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Jose Zepeda will face Kendo Castaneda on July 7, Takam replaces Big Baby Miller

Photo: Twitter @ZanferBox
Fighters Network

Junior welterweight contender and former world title challenger Jose Zepeda will face Kendo Castaneda on July 7, Top Rank announced Wednesday afternoon.

Top Rank also announced the return of former world heavyweight title challenger Carlos Takam, squaring off against Jerry Forrest two days later, on July 9.

Both 10-round bouts will take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).

Zepeda (31-2, 25 knockouts), who resides in Mexicali, Mexico, was originally scheduled to face Ivan Baranchyk in what could have been a stellar clash between boxer-punchers. Baranchyk suffered an undisclosed injury last week that forced him to withdraw from the fight. Marcelino Lopez of Argentina, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, had reportedly accepted the fight, but backed out at the last minute. 

In his last bout on September 14, Zepeda defeated former world titleholder Jose Pedraza by unanimous decision. The 31-year-old challenged WBC titleholder Jose Ramirez on February 10 of last year, losing a close unanimous decision.

Zepeda is currently ranked No. 7 by The Ring.

Castaneda (17-1, 8 KOs), who resides in San Antonio, Texas, last fought on February 28, losing by majority decision to unbeaten Yomar Alamo of Puerto Rico.

In the co-feature, fringe junior lightweight contender Andy Vences (23-1-1, 12 KOs) of San Jose will face Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez (20-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

Lightweight and North Las Vegas resident Andres Cortes (12-0, 7 KOs) will return from a yearlong layoff when he squares off against Alejandro Salinas (10-3, 9 KOs) of Youngstown, Ohio in a six-round bout. 

Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs), who is originally from Cameroon and now resides in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, will be making his Top Rank debut on July 9. He is also co-promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. 

Forrest was originally scheduled to face unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, but the fight was cancelled after Miller reportedly failed a drug test for a banned substance last week. The 39-year-old accepted the Forrest fight last week within 24 hours.

In his last bout on February 28, Takam defeated Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado by decision over 10 one-sided rounds. He has won his last three bouts since his knockout loss to Dereck Chisora in July 2018. 

The 39-year-old challenged unified world heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua in October 2017, losing by knockout in round 10.

Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs), who resides in Newport News, Virginia, knocked out Martez Williamson in round 2 of his last bout on September 14. The fight came two months after Forrest lost a close split-decision to unbeaten Jermaine Franklin.

In the co-feature, unbeaten junior featherweight Carlos Castro will square off against former world title challenger Cesar Juarez of Mexico City. 

Castro (25-0, 10 KOs) defeated former world title challenger Jesus Ruiz by majority decision on February 21 in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. In his most impressive win to date, Castro defeated former world tile challenger Genesis Servania of the Philippines by unanimous decision on February 10 of last year.

Juarez (25-8, 19 KOs) was dropped three times before losing by knockout to unbeaten Angelo Leo on December 29. Juarez has split his last four bouts.

Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs), who last fought on June 9 on a Top Rank card in Las Vegas, will face an opponent to be determined in a six-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing