Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Jose Zepeda v Josue Vargas booked for Oct. 30


Junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda, who is ranked No. 3 by The Ring, will face Josue Vargas on October 30, Top Rank announced Tuesday afternoon.

The 10-round bout will take place at The Hulu Theatre inside Madison Square Garden in New York City and will stream live on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT). The fight will take place after the bantamweight bout between Carlos Caraballo and Jonas Sultan.

Zepeda-Vargas is another chapter in the illustrious and competitive rivalry between fighters from Mexico and Puerto Rico. The fight is also a crossroads clash, one that is a very dangerous fight for Zepeda, who is on the cusp of again fighting for a world title belt.

Zepeda (34-2 1 NC, 26 knockouts), who was originally from the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente and now resides in Mexicali, Mexico, defeated Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy by unanimous decision in his last bout on May 22.

Zepeda incurs extra risk because he’s so close to a proper title shot.

The fight took place over seven months after the all-out rumble against Ivan Baranchyk that saw a total of eight knockdowns. After dropping Baranchyk four times, Zepeda would eventually get the knockout victory in round 5.

The 32-year-old has won his last four bouts since fighting to a No-Contest against journeyman Eleazar Valenzuela in May 2019. Three months prior to the Valenzuela fight, Zepeda lost a close majority decision to then-WBC world titleholder Jose Ramirez.

Vargas (below) will be taking a significant step-up in opposition against Zepeda, but he has won his last 13 bouts since a disqualification loss to Samuel Santana in October 2016.

In his last bout on April 24, Vargas (19-1, 9 KOs), who is originally from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and now resides in the Bronx, New York, defeated Willie Shaw by unanimous decision. His last five victories have come by decision.

Caraballo (14-0, 14 KOs), who resides in Ponce, Puerto Rico, stopped Mexico’s Leonardo Baez in round 4 of his last bout on March 25.

Sultan (17-5, 11 KOs) has won his last two bouts since losing to Athenkosi Dumezweni by unanimous decision in April 2019. He challenged IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas in May 2018, losing by unanimous decision.

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