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Rene Tellez Giron-Luis Melendez set for January 29 in Tulsa


Rene Tellez Giron will face Luis Melendez of Puerto Rico on January 29, Top Rank announced Wednesday afternoon.

The 10-round bout will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma and will precede the main event bout between junior lightweight contenders Robson Conceicao and Xavier Martinez. Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. ET).

Giron versus Melendez is a crossroads bout between two once-beaten junior lightweights eager to make the transition to contender status.

Giron (16-1, 10 knockouts) is coming off a knockout win over Edgardo Garza on September 10. The Queretaro, Mexico native ended matters in the seventh round with a vicious left hook to the body.

The 22-year-old is best known for his knockout win over 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas in December 2019.

Giron, who is managed by Frank Espinoza, has won his last three bouts since suffering the only loss of his career at the hands of unbeaten Michel Rivera. He is confident that 2022 will bring greater opportunities once he secures a statement win.

“I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, that I am ready to fight any junior lightweight out there,” said Giron, who made his pro debut at the age of 16 in October 2015. “Melendez answered that call and we’re going to give the Tulsa fans a great fight. Whenever you have a Mexican versus a Puerto Rican, it can’t help but be toe-to-toe.”

Melendez (17-1, 13 KOs), who now resides in Miami, defeated Thomas Mattice by a close unanimous decision in his last bout on November 5. He has not lost since his third fight as a pro, a split-decision to Elliot De Jesus in September 2018.

“I jumped at this opportunity without hesitation,” said Melendez, who had fought his previous seven bouts in Colombia. “I’m thankful for this platform, and I will put the 130-pound division on notice. Giron is the man in my way. I am the next Puerto Rican star and I will prove it in Tulsa.”

Top Rank also announced that unbeaten middleweight Nico Ali Walsh (3-0, 3 KOs), the grandson of Muhammad Ali, and former heavyweight amateur standout and Tulsa resident Jeremiah Milton (3-0, 3 KOs) will fight on the card. Both of their bouts will stream live on ESPN+.


Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing



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