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PREVIEW: Luis Alberto Lopez vs Joet Gonzalez

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

IBF featherweight titleholder Luis Alberto Lopez will be attempting to make the second defense of his belt Friday night, when he meets former title challenger Joet Gonzalez at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The bout will headline a Top Rank Boxing card on ESPN/ESPN+.

After upsetting two hot prospects (Andy Vences and Gabriel Flores Jr.) in 2019 and 2021, Lopez (28-2, 16 KO) was still counted out ahead of his 2021 bout with Josh Warrington for the IBF featherweight title, coming in as a heavy underdog. But again, Lopez defied expectations and managed to outpoint Warrington in his home territory of Leeds, earning a majority decision. On Friday, Lopez will be fighting stateside for the first time in two fights—his last outing was a trip to Belfast and a fifth round TKO of Michael Conlan.

While Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KO) has faced an abundance of elite talent at featherweight and has loads of experience at this point, a signature win and a world title have always eluded him. Coming into this one, Gonzalez has won three of his last five, with his appearance being a 10-round unanimous decision over Enrique Vivas in April.

Lopez is looking to be a heavy betting favorite over Gonzalez this week, and is expected to move on to more lucrative opportunities should he get the job done. Currently, the 126-pound title picture is jam-packed with elite talent. Possible unification matchups could include Rey Vargas (WBC), Robeisy Ramirez (WBO) and Leigh Wood (WBA).

Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):

Luis Alberto Lopez

Michael Conlan - WIN by TKO 5 - 27/05/2023

Josh Warrington - WIN by MD (115-113, 115-113, 114-114) - 10/12/2022

Yeison Vargas - WIN by KO 2 - 20/08/2022

Raul Chirino - WIN by KO 4 - 09/04/2022

Isaac Lowe - WIN by KO 7 - 03/12/2021

Joet Gonzalez

Enrique Vivas - WIN by UD (99-91, 98-92, 98-92) - 01/04/2023

Isaac Dogboe - LOSS by SD (96-94, 96-94, 94-96) - 23/07/2022

Jeo Santisima - WIN by TKO 9 - 04/03/2022

Emanuel Navarrete - LOSS by UD (118-110, 116-112, 116-112) - 15/10/2021

Miguel Marriaga - WIN by UD (99-91, 99-91, 97-93) - 12/09/2020

Event Information:

Date: September 15th, 2023

Time: 3:00 am (GMT), 7:00 pm (PT), 10:00 pm (ET)

Venue: American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

Channel: ESPN/ESPN+

Elsewhere on the card

The co-main event will feature Puerto Rican junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas (16-0, 10 KO) against Robert Valenzuela Jr. (21-4, 20 KO) in a 10-rounder. Also on the card is Emiliano Fernando Vargas (6-0, 5 KO)—son of the renown former junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas—facing off against Alejandro Guardado (5-0, 1 KO) in a six-round attraction.

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