Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |


Jose Zepeda makes his case for a new title shot in his fight against Richardson Hitchins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: Jose Zepeda is victorious as he defeats Josue Vargas for the WBC silver super lightweight championship at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2021 in New York City.(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

On Saturday, former three-time world title challenger Jose Zepeda will face rising star Richardson Hitchins at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, Florida.

Zepeda, rated at No. 7 by The Ring at junior welterweight, knows the potential danger this fight brings to him.

“I know it’s going to be a hard fight,” Zepeda (37-3, 28 knockouts) told The Ring. “I believe he’s the main prospect in Matchroom, I know he’s a really talented fighter, he’s fast. I think he has everything to one day, in the future dispute a world title. That’s why they’re putting him up against me, this is going to be his test.”

The 34-year-old Mexican-American admits he didn’t have to take this fight but believes a victory will vault him back into title contention in the deep 140-pound division.

“If you tell anyone in the top 10 at 140-pounds to fight Richardson Hitchins, nobody is going to do it,” he said. “The reason I’m doing it is I want to get back to a title fight after this fight. I’m a fighter that doesn’t talk his way into fights, I’m a fighter that fights his way into fights. I know I need this fight in order to get right back to the title fight and that’s what they offered me.

“If I take on other fighters that are not in the top 10 or 20, I’m not going to go anywhere. Like I said, I don’t talk my way into fights, there’s a lot of fighters nowhere days that talk there way into fights, calling people out and that’s how they get the fights. The way I’ve done it is fight the top 10, the very talented fighters and that’s why I’m taking this fight.”

However, “Chon” questions if Hitchins is ready for the top table.

“I heard one of his interviews and they asked him, ‘What do you think is next after this fight?’ And he couldn’t really answer that, he said, ‘I don’t know, I might do one or two more [fights] to get to the world title,'” said Zepeda.

“Well, let me tell him, whoever wins this fight needs to go for a world title, there’s nothing else. You have to go straight for the title, if not they’re screwing me.”

Things have never come easy for the experienced veteran at world title level.

“It’s been really bad luck, the way I see it, I have only lost one fight and that’s against [Regis] Prograis [for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title],” he explained. “Everybody knows the fight with [Jose] Ramirez [for the WBC junior welterweight title] was so close, a lot of people thought I won. The first one for the [WBO lightweight title] against Terry Flanagan was a freak shoulder injury. I had a lot of bad luck but I’m still here and that’s what counts. It’s about not giving up.

“I lost my third opportunity for the world title I want to get right back in, I’m 34-years-old already. I told my manager, ‘Get me a fight that’s going to get me back to the rematch with Prograis or to fight for a world title.’ And Richardson Hitchins is it.”

In the wake of losing to Prograis, Zepeda decided to change things up and he feels he has had a new lease of life.

“We added Manny Robles to the team,” said Zepeda, who has spent two-and-a-half months in training camp in Southgate, Los Angeles. “It’s going to be a better Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda in this fight. I have worked so much harder, it’s going to make a difference. I think we trained twice as hard as any other camp.”

Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs) was a talented amateur, who went on to represent his native Haiti at the 2016 Olympic, where he lost against Gary Antuanne Russell. He turned professional under the Mayweather Promotions banner in early 2017. The now 25-year-old, who was a New Faces feature in the May 2021 issue of The Ring, went about his business without stepping to the fore. He did edge past former 130-pound titlist Argenis Mendez (MD 10).

Once his contract with Mayweather came to an end, he decided to take his business across the street to Matchroom. The move seems to have done him good, scoring wins over Yomar Alamo (RTD 8) and, most recently, a career-best shutout win over previously unbeaten John Bauza (UD 10).

An intriguing crossroads matchup, Hitchins will be slightly favored, but Zepeda is a live underdog and if Hitchins isn’t as good as some think he could well get found out.

Hitchins-Zepeda, plus undercard action, will be broadcast live on DAZN at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].