Robert Guerrero ‘hungry,’ Devon Alexander ‘ready for another title run’


Former titleholder Robert Guerrero declared himself "hungry" in advance of his welterweight return against Yoshihiro Kamegai; division counterpart Devon Alexander is "ready for another run at the title" and featherweights Gary Russell and Vasyl Lomachenko are fired up for their clash for the vacant WBO belt in a tripleheader slated for June 21 on Showtime at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

"The fans in Carson always demand the best fights possible and we've got two more for them on June 21. It's great to have Robert Guerrero back in the ring where he belongs and his fight with Kamegai is going to be action-packed from start to finish," said Oscar De la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, in a release on Wednesday.

"Also, Russell vs. Lomachenko is a fight fans have been asking for and looking forward to seeing for quite some time. Given what these two young men can do in the ring, it may not be the last time we see them fighting each other. Add in Alexander vs. [Jesus] Soto Karass and this is another great card that I can't wait to see."

Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 knockouts) signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon in March, this after having earned a career-high $3 million for his loss to Floyd Mayweather in May 2013. The loss to Mayweather ended Guerrero's seven-and-a-half-year undefeated streak. Guerrero had won 15 consecutive fights, having previously lost by a split decision to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005 only to win their rematch with a sixth-round knockout the following June.

"I'm excited to be making my ring return on June 21, especially for my fans in California," said Guerrero, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder who entered the bout with Mayweather following consecutive unanimous decision victories over Selcuk Aydin in his 147-pound debut and former titleholder Andre Berto in July and November 2012, respectively.

"Although I've been out for a while – make no mistake about it – I'm in great shape. I'm hungry and I'm looking forward to the challenge Kamegai presents. I am just happy to be fighting again while bringing excitement to the hottest division in boxing, the welterweight division. I have no doubt that I will be victorious in my return."

Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 KOs) will be after his third straight stoppage victory since falling by unanimous decision to Johan Perez last June and was last in action for April's fourth-round knockout of Jung-Hoon Yang.

"It's good to fight in the United States again at StubHub Center, especially after I was treated so well by the fans there the first time," said Kamegai, 31. "This time though, I'm going to get the win. While Robert Guerrero is a great fighter, I will be better than him on June 21."

A 2008 U.S. Olympian, Russell is 24-0 with 14 knockouts, having been declared by WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel in October to be the WBO’s mandatory challenger to face then-beltholder Orlando Salido. The ruling did not preclude Salido from making a voluntary defense against Lomachenko, which he did on March 1. Lomachenko fell by split decision but Salido lost his belt at the scales after failing to make the 126-pound weight limit.

As a result, the title became vacant.

"This is the moment I've been waiting for and now it is time to show the world my boxing skills and talent," said Russell, 25. "Lomachenko's reputation speaks for itself. I respect him as a fighter but he doesn't know what he is about to face fighting me. He's going to find out that I'm on a whole different level and come June 21, that belt is going to be mine to take home."

Lomachenko, 26, had he had wanted to make history by becoming a titleholder in what was being billed as his second professional fight. According to Fight Fax Inc., Lomachenko is actually 7-1 because he was paid to take part in six World Series of Boxing contests.

"I know how good Gary Russell is and it's going to be a good fight for the fans on June 21," said Lomachenko. "I learned a lot from my fight with Orlando Salido and I will be the best I can against Russell. I want that world title and I plan on taking it."

Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs) is returning to action for the first time since December, when he was dethroned as IBF beltholder by Shawn Porter in a unanimous decision. Prior to facing Porter, Alexander had scored a seventh-round stoppage of Lee Purdy in May, representing Alexanders' fourth straight victory since falling to former WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley by 10th-round technical decision in January 2011.

"I had a nice break after my last fight," said Alexander, 25, whose run had included a split-decision over Lucas Matthysse, currently THE RING’s number one-rated 140-pounder, and a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana.

"It allowed me to regroup, recharge my batteries and get ready for another run at the title. Soto Karass is a tough guy. There's no denying that but tough won't be enough when we fight. I'm a man on a mission now and he's in the way."

Alexander dethroned hard-hitting Randall Bailey for the IBF belt in October 2012 before facing Purdy, has stopped former titleholders Juan Urango and Junior Witter and decisioned DeMarcus Corley and Andriy Kotelnik.

"Devon Alexander is fast and slick and you have to respect his skills," said Soto Karass, 31. "But if he doesn't respect mine, he's going to get knocked out. And even if he does respect me, I'm going to beat him on June 21 and get back in line for a title fight."

Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs) has fought as high as junior middleweight for a fifth-round knockout loss to middleweight title challenger Gabriel Rosado in January 2012 and is 4-2 with two knockouts over the course of his past six fights.