Lightweights Isaac Cruz, Jose Valenzuela Look To Shine on Sunday

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Two sensational lightweights will be featured in separate bouts as Isaac Cruz and Jose Valenzuela highlight a stacked FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View card this Sunday, September 4 in Los Angeles.

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Cruz vs Gamboa - Watch Fight Highlights | April 16, 2022

On Sunday, September 4, fight fans will be treated to two exciting lightweight battles worth watching closely, leading up to the heavyweight headliner at Arena in Los Angeles. 

In the televised opener of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), undefeated rising star Jose "Rayo" Valenzuela (12-0, 8 KOs) duels dangerous late substitute Edwin De Los Santos (14-1, 13 KOs). 

And in the co-main event, hard-hitting Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) takes on fellow Mexican and veteran contender Eduardo Ramirez (27-2-3, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator. 

While Valenzuela and Cruz appear to be on two different trajectories, with victories in Los Angeles, both are poised to take a step closer to their common goal: A strap around their waist. 

Looking For Redemption

A win over Ramirez puts Cruz back at the front of the line for a world title shot. The 24-year-old Mexican slugger had his first title bout in this same venue—back in December 2021 when he lost a competitive decision to unbeaten three-division champion and boxing superstar, Gervonta “Tank” Davis. 

Cruz won over the Angelenos in attendance that evening. But he didn’t win over the judges as Davis retained his title.  

“In the end, I learned that night what's most important is to not let the judges make any decisions to take the fight out of your hands,” Cruz said. “That fight provided me a new level of experience. It made me more mature, and I can carry that forward now and into the future. 

“It was a quality leap where I was able to gain a lot of different things that go beyond just what can be technical or tactical. The crowd embraced me that night and that was priceless.”

Last April, Cruz proved that his performance against the elite Davis was no fluke as he delivered an emphatic knockout win over former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa. The spectacular conquest put Cruz right back into the title picture. 

While the fight was a five-round, one-sided assault, Cruz still gained valuable experience. 

“Gamboa didn’t crumble after the first time he fell,” said Cruz. “It was about breaking him mentally, as well as physically. He kept getting up and I had to keep going without losing focus and get the knockout. I learned the value of patience in that fight.” 

For the Mexico City native, boxing is a family affair. Isaac got into the sport because both his father and grandfather were boxers. Today, they are both a constant presence, working with him and others in his gym.

“It hasn’t been about their influence as much as it was about me wanting to follow in their footsteps, their lineage,” Cruz remarked. “I’m my own man. But I’m very proud to be part of the Cruz dynasty, one of the best boxing families in Mexico, and I hope I can continue to move that forward.” 

ā€œ Iā€™m very proud to be ... one of the best boxing families in Mexico, and I hope I can continue to move that forward.ā€ ā€ Lightweight Contender - Isaac Cruz

The task on September 4 won’t be easy as he’s facing a surging fighter in Ramirez. The 29-year-old southpaw is riding a five-fight win streak and has been vocal that Cruz won’t be able to outbox him or knock him out. 

The stocky, 5-foot-4 Cruz takes the trash-talk in stride. 

“Each fighter provides different challenges and styles where you have to adapt,” Cruz said. “But I focus on me and what I have to do in order to be successful. There really isn’t that much difference working against a lefty or righty. In the end, it’s about what I do inside the ring.

“On September 4, I’m going to show the fans that I’m for real. I’m really hungry to win. I’m starving. I want to be able to bring a lot more happiness to both my wife and my kids.” 

Looking Up the Ranks

Riding his undefeated 12-0 record into the pay-per-view opener, Valenzuela is looking to make another statement on a high-profile card. In his last fight, he scored an impressive first-round knockout of Francisco Vargas, helping get fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas frothing for the headliner between Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas. 

In fact, the 5-foot-10 fighter from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, has won seven of his last eight fights by KO or TKO. As a training stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez, he’s learned power punching from one of the best. 

While Valenzuela is focused on the fight in front of him, he’s trying to move up the 135-pound ranks quickly. 

“I’m extremely motivated for this fight,” Valenzuela said. “This is the kind of challenge that I’ve been asking for. I’m going to come into this fight extremely prepared to make another statement and give the fans a great show.”

As for looking past September 4, Valenzuela believes another impressive conquest will move him the rankings considerably. 

“I think a win in this fight will open doors and give me leverage to get the big fights,” Valenzuela said. “People are going to have to take me seriously as a top fighter at lightweight.”

In fact, Valenzuela has already lined up Cruz as a potential future opponent. The two have fought on several cards together, so they’re familiar with each other. 

“I think a fight against Isaac would be a great matchup,” Cruz said. “I’ve been asking to fight him since before he fought Gervonta Davis. I know me and my team are down to do it, so I hope he and his team are too.”

Even so, assuming both emerge victorious on Sunday night, a showdown in their next bout is unlikely. Cruz will have earned a title fight next, while Valenzuela is still climbing the ranks.  But if they both keep winning, there’s a good chance the two could square off in the near future in what would be an epic battle between elite lightweights.

For a closer look at Isaac Cruz, check out his fighter page.

For a closer look at Jose Valenzuela, check out his fighter page.

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