dominated Matt Conway over eight rounds. Flores shined on a pair of occasions inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, winning decisions over Josec Ruiz and Ryan Kielczweski. Flores now steps up against Cancio (21-5-2, 16 KOs), a fellow Californian who formerly held the WBA super featherweight world title. Cancio knocked out Alberto Machado in February 2019 to win the title and repeated the deed with another knockout over Machado that June. Rene Alvarado ended Cancio’s ascension with a seventh-round knockout in November 2019, and early last year, Cancio inked a promotional contract with Top Rank.

 

"My main goal is to win a world title,” Flores said. “Dominating a former world champion will put me in a great position to challenge for a title soon.”

 

Cancio said, “I’m very excited to return to battle on February 20 against Gabriel Flores Jr. I’m working hard in the gym, and I know that this fight is the first on my path to becoming a two-time world champion. I would like to thank my fans, who have been so incredibly supportive. I’ve heard you loud and clear and can’t wait to put on another great show for you.”

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