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Yordenis Ugas and Mario Barrios set to clash in crossroads bout on September 30

Yordenis Ugas and Mario Barrios

In a welterweight crossroads bout, former WBA champion Yordenis ’54 Milagros’ Ugas 27-5 (12) and Mario ‘El Azteca’ Barrios 27-2 (18) will meet for the vacant WBC interim title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 30.

The bout will take place on the undercard of the undisputed super middleweight title defence of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 59-2-2 (39) against undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo 35-1-1 (18).

The 37-year-old Ugas of Cuba scored a breakthrough win two years ago when he dethroned Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao 62-8-2 (39) on points for the WBA crown two years ago.

He has fought just once since, losing his world title belt to Errol Spence Jr 28-1 (22) by 10th round knockout in April last year.

Texan Barrios, 28, is in a rebuilding phase of his career too. After losing back-to-back fights to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 29-0 (27) and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman 30-1 (22) in 2021 and 2022 respectively, he got back in the win column against Jovanie Santiago 14-3-1 (10) with an eighth-round knockout on February.

“Whenever a fight is brought to me, there’s never a name that I say no to,” Barrios said. “This was no different. Ugas is a tremendous fighter and this is a huge opportunity. I was more than happy to take the fight.

“I’m trying to solidify my mark in this division. It’s gonna be a tough fight on September 30. I’ve never seen him shy away from a fight and I have a similar style. This is gonna be an explosive one that you don’t want to miss.

“We’re both gonna bring it on fight night. This is an exciting card and an exciting opportunity to fight for an interim world title.”

Ugas knows it will be a tough out too with the victor taking the spoils.

“There’s a lot at stake in this fight, but this is what I do,” Ugas said. “I go out and fight the best. I plan to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Ugas might be three years shy of his 40th birthday and coming off the second longest layoff of his career, but Barrios is expecting nothing less than the best version of the veteran.

“I’m expecting the best version of Ugas. We both have a lot to prove,” Barrios said. “A victory puts us right up there with all of the top welterweights. There’s a lot of good fights to be made and we’re all working to get to the top of the division.

“I was learning with each fight and took a lot away from my defeats. I’m still just as hungry as ever. I had my comeback fight and now I’m looking to bring another title back home.

“It’s gonna take everything to get this win. I’m gonna have to use my boxing ability, my power and my range. It’s gonna be an exciting fight and I’m looking forward to it.”