Isaac Cruz faces Yuriorkis Gamboa in co-main event of Spence-Ugas undercard
Three matchups have been added to the Showtime PPV lineup headlined by IBF/WBC titlist Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and his WBA counterpart Yordenis Ugas, who will be squaring off in a welterweight title unification clash on Saturday, April 16 live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz taking on veteran former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in the 10-round co-main event.
The lineup also includes unbeaten Jose Valenzuela battling former world champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas in a 10-round lightweight fight, plus unbeaten Cody Crowley facing veteran contender Josesito Lopez in a 10-round duel of all-action welterweights that kicks off the telecast.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Man Down Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
The 23-year-old Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs), rated No. 6 by The Ring at 135 pounds, will return to action after dropping a competitive decision against three-division champion Gervonta Davis on back in December. A native of Mexico City, Cruz shot up the lightweight rankings in 2020, announcing his presence with an electrifying first-round knockout over veteran Diego Magdaleno in October. Cruz followed that up in 2021 by winning a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Matías Romero in March and by defeating former champion Francisco Vargas by decision in June. After making his U.S. debut in December 2019, Cruz went unbeaten in his next four bouts, appearing on Showtime three times in addition to beating Magdaleno on the Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz Showtime PPV undercard.
“I can’t wait to be back in the ring and to fight at AT&T Stadium,” said Cruz. “I love the fans in Texas, they always give me tremendous support. My promoter, Manny Pacquiao, has fought at AT&T Stadium before and won both times. I’m excited to follow in his footsteps against a very accomplished former champion in Gamboa. I’m coming to show the fans why I’m one of the best lightweights in the world and to drive Gamboa into retirement on April 16.”
Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) is a former unified featherweight champion, holding the IBF and WBA 126-pound titles between 2009 and 2011. A native of Guantanamo, Cuba, he now lives and trains in Miami, Fla. He dropped a showdown against Terence Crawford before rebounding to win seven of eight fights. That run included victories over former world champions Jason Sosa and Roman Martinez, putting Gamboa back into world title contention. In his last two fights, Gamboa has dropped contests against current lightweight world champions, losing via 12th-round TKO to Gervonta Davis in 2019 and by decision against Devin Haney in November 2020.
“I always come to the ring to display my talents and April 16 will be no different,” said Gamboa. “It’s very motivating to be facing a young, strong opponent like Isaac Cruz. I’m going to test him and see if he can stand up to my power. I’m coming to win and make a big statement that I still have what it takes to become champion again.”
The 22-year-old Valenzuela (11-0, 7 KOs) now trains as a stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez as he seeks to move from prospect to contender in 2022. Born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Valenzuela turned pro in 2018 and rode a five-bout knockout streak before earning his first 10-round decision in a victory over Deiner Berrio in September 2021. Valenzuela capped off his breakout 2021 in December, dominating Austin Dulay on his way to a TKO in round four.
“It’s a dream come true to be on a high-stakes, stacked card like this,” said Valenzuela. “I’ve admired and studied Spence for a long time, especially because we’re both lefties. I can’t wait to get in the ring. I’m not overlooking or underestimating Francisco Vargas in any way. I’m expecting fireworks. You always get a big fight when two Mexican warriors go head-to-head, so I know the fans are going to be delighted with what they see on April 16.”
Fighting out of Mexico City, Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KOs) won a 130-pound title in 2015 by defeating Takashi Miura in one of the year’s best fights. The 37-year-old would go on to fight Orlando Salido to an action-packed draw before losing his title to Miguel Berchelt in another memorable affair. Vargas later defeated Stephen Smith and Rod Salka before losing in his rematch with Berchelt in 2019. Most recently, Vargas began campaigning at lightweight, scoring back-to-back victories over Ezequiel Aviles in 2019 and Otto Gamez in 2020, prior to dropping a decision against Isaac Cruz in his last fight in June 2021.
“It is an honor to be on such a big card with so many great fighters,” said Vargas. “I’m going to come prepared for this fight and ready to leave the ring with a victory. I know Valenzuela will be trying to make a statement, but I’m coming to do the same. As always, the fans can expect a tremendous fight from start to finish.”
Representing his native Ontario, Canada, Crowley (20-0, 9 KOs) returns to the ring after a sensational debut in December 2021 that saw him beat the previously unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov by unanimous decision. Crowley had previously defeated Josh Torres in September 2020 following a 2019 run that saw him win a Canadian super welterweight title with a 12-round decision over Stuart McLellan in February before successfully defending that title with a dominant decision over Mian Hussain in October. The 28-year-old returned to fight in the U.S. for his last two fights after seven of his first eight pro fights took place in the U.S.
“After my win in December, I’m ready to accept the next challenge on my journey to becoming welterweight champion of the world,” said Crowley. “Josesito Lopez is always tough and he brings an exciting style to the table. Unfortunately for him, he will discover what 20 fighters before him have learned, which is that I will not be stopped from achieving my destiny. I want to thank my team for this opportunity to display my skills, heart and relentlessness on this great card at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.”
Lopez (38-8, 21 KOs) earned the nickname “The Riverside Rocky’’ because of his go-for-broke style in the ring. He has stepped in across from some of the top boxers in the sport, including champions Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana, Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz. The 37-year-old from Riverside, California is always a tough out in the ring as noted by his narrow majority decision loss to then-champion Keith Thurman in 2019. Since that loss, Lopez has put together back-to-back victories, defeating John Molina, Jr. and Francisco Santana.
“I’m eager and very motivated to step back in the ring and prove myself as one of the best fighters in the world,” said Lopez. “I expect a stiff challenge from Crowley and the fans can expect to see me at my very best. I’m in great shape and ready to put everything on the line. You will definitely want to make sure you don’t miss my fight on April 16.”
A press release by Showtime/PBC was used in this article