Top-rated super lightweight contender Rolando “Rolly” Romero will meet Ismael Barroso in a 12-round bout for the vacant WBA interim title on Saturday night. The bout will headline a PBC on Showtime card from the Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Romero was originally scheduled to challenge WBA titleholder Alberto Puello this weekend. However, Puello tested positive for clomiphene—a performance enhancing drug—and was forced to withdraw from the bout, which is when Barroso came in. The WBA has yet to strip Puello as an investigation into the findings unfold, which is why Rolly is fighting for an interim title instead of the vacant full title. If Puello’s test results are upheld, Rolly will most likely be promoted to full champion at some point.
Despite getting the title shot, Romero (14-1, 12 KO) is coming off the first defeat of his professional career: a sixth round TKO at the hands three-division titleholder Gervonta Davis last May. Before the loss to Davis though, Rolly had racked up some decent wins over top rated contenders Anthony Yigit, Avery Sparrow and Jackson Marinez.
Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KO), fighting out of Venezuela, is currently riding a four-fight win streak. His most recent outing was a fourth round knockout of Fernando David Saucedo back in August.
If Rolly gets the job done on Saturday, he could be an entertaining entry into a short list of titleholders at 140 pounds, which already features Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis and Subriel Matias. However, don’t be surprised if Romero’s first title defense is against Puello after he’s done serving whatever suspension or punishment he’s given.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Gervonta Davis - LOSS by TKO 6 - 28/05/2022
Anthony Yigit - WIN by TKO 7 - 17/07/2021
Avery Sparrow - WIN by TKO 7 - 23/01/2021
Jackson Marinez - WIN by UD (118-110, 116-112, 115-113) - 15/08/2020
Arturs Ahmetovs - WIN by TKO 2 - 22/02/2020
Fernando David Saucedo - WIN by KO 4 - 20/08/2022
Nestor Hugo Paniagua - WIN by KO 1 - 30/01/2021
Yves Ulysse Jr - WIN by UD (117-111, 115-113, 115-113) - 05/12/2019
Enrique Martin Escobar - WIN by KO 2 - 22/03/2019
Botirzhon Akhmedov - LOSS by KO 9 - 08/18/2018
Date: May 13th, 2023
Time: 2am (GMT), 6pm (PT), 9pm (ET)
Venue: Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, former two-division titleholder Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KO) will be taking on Omar Juarez (14-1, 5 KO) in a 10-rounder at super lightweight. Also featured is Bortirzhon Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KO) against Kenneth Sims Jr (19-2-1, 7 KO) in a WBA super lightweight title eliminator.