William Zepeda: ‘I’ve earned the title of being called a contender’
William Zepeda is hoping to be included among the best fighters at 135 pounds by the end of 2022. At the rate he is going, that might be a sure thing.
The unbeaten Zepeda will face Luis Viedas Saturday night at Plaza Monumental, in Tijuana, Mexico. The 10-round bout will precede the main event bout between middleweight contender Jaime Munguia and unbeaten D’Mitrius Ballard.
Both fights will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, both Zepeda and Viedas tipped the scales at 134.5 pounds.
Zepeda (24-0, 22 knockouts), who resides in San Mateo Atenco, Mexico, is coming off a fourth round knockout win over John Moralde, of the Philippines, on November 13. The victory over Moralde came over four months after Zepeda dominated Hector Tanajara Jr. in a clash of unbeaten fighters, eventually forcing Tanajara to remain on his stool after Round 6.
The 25-year-old southpaw has stopped his last 14 opponents. It might be 15 after tomorrow night as Zepeda faces a gatekeeper in Viedas (29-11-1, 10 KOs), who resides in Tijuana and has won three of his last five bouts.
Zepeda hopes Viedas brings the best out of him and is eager to build off the wins over Tanajara and Moralde.
“I’ve always prepared myself to be at 100 percent, whether it’s to win by decision or knockout,” Zepeda told The Ring Tuesday night. “I hope my opponent has prepared the same way, so we can give the fans a good show. I’ve seen videos of my opponent. I’ve seen his fights, so I know how to prepare myself for Saturday. I know I have to pressure, be the aggressor and utilize movement to be at my best.
“I had a lot of perspectives from [the Tanajara] fight. We had several plans. We knew Hector was a great fighter. The goal was to be the aggressor and throw combinations. I thought he was going to move more [around the ring] and box but he was not able to withstand the pressure we put on him. I thought he was going to fight more rounds. Our preparation was excellent as always. My team did an excellent job preparing for the fight. We had Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. Fortunately our plan worked from the beginning. The result of the fight left a good taste in my mouth because I defeated someone like Hector Tanajara. The expectation was to show what kind of fighter I was made out of. A lot of people realized what I was capable of and who I really am.”
Zepeda’s recent performances and aggressive style have drawn more fans on both sides of the border. Both of Zepeda’s most recent fights took place on Golden Boy Promotions cards in front of thousands in attendance and were streamed live on DAZN.
The impressive wins have left an impression on fans, who want to see more of Zepeda. As the level of opposition becomes more difficult, Zepeda believes he is up to the challenge and is still willing to entertain and give fans their money’s worth.
“The fight I had against John Moralde was a good result,” said Zepeda, who is promoted by Golden Boy and managed by Jaime Picos. “I also prepared well for that fight. It was a great show where the fans left satisfied.
“I think fans really like my style in the ring. I think it’s a style that draws attention. That and the charisma has what has drawn Mexicans and Mexican-Americans on this side of the border. The fans in attendance have definitely motivated me to give more effort in the ring, especially in the United States. So we will continue working and training hard to gain more fans and win convincingly.”
Zepeda is on the cusp of becoming a legitimate player in a very stacked lightweight division which boasts top fighters like The Ring Magazine champion George Kambosos Jr., Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia, just to name a few.
Assuming he gets by Viedas Saturday night, he hopes he can begin facing the upper echelon of the division. Zepeda believes he is already a serious contender and wants to maximize any and all opportunities presented to him.
“This year, I would like to face the more recognized fighters in the division,” said Zepeda. “There are a lot of great fighters. I know I have the qualities and skills to come on top in any fight. I know that the lightweight division is very tough but I feel I have the tools to win against any fighter. I would like to come out victorious [Saturday night], have one more fight, then face any of the top fighters in the division towards the end of this year. There are many great fighters and I would like to measure myself against them. It all depends on who Golden Boy wants to put in front of me.
“I think I’ve already passed the prospect stage of my career. We’ve demonstrated my qualities and faced different types of fighters. I think I’ve earned the title of being called a contender. [Editor’s note: Zepeda is currently ranked No. 7 by the WBA.] After this fight, I think that will be much clearer. The victory over Tanajara showed what type of fighter we are. We looked strong. We looked good in that fight. We transitioned to the next level from prospect and we will continue living up to being a quality contender in the lightweight division.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the progression of many fighters like Zepeda, he is glad to be back in action and hopes to continue toward his goal of facing the best at 135 pounds.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to continue being an active fighter. Because of the pandemic, I fought very little or I was not as active. We will leave that up to Golden Boy and see what fight cards they want us to fight on. Fighting three or four times this year would be great.
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 @FSalazarBoxing.
You may have missed:
UNBEATEN LIGHTWEIGHT WILLIAM ZEPEDA TO FACE LUIS VIEDAS ON MUNGUIA-BALLARD UNDERCARD
WILLIAM ZEPEDA OVERWHELMS HECTOR TANAJARA TO SIXTH-ROUND STOPPAGE
GET THE LATEST ISSUE AT
THE RING SHOP (CLICK HERE)
GET THE LATEST ISSUE AT THE RING SHOP (CLICK HERE)