Sensational lightweight Felix Verdejo, the latest in a long line of outstanding Puerto Rican boxers, makes his Philadelphia debut Saturday evening, Dec. 13, when he takes on Karim El Ouazghari, of Barcelona, Spain, in the scheduled eight-round main event at the 2300 Arena.
The Verdejo-Ouazghari fight, along with an eight-round super middleweight contest featuring Jesse Hart, of Philadelphia, will be televised as part of Top Rank’s Solo Boxeo Tecate series on UniMas. The delayed telecast will begin at 11pm (EST). First of seven prelims begins at 6.45pm.
The 21-year-old Verdejo (left), an outstanding amateur, represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics. He lost a 14-9 decision in the quarter-finals to eventual Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, of the Ukraine, who currently is the WBO featherweight champion. Verdejo’s overall amateur record was 106-17.
Verdejo turned pro late in 2012 and is 15-0, 11 K0s. He boxed eight times in 2013 and this will be his seventh fight in 2014.
In his last outing Oct. 4, Verdejo scored a spectacular one-punch third-round knockout over 32-fight veteran Sergio Villanueva, of Mexico, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Bahia Shrine Temple in Orlando, FL.
Verdejo turned pro in Las Vegas and he has boxed in Puerto Rico, New York, Florida and China. This will be his first fight in Philadelphia, but his second in Pennsylvania. He won a six-round decision over Guillermo Delgadillo, of Walla Walla, WA, on Aug. 10, 2013, at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
“I want to be a role model for the kids, the same way Felix Trinidad was for me,” Verdejo said.
The 34-year-old Ouazghari is 16-5-2, 4 K0s. In his most ambitious start, he lost a 12-round decision to John Murray for the European lightweight title in London.
The 25-year-old Hart is 15-0, 12 K0s. His father, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, was one of the hardest-hitting middleweights of his time, compiling a 30-9-1 record with 28 K0s from 1969 to1981.
“Top Rank looks forward to co-promoting this great event with our long-time friend and legendary Hall-of-Fame promoter J Russell Peltz in the City of Brotherly Love, “ said Carl Moretti, Vice President of Boxing Operations at Top Rank. “Felix Verdejo and Jesse Hart are two of the best young prospects in the Top Rank stable and we are sure the fight fans of Philadelphia will feel the same after watching their performances.”
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