Jorge “Niño de Oro” Linares (35-3, 23 KOs) and Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) has been elevated to open the Toe to Toe Showtime pay-per-view this Saturday. The 10-round match was promoted to PPV status after an injury to Omar Figueroa forced the cancellation of his fight against Ricardo Alvarez.
The undefeated Figueroa injured his left hand during training last Friday. Ricardo Alvarez, older brother of Canelo, will remain on the card and meet hard-hitting Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (28-3, 26 KOs), of Cancun, Mexico, in the top 10-round bout on the non-televised portion of Saturday’s big fight card at MGM Grand.
Thompson, 30, has triumphed in 14 of his last 15 fights, winning all 14 by knockout. In his most recent outing, he registered a first-round knockout over junior welterweight Cesar Chavez (21-4 going in) last Dec. 14. The power-punching Thompson scored an impressive second-round TKO over Linares in March 2012.
The two world title fights on pay per view will match Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs) against Cristian “El Diamante” Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KOs) and “King” Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) against undefeated Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs).
The full off-TV undercard for the Canelo vs. Angulo PPV event has also been announced:
In a junior lightweight fight scheduled for 10 rounds, unbeaten Australian star “Wild” Will Tomlinson makes his United States debut against Texas’ Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes.
Plus, two more rising stars from the 130-pound weight class face off when Mexico City’s Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas battles Puerto Rico’s Abner Cotto.
2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr. takes on Jovany “El Cepillo” Fuentes in an eight-round super bantamweight bout preceded by a six-round junior welterweight bout starring unbeaten Keandre Gibson against Antonio “Tony” Wong.
In the opening match on March 8, Australian prospect Steve Lovett faces an opponent to be announced in a six-round light heavyweight contest.
A native of Sydney, “Wild” Will Tomlinson (21-0-1, 12 KOs) was an amateur standout who competed in the 2007 World Championships before becoming a professional boxer in July 2008. Winner of several pro titles, including the Australian, New South Wales State, WBO Asia Pacific, WBO Oriental and IBO Inter-Continental belts, the 27-year-old won the vacant IBO super featherweight crown in November 2011 by defeating Alan Herrera. Tomlinson has successfully defended his title three times, most recently against Malcolm Klassen on May 16, 2013.
On a quest to get back to his winning ways after tough decision losses to fellow prospects Francisco Vargas and Andrew Cancio, Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes (18-3, 5 KOs) has everything to gain this Saturday when he tackles Tomlinson. The exciting 25-year-old up-and-comer hopes he can get his year off to a rousing start with a victory in his first Las Vegas appearance since 2008.
A representative of the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (18-0-1, 13 KOs) stepped up in a big way in 2013, scoring victories over Ira Terry, Cristian Arrazola, Brandon Bennett and Jerry Belmontes that proved that he was ready to make his push for a world title in 2014. That push begins on March 8 against Abner Cotto.
Owner of 235 wins as an amateur, Caguas, Puerto Rico’s Abner Cotto (17-1, 8 KOs) has done the family name proud ever since he put the gloves on. The cousin of Miguel and Jose Cotto, 26-year-old Abner has won all but one of his professional bouts, most recently stopping Daniel Ruiz in four rounds in September 2013. On Saturday, it’s a pivotal meeting against Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas.
Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr. (9-1, 6 KOs), of South El Monte, Calif., continues to impress with each victory and despite being a pro for less than a year, the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team member has shown poise way beyond his years. Fresh off a seventh-round technical knockout over Carlos Rodriguez last December, the 21-year-old will look to show the continuing evolution of his fight game against Bayamon, Puerto Rico’s Jovany Fuentes (5-3, 4 KOs), a potent puncher who has won three of his last five bouts.
St. Louis’ Keandre Gibson (8-0-1, 3 KOs) will look for his ninth win as a pro against Tijuana, Mexico’s Antonio “Tony” Wong (12-6-1, 7 KOs). A 2006 National Golden Gloves champion and Junior Olympics Bronze medalist, the 23-year-old Gibson is seen as having world championship potential, but he will be put to the test by Wong.
In the opening bout of the card, 28-year-old New South Wales native, undefeated Steve Lovett (7-0, 5 KOs) puts his unblemished record on the line as he makes his United States debut against an opponent to be announced.