As a National Guard veteran who did two tours of duty in Iraq, Sammy Vasquez knows a little something about meeting difficult challenges head-on. He’s about to do just that in the biggest fight of his boxing career.
Vasquez (20-0, 14 KOs) will return to the ring for the fourth time in less than a year when he rumbles with Aron Martinez (20-4-1, 4 KOs) on January 23 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The 147-pound contest is scheduled for 12 rounds, and will serve as the co-main event for the Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero fight that will headline the inaugural Premier Boxing Champions on Fox event (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
“This is just another steppingstone for me to move closer to my goal of fighting for a world title,” Sammy Vasquez said. “This will be my first time fighting in California, and I’m sure the fans out there will enjoy my exciting style.”
A fast-rising prospect in what is rapidly becoming an ultra-competitive 147-pound class, the 29-year-old Vasquez has been very active over the past two years, fighting (and winning) nine times since February 2014.
Three of those victories came in 2015: a pair of 10-round unanimous decisions over Emmanuel Lartei Lartey (February 20) and Wale Omotoso (June 21), and a fifth-round TKO of Jose Lopez (September 15).
While not quite as successful as Vasquez from a win-loss perspective, Martinez nevertheless is coming off a very solid year himself. He rebounded from a hard-fought, split-decision loss to Guerrero on June 6 with an upset victory over former two-division champion Devon Alexander on October 14, winning by unanimous decision.
Guerrero and Alexander are easily the most decorated opponents the 34-year-old Martinez has faced in his 11-year pro career. Now it’s Vasquez’s turn to face his stiffest test—and the product of Monessen, Pennsylvania, will do so in enemy territory, as Martinez is a native of Mexico who now resides in East Los Angeles, not far from Staples Center.
“I've always wanted to fight at Staples Center, and now I have my chance,” Vasquez said. “I’ll be a long way from home, but it's a nice feeling that all of my fans who can't make it will get to watch me on Fox.”
Said Martinez: “This is a great opportunity that I am very thankful for. Sammy is a great fighter whom I have a lot of respect for, but Los Angeles is my home. I intend on defending my turf and coming out victorious on January 23.”
For complete coverage of Vasquez vs Martinez, visit our fight page.