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To face Terence Crawford, Alexis Rocha must get past Anthony Young on May 27

Alexis Rocha (right) walked down the tough and game George Ashie. Photo credit: Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

It wasn’t the challenge to Terence Crawford that he wanted but welterweight contender Alexis Rocha has a fight date and an opponent.

Rocha will face Anthony Young, on Saturday, May 27, Golden Boy Promotions announced Thursday afternoon. The 12-round bout will take place at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, in Indio, California, and will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).

The Rocha-Young fight was originally scheduled to take place on January 28 at the YouTube Theatre, in Inglewood, but Young had to withdraw from the fight days before due to a nasal injury. Rocha would face late-sub George Ashie, of Ghana, scoring a vicious one-punch knockout win during an action fight.

“As he showed last time out, Rocha is an absolute beast who is more than deserving of a title shot in the welterweight division,” said Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “But Anthony Young is the real deal. who has knocked off a Golden Boy fighter in the past. Rocha needs to use his power to get rid of Young early and move on to the next step of his career.”

Rocha (22-1, 14 knockouts), who grew up in Santa Ana, holds a knockout win over Blair Cobbs on March 19 of last year. Three months prior to his win over Ashie, Rocha defeated Jesus Perez Campos by unanimous decision.

The 25-year-old was thought to be an opponent for WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford, who has been in preliminary talks with Golden Boy about a promotional deal. Rocha is the mandatory challenger to the WBO title.

Word is a deal could be in place for Crawford to face unified titleholder Errol Spence Jr. later this summer. Rocha and his team have decided to move on, finalizing the Young fight with the hopes that a convincing win would put Rocha in against the winner of the Spence-Crawford fight, should it happen, or against any of the upper echelon fighters in the division.

“I’m back in the ring on May 27 and I’m looking forward to staying busy,” said Rocha, who is the younger brother of former junior featherweight title challenger Ronny Rios. “I can’t wait to put on another great performance for all those in Southern California, who make the trip to Fantasy Springs, but also for all of my fans who tune in on DAZN.

“Anthony Young is familiar to me because I was preparing to face him in my last fight before he was injured. I’ll be ready for this fight and my focus is to end this early with another big knockout for my fans.”

Young (24-2, 8 KOs), who resides in Atlantic City, New Jersey, defeated Jose Zaragoza by unanimous decision in his most recent bout on October 29. The win to which De La Hoya was referrring was a stoppage victory over Sadam Ali, who fought under the Golden Boy banner in May 2019.

The 35-year-old has won his last 13 bouts since losing by stoppage to Skender Halili in February 2016. Young is confident he can pull off the upset win over Rocha.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to perform on this platform,” said Young, who is promoted by Manny Rivera and managed by Carlos Rosario. “With the strength of Allah, we are going to shock the world twice.”



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 at [email protected] and on Twitter at @FSalazarBoxing.