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Gabriel Flores (19-0) to face Jayson Velez (29-7-1) on Feb. 20

Fighters Network

Unbeaten Gabriel Flores will now face Jayson Velez on February 20, Top Rank announced Thursday afternoon.

The 10-round junior lightweight bout will take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas and will precede the main event bout between WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt and mandatory challenger Oscar Valdez.

Both fights will air live on ESPN (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

Flores (19-0, 6 knockouts; pictured above, in photo above by Mikey Williams) was originally scheduled to fight contender Andrew Cancio, a fight that was officially announced last week, but Cancio had to pull out of the fight due to a reported back injury.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Flores fought three times in 2020. In his last bout on October 3, the 20-year-old, who is originally from Stockton, California and now lives and trains in Las Vegas, defeated former fringe contender Ryan Kielczweski by unanimous decision.

In his previous fight on June 18, Flores dropped Josec Ruiz of Honduras once enroute to a one-sided decision victory.

Flores, who signed a promotional deal with Top Rank at the age of 16, is trained by his father Gabriel Flores, Sr.

On paper, Velez (29-7-1, 21 KOs) will be a step-up in opposition for Flores. The former featherweight prospect has fought several top fighters at 126 and 130 pounds, including Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz, Rene Alvarado, Ryan Garcia, and Ronny Rios.

In his last bout on July 21, Velez, who resides in Juncos, Puerto Rico, was dropped three times by Valdez en route a knockout loss in round 10.

In his previous fight on February 8, the 32-year-old lost by split-decision to Jaime Arboleda of Panama, a fight many at boxing insiders thought Velez did enough to win.

Velez has split his last six fights.

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