Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Kerman Lejarraga returns against Luis Solis, promoter Lou DiBella ‘eager to see how he bounces back’

Kerman Lejarraga

Welterweight contender Kerman Lejarraga may have suffered his first defeat as a pro in his last bout, but his plans for winning a world title belt have not changed.

Lejarraga (27-1, 22 knockouts) returns to action Saturday night when he squares off against Mexico’s Luis Solis at the Bilbao Arena in his hometown of Bilbao, Spain.

The 27-year-old is returning to the same venue where he was stopped by former welterweight contender David Avanesyan on Mar. 30. After weathering an early barrage, Avanesyan swung momentum in his favor and stopped Lejarraga in Round 9.

At the time of the stoppage, Lejarraga was winning on all three official scorecards (76-75, 76-75, and 77-74).

A victory over Avanesyan would have strengthened Lejarraga’s credentials in the welterweight division, but the loss dropped him out of the Top 10 with three of the major sanctioning bodies. Lejarraga was previously ranked as high as No. 5 by the IBF.

Co-promoter Lou DiBella is glad Lejarraga has decided to return immediately and believes he still has a future at 147 pounds.

“(The loss to Avanesyan) was a surprising setback, but I think it’s encouraging that Kerman is remaining active and looking to regain forward momentum,” DiBella told The Ring on Thursday. “I’m eager to see how he bounces back.”

Lejarraga is also promoted by MGZ Promotions, which is based in Spain and will promote Saturday’s card.

Solis (25-9-4, 21 KOs), who resides in Progreso, Mexico, knocked out overmatched Roberto Dominguez in his last bout on Feb. 16. The fight came almost six months after he lost by knockout to the unbeaten Arnold Barboza.

Another fighter from Bilbao will also fight on Saturday’s card. Fringe featherweight contender Andoni Gago (21-3-3, 6 KOs) will face Madrid’s Jesus Sanchez (10-1, 3 KOs) in a 12-round bout. The 34-year-old Gago is unbeaten in his last six bouts since a knockout loss to Lee Selby in March 2017.

Featherweight contender Oleg Malynovski (23-0, 7 KOs) who is ranked No. 3 by the WBO, will square off against veteran Alex Mora (10-11-6, 4 KOs) in an eight-round bout.


Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing



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