The only two Puerto Rican-born world champions in boxing are set to show their skills and heart for boxing fans in New York as Jose “Sniper” Pedraza and Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano defend their titles on Saturday, January 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and live on SHOWTIME.
“Puerto Rico has such a rich boxing history with many of the sport’s greatest champions hailing from the island,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Right now, there are only two Puerto Rican-born world champions, junior lightweight Jose Pedraza and junior featherweight Amanda Serrano, and I happen to promote them both. January 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a tremendous card all around, but it will also serve as a celebration of Puerto Rican pride and heritage to be able to watch the country’s only two world champions defend their titles on the same show.”
Pedraza (22-0, 12 KOs) will defend his IBF Super Featherweight World Championship against hard-hitting unbeaten contender Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 KOs)in the co-main event on SHOWTIME. With his victory in June 2015, Pedraza added his name to the distinguished list of Puerto Rican world champions. After losses suffered by Roman Martinez and McJoe Arroyo, he currently stands as the only remaining male champion born in Puerto Rico.
“Being the only male Puerto Rican-born world champion is something that I’m very proud of,” said Pedraza. “It is also a big weight that I carry on my shoulders. I know that I have to give my best because I am not just a champion of the ring. I am a champion of my island of Puerto Rico. Knowing that all of Puerto Rico will be in there with me encourages me to give my all every time I step into the ring.
“On January 14 I will be facing a great boxer with a lot of talent, speed and power. However, I will let him know what it feels like to share a ring with a real world champion. Davis will enter the ring as a young, hungry unbeaten challenger, but the only thing he will leave with is the first loss on his record.”
Serrano (30-1-1, 23 KOs), a four-division world champion, will defend her WBO Super Bantamweight World Championship against former two-division world champion Yazmin Rivas (35-9-1, 10 KOs) in the SHOWTIME EXTREME main event at 7 p.m. ET/PT. The winner of the Serrano-Rivas matchup will earn the prestigious WBC Diamond championship. Serrano’s first world title victory in 2011 made her just the third Puerto Rican-born woman to win a world title.
This bout also signifies the first nationally televised women’s world title bout in nearly a decade, since Mary Jo Saunders fought Valerie Mahfood on March 30, 2007 (ESPN2).
“It feels fantastic to be fighting on SHOWTIME for the first time and sharing the stage at Barclays Center with my countryman Jose Pedraza,” said Serrano. “Knowing that both he and I are currently the only two Puerto Rican-born world champions, male or female, in boxing today is an honor.
“As for Yazmin Rivas being a tough fight, that’s only on paper. I will prove that I am in a different league. There’s a reason why finding someone to fight me wasn’t easy. I’m the hardest hitting female fighter in boxing today. Rivas will soon know that personally.”
Pedraza, of Caguas, and Serrano, of Carolina, are the latest in a long line of world class and beloved Puerto Rican champions who will look to put on impressive performances and make a mark nationally with victories in front of the friendly New York crowd. New York City boasts nearly one million Puerto Rican residents, making it the largest population of Puerto Ricans outside of Puerto Rico.
“I met Amanda Serrano at this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York,” said Pedraza. “She is a kind woman and I can see that, as a champion, Serrano is dedicated and always gives her best. I am proud of her for representing our people of Puerto Rico very well. On fight night, Barclays Center will shine with Luz Boricua as Amanda and I seek glory for Puerto Rico together.”
“To be able to defend my world title in Brooklyn, where I live, is a dream come true,” said Serrano. “New York is home to so many Puerto Ricans and I am sure they will really come out in support of this great event. I am truly a fan of my people. I would like to thank Lou DiBella, the best promoter in boxing, for giving me the chance to show the world why I am the ‘Real Deal’! I would also like to thank SHOWTIME for the opportunity. Mr. Stephen Espinoza, I will not disappoint you.”
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by a super middleweight world championship unification showdown between Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) and James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs), with televised coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.