Home Female Boxing News Claressa Shields vs. Vanessa Lepage Joanisse; Salita Promotions has announced a pair...

Claressa Shields vs. Vanessa Lepage Joanisse; Salita Promotions has announced a pair of world-class super lightweight supporting bouts

Claressa Shields vs. Vanessa Lepage Joanisse

Salita Promotions has announced a pair of world-class super lightweight supporting bouts for its upcoming “BIG TIME BOXING USA: SHIELDS VS. JOANISSE,” event, including an intriguing 10-round co-feature pitting world-ranked super lightweight Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera against 140-pound contender Hugo Alberto “Nato” Roldan on Saturday, July 27, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and airing live on DAZN.

Headlined by Undisputed Middleweight World Champion and boxing superstar Claressa “GWOAT” Shields’ historic challenge of WBC Women’s Heavyweight World Champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse, the night’s televised undercard will also feature power-punching former world-title challenger Shohjahon “Descendant of Tamerlane” Ergashev taking on Julian “The Quiet Storm” Smith in a 10-round super lightweight bout.

“The super lightweight division is one of boxing’s deepest in talent and in personality,” said Dmitriy Salita, president of Salita Promotions. “Shohjahon Ergashev and Michel Rivera are both top contenders and they are in with live challengers who are looking to make their own claim to fame. These fights are going to be barnburners with the winners in line for world title shots.”

From Miami via Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 26-year-old Michel Rivera (25-1, 14 KOs) rose to prominence by rattling off a string of nationally televised victories over several then-undefeated or once-beaten foes, including Ladarius Miller (then 21-1), Jon Fernandez (then 21-1), Jose Matias Romero (then 24-1), Joseph Adorno (then 14-0-2) and Jerry Perz (then 14-1). Along the way, he captured the IBF–USBA and World Boxing Council Continental Americas Light lightweight championships.

Currently rated WBC #13, Rivera, who some say bears a resemblance to a young Muhammad Ali, was last seen shaking off his only career defeat by scoring an impressive unanimous-decision victory over former world champion Sergey Lipinets (UD 10) in November.

“My fans can expect a real fast, explosive Michel Rivera,” said Rivera during a break in training. “I’ve got a new team, but the same goal. And that’s to be a world champion and dominate the division.”

From La Banda, Santiago del Estero, Argentina, 31-year-old Hugo Roldan (22-2-1, 7 KOs) has already beaten former South American middleweight champion Lucas Bastida (TKO 3); former Argentinean super lightweight champion Damián Yapur (UD 10); former South American lightweight champion Sergio Gil (KO 1); former Argentine welterweight champion, Chaco Victor Hugo Velázquez (UD 10) and WBC Latino Super Lightweight Champion Emiliano “Cobrita” Domínguez twice (both UD 10) in his six-year career.

Roldan was undefeated before coming to North America to fight, where he suffered both his controversial losses via 10-round decisions to Joseph Adorno in September 2022 and, most recently, in September of last year to Batyrzhan Jukembayev. Between those two losses, Roldan returned home to Argentina in February of last year to win the WBA Fedelatin Welterweight Championship with a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Hugo Acevedo.

“We’ve fought twice in the United States and lost close decisions because of local favoritism,” said Roldan. “This time we are not leaving it in the hands of the judges.”

Currently rated IBF #13, Shohjahon Ergashev (24-1, 21 KOs) from Detroit via Rakhmon, Uzbekistan, is a popular southpaw puncher, who trains at the Kronk Gym with renowned trainer SugarHill Steward.

Before suffering his only career defeat, in an unsuccessful challenge for then-champion Subriel Matias’ IBF Super Lightweight World Championship in November, Ergashev had dominated his previous competition.

He stopped the previously unbeaten Sonny Fredrickson in three rounds in January 2018, and followed that up in 2019, by winning a unanimous decision over Mykal Fox, handing him the first defeat of his career. Ergashev most recently defeated Panama City veteran Juan Huertas by first-round knockout in March. In his native Uzbekistan, Ergashev is a celebrity superstar with over 2.7 million Instagram followers. Most recently, the 32-year-old starred in a national television commercial for the INFINITI QX50 line of luxury cars.

“I am happy to be back in the ring,” said Ergashev. “I look forward to climbing back up the rankings, winning a world title and knocking out my competition. Don’t blink on July 27. I am putting on a big knockout show.”

Born in Blue Island, Illinois, 33-year-old Julian Smith grew up in a tough neighborhood in the South Suburbs of Chicago. Smith contracted meningitis as an infant, causing him to become deaf and he was teased, mimicked, and bullied because of his speech and hearing impairment. Despite the challenges, Smith had a distinguished amateur boxing record of 84 -7 and was a two-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion before turning professional in 2018.

In the professional ranks, Smith has fared well against top opposition and scored several noteworthy victories in his 10-bout career, including taking the undefeated 0 from then 14-0-1 Alfredo Escarcega via shutout unanimous decision in July 2022 and the undefeated “0” from then 8-0 Orestes Velazquez via ninth-round stoppage in February of this year.

Having always had to work harder than others to succeed, Smith says he feels a victory over Ergashev will be a major step in helping him become the first deaf African American welterweight champion of the world.

“I have worked hard for this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it,” said Smith. “Ergashev is a good fighter, but he is in the way of my dreams. I’ve been the underdog my whole life and I’m good at it. July 27 will be a big step toward my goals and I’m training harder than ever to make that happen.”