Alberto Puello and Rolly Romero have a date for their 140-pound title fight.
Showtime announced Tuesday that Puello and Romero will meet May 13 in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event. The venue for their 12-round fight for Puello’s WBA super lightweight title hasn’t been solidified.
Showtime also revealed that undefeated junior welterweight contender Gary Antuanne Russell will encounter Kent Cruz in its co-feature May 13. The opener of the network’s three-bout broadcast will feature Cuban contender Rances Barthelemy and Omar Juarez in another battle between junior welterweights.
As BoxingScene.com first reported earlier this month, Romero will get a shot at Puello’s championship in the North Las Vegas native’s first fight since he moved up from the lightweight limit of 135 pounds. Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) hasn’t boxed since rival Gervonta Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) knocked him out in the sixth round of their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event May 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Dominican Republic’s Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) will make his first defense of a WBA belt he won six months ago in Hollywood, Florida. Puello beat Uzbekistan’s Batyr Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) by split decision in their back-and-forth 12-round bout to win that title August 20 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Russell and Barthelemy each will fight for the first time since Russell’s questionable sixth-round stoppage of Barthelemy on July 30 at Barclays Center.
Barthelemy gave Russell the most difficult fight of his professional career before Russell sent Barthelemy to the canvas with a right hook barely 30 seconds into the sixth round. Though Barthelemy beat the count pretty quickly, referee Shada Murdaugh stopped their fight 50 seconds into the sixth round.
Las Vegas’ Barthelemy immediately argued that he adequately answered Murdaugh’s commands and should’ve been allowed to continue in a fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds.
Nevertheless, Russell, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, kept his perfect record intact (16-0, 16 KOs). Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC), who has won world titles in two divisions, lost by knockout or technical knockout for the first time in a career that has spanned 13 years.
In St. Louis’ Cruz (16-0-3, 10 KOs), Russell will face an opponent who has fought to eight-round draws with the Republic of Georgia’s Enriko Gogokhia (13-0-2, 8 KOs) in each of his past two fights. Juarez (14-1, 5 KOs), of Brownsville, Texas, will take a three-bout winning streak into his fight against Barthelemy.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.