Red-hot featherweight prospect Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) of La Romana, Dominican Republic, will step in to face former IBF Featherweight Champion Cristobal “Lacandón” Cruz (39-13, 23 KOs) of Chiapas, Mexico, on Friday, July 6, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and televised live on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
An injury to original main event participant Marvin Sonsona left an opening on the Sampson Boxing and Greg Cohen Promotions show entitled “The Moment of Truth”, which Fortuna and Cruz have eagerly jumped in to fill.
“This fight could not have been made without the wonderful assistance of Art Pellulo of Banner Promotions,” said an excited Sampson Lewkowicz. “We are having a show called The Moment of Truth and now it truly will be for Javier Fortuna. We are going to see what he can do with a world-class fighter like Cristobal Cruz, who was already in shape for a fight on the 20th. This is going to be a fantastic main event.”
In the televised co-feature that night, Russian heavyweight power puncher Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KOs) will defend his WBC United States (USNBC) Silver Heavyweight Championship in a 10-round battle against fellow up-and-coming heavyweight Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm (13-1-1, 9 KOs).
22-year-old southpaw Fortuna’s previous fight was also on Friday Night Fights, when he demolished the talented Yuandale Evans in 2:02 of the first round. Beating Cruz, however, will be a calling card to the world that Fortuna is a force at the very top of the division.
In his last four fights, Cruz has had two technical draws and dropped close decisions to Orlando Salido, the man from whom he took the title and current WBC Silver Featherweight Champion Juan Carlos Burgos. A victory over Fortuna will propel him right back into the world picture.
31-year-old Magomed Abdusalamov was born in Makhachkala, Russia, but now lives and trains in Oxnard, California.
Abdusalamov was the 2005 and 2006 Russian Amateur Champion at super heavyweight before turning professional in 2008. He is the current WBC United States (USNBC) Silver Heavyweight Champion, having won the title by TKO 4 over formerly undefeated Jason Pettaway in March.
29-year-old southpaw heavyweight Maurice Byarm lives in Washington, DC, and was born in Philadelphia.
Byarm is the son of Lionel Byarm, a professional fighter who most notably fought the legendary Evander Holyfield on the 1984 US Olympian card. He was undefeated as a professional until his last fight, a decision loss to fellow Philadelphian Bryant Jennings in January of this year.
Headlining the undercard, popular heavyweight and current interim PABA Heavyweight Champion “Bronco” Billy Wright (37-4, 28 KOs) will continue his successful comeback in a 10-round bout.
Also scheduled to fight six-round bouts are Las Vegas, via Puerto Rico, super middleweight Carlos De Leon Jr (21-3-2, 14 KOs); Las Vegas via Accra, Ghana, middleweight KO artist Bastie Samir (10-0-1, 10 KOs); and undefeated Las Vegas featherweight Rocco Santomauro (8-0).
Scheduled for a four-rounder is Jackson, Michigan, cruiserweight William “Lil’ Tyson” Williams (5-2-1, 4 KOs).
Tickets for “The Moment of Truth” are priced at $29 general admission, $60 reserved, $100 ringside and $200 VIP and are available at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino box office daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and through Ticketmaster, either by calling 702-474-4000 or 800-745-3000, or by going online at ticketmaster.com.