After a week of pre-fight publicity that saw them hold a press conference in Los Angeles and attend a sold out championship soccer match South of the Border, WBC featherweight champion Jorge “Nino de Oro” Linares and WBA super featherweight champion Edwin “El Aniquilador” Valero are now ready to meet their respective opponents this Saturday, December 15, 2007 at Plaza de Toros in Cancun, Mexico.
Co-headlining this massive card, fellow Venezuelans Linares and Valero are making the trip from Japan, where they now reside, fighting for Teiken Promotions, co-promoter of the Plaza de Toros event, billed as “Night of Champions - Fists of Iron”, along with Promociones Jose “Pepe” Gomez, DiBella Entertainment and All Star Boxing.
Linares, 24-0 (15), won the vacant WBC feather crown with a masterful tenth round stoppage against longtime WBC super bantam kingpin Oscar Larios at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this past July. The lanky 22 year old turned pro five years ago in Osaka, Japan and has since used his razor sharp boxing skills to turn back all 24 men who have opposed him in the squared circle.
Facing Linares on Saturday in Cancun is former WBC FECARBOX and NABF featherweight titlist Gamaliel Diaz, 22-6-2 (9). The 26 year old from Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico was baptized by fire early in his career, thrown in with the likes of future championship level competitors Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz and Martin Honorio, going 3-5 in his first eight bouts.
Diaz then went on a tear, going on a 17-0-2 run over the next five years, including a thrilling split decision verdict over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in June, 2006 to take the NABF title. “El Platano” was stopped in the sixth during the rematch with Guerrero, who has since gone on to win the IBF crown twice, but Diaz got right back on track and heads into this WBC title bout with Linares on the strength of handing top American prospect Elio Rojas his first defeat in 20 contests.
The world’s hardest punching fighter, WBA super feather champion Edwin “El Aniquilador” Valero, 22-0 (22), will place his 130 lb strap at risk against rugged Mexico City based campaigner, Zaid “El Exterminador” Zavaleta, 16-2-2 (11). Valero, a southpaw, began his career with a world record 18 consecutive first round knockouts, annhilating opponents during a world tour that saw him fight in Venezuela, America, Argentina, Panama, Japan and France.
In August of last year, Valero got off the canvas and stopped reigning WBA titlist Vincente “El Loco” Mosquera of Panama in the tenth round to win the super feather crown that he has since defended in 2007 with successive early finishes of Michael Lozada and Nobuhito Honmo.
Saturday night’s challenger Zavaleta has never been stopped in his four year pro career and the steel chinned 28 year old has vowed to put a stop to Valero’s reign of terror, walking out of the Plaza de Toros with the WBA belt around his waist in the process.
Chief undercard support is the hotly anticipated rematch between featherweights Rodolfo Lopez, 20-4-1 (14), and Naoki Matsuda, 28-7-3 (11), scheduled over twelve rounds. In March of this year, Cancun based former WBC feather champ Lopez canvased Matsuda in the first round but the 31 year old Tokyo man roared back to gun down Lopez in the fifth for his thirteenth straight win.
Also on the bill is ex-WBC featherweight champion Guty Espadas Jr., Pipino Cuevas Jr., Wilfredo Vasquez, Jr., all sons of former world champions, and four other competitive bouts.