January 29: Rene Tellez Giron vs Luis Melendez
& Nico Ali Walsh Added to Conceicao-Martinez Card!
(January 5th) Mexican action star Rene “El Bravo” Tellez Giron will meet Puerto Rican upstart Luis Melendez in a 10-round junior lightweight showdown Saturday, Jan. 29 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Giron-Melendez will serve as the co-feature to the 10-round WBC junior lightweight title eliminator between former title challenger Robson Conceição and undefeated contender Xavier Martinez. Both bouts will air live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard will include the return of undefeated middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (3-0, 2 KOs), grandson of Muhammad Ali, in a four-round bout. Ali Walsh made his professional debut last August with a first-round stoppage at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Tulsa-born heavyweight prospect Jeremiah Milton (3-0, 3 KOs) will see action on the undercard in a six-rounder.
Giron (16-1, 10 KOs), a 22-year-old rising star from Queretaro, Mexico, emerged from relative obscurity with his December 2019 knockout victory over then-unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas. He has won two fights since the Balderas triumph, including a seventh-round knockout over Eduardo Garza last September on the Oscar Valdez-Conceição undercard in Tucson, Arizona.
Melendez (17-1, 13 KOs), winner of 15 straight fights since a controversial split decision loss, had a busy 2021. He picked up seven victories in three months in Colombia, then returned to the States with a flourish. Melendez won an eight-round decision over Thomas Mattice at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas last November, a career-best victory that earned him the co-feature slot against Giron.
“I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, that I am ready to fight any junior lightweight out there,” Giron said. “Melendez answered the call, and we’re going to give the Tulsa fans a great fight. Whenever you have a Mexican versus a Puerto Rican, it can’t help but be toe-to-toe.”
Melendez said, “I jumped at this opportunity without hesitation. I’m thankful for this platform, and I will put the 130-pound division on notice. Giron is the man in my way. I am the next Puerto Rican star, and I will prove it in Tulsa."
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Tony Holden Productions, tickets starting at $49.50 are on sale now and can be purchased at tickets.hardrockcasinotulsa.com and at the Box Office at 918-384-ROCK (7625).
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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.
January 29: Robson Conceicão-Xavier Martinez
130-Pound Title Eliminator Takes Main Event Stage
At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa LIVE On ESPN!
(December 21st) The 2022 junior lightweight world title picture will get a bit clearer Saturday, Jan. 29 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The 10-round main event — a WBC title eliminator — will see recent title challenger Robson "O Brabo" Conceição attempt to turn back hard-charging Sacramento native Xavier Martinez at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Martinez recently signed a multi-fight pact with Top Rank and will look to shine in his promotional debut. Conceição-Martinez and a co-feature will air live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+.
“This has all the makings of a special, action-packed main event,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Conceição nearly defeated the great Oscar Valdez for the title, while Martinez is a young kid hoping to make a name in the 130-pound division.”
Conceição (16-1, 8 KOs), from Bahia, Brazil, captured a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, capping a 400-plus fight amateur career that included wins over the likes of Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez and a razor-thin defeat to Vasiliy Lomachenko at the 2011 World Championships. After nearly five years as an unbeaten pro, Conceição challenged WBC world champion Valdez in September. Conceição built an early lead, but Valdez rallied late to shade the unanimous decision.
Conceição said, “Nothing can stop me. Nothing can make me lose focus. I remain firm towards my goal of becoming a world champion. My last fight was just a minor setback. I'm going to make sure that all my hard work and sacrifices will not be in vain.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to be the main event and to face an undefeated fighter like Xavier Martinez. I'm sure we will give the fans a great show."
Martinez (17-0, 11 KOs) began boxing at the age of 6 in Sacramento and compiled an 85-10 amateur record before turning pro in June 2015. He stepped up in 2019 with knockout wins over Jessie Cris Rosales and John Vincent Moralde and survived a gut check versus former interim world champion Claudio Marrero the following year. Martinez was knocked down twice in the eighth round, but outboxed Marrero in the championship rounds to earn a unanimous decision. He last fought in May and dominated veteran Juan Carlos Burgos over 10 rounds.
Martinez said, "It was a dream to get a multi-year promotional deal with Top Rank and a shot to be the main event on ESPN. This is my chance to show the world I'm one of the best in the 130-pound division and work towards my goal of becoming a world champion under the Top Rank banner.”
"Xavier is positioned to write his destiny, and the stage is set,” said Rick Mirigian, Martinez’s manager. “He can bring back the sport to Sacramento in a big way and fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion. Thank you to Top Rank for getting this done and believing in Xavier.”