Unbeaten 140-pound contender Mario Barrios makes his SHOWTIME debut when he battles Jose Roman to open the three-fight telecast headlined by the Mikey Garcia vs Robert Easter Jr. lightweight title unification bout.
LOS ANGELES — Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz returns to action to face former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a 10-round bout on Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) will open with unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario "El Azteca" Barriostakingon hard-hitting Jose Roman in a 10-round showdown. The event is headlined by lightweight world championship title unification bout between WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.
After having heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder nearly out on his feet in their March classic, Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) eventually succumbed to the power of the unbeaten champion. Now, Ortiz looks to get back to world title contention on July 28. Originally, from Camaguey, Cuba, now residing in Miami, Fla., Ortiz will fight in Los Angeles for the first time as a professional. Ortiz quickly became one of the most avoided men in boxing with victories over Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson and Malik Scott on his way to the memorable showdown with Wilder.
"I'm looking to make a statement on July 28 and get back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world," said Ortiz. "I'm excited to be back in the ring. I am thankful to have this opportunity. To all the fans in Los Angeles, don't miss this great card at STAPLES Center. 'The Real King Kong' is coming to LA!''
A native of Romania and fighting out of Burbank, Calif., Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) challenged then WBO heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker for the title in May 2017. Cojanu took the New Zealand champion the distance but lost via unanimous decision in the champion's home country. Standing over six-foot-seven, Cojanu scored three straight knockout victories in 2016 to earn the title shot and will return to the ring for his first fight in the U.S. since January 2016.
"I'm proud and confident to know that I will be stepping into the ring against a worthy opponent on July 28," said Cojanu. "Luis Ortiz is a world-class fighter with a lot of experience, which will give me the opportunity to show my skills to all the fans at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and watching on SHOWTIME."
The 23-year-old Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) has been impressive since moving up to 140 pounds last March. He's scored stoppage victories over Yardley Cruz, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Naim Nelson and most recently a second-round destruction of Eudy Bernardo. The five-foot-ten Barrios of San Antonio had previously campaigned at 130 pounds before making the move to the higher weight class that has helped unlock his power.
"I fought on SHOWTIME EXTREME but making my debut on SHOWTIME has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid," said Barrios. "Now, the time has come to show why I'm here. I'm ready to keep showing why I'm going to become a star and one of the sport's next great fighters. Come July 28, everyone should tune-in for a great night of fights. It's 'Azteca' time.''
Fighting out of Garden Grove, Calif., Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs) scored knockouts in nine of his first 11 pro fights and has won 10 of his last 11 leading up to July 28. The 30-year-old most recently dropped a decision to Wilberth Lopez last September after a run of defeating veteran fighters and will look to put himself back on the path to a world title with a victory over Barrios at STAPLES Center.
"I'm very excited to have this great opportunity," said Roman. "Barrios has been on a roll, but I have the experience to take him out. Both of us bring pressure and I know he's going to be hungry to keep his record perfect. I'm more motivated than I've ever been for this fight. I can't wait to put on a show in my backyard for all the great fans in Southern California."
For a complete look at Garcia vs Easter, check out our fight page.