Zepeda (left) and Arboleda weigh in for their lightweight clash. (Photo: Golden Boy Promotions)
Tonight is William Zepeda’s turn to show why he is one of the top lightweights in the division.
Zepeda will face Jaime Arboleda at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. The 12-round bout will headline a four-bout card that will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Zepeda weighed in at 134.2 pounds. Arboleda weighed 134.6 pounds.
The southpaw Zepeda (27-0, 23 knockouts), who resides in San Mateo Atenco, Mexico, has steadily emerged as a solid contender at 135 pounds. He is currently ranked No. 8 by The Ring.
In his last bout on October 29, Zepeda scored the biggest win of his career, thus far, defeating former IBF world junior lightweight titleholder Joseph “JoJo” Diaz by decision over 12 one-sided rounds. In his previous fight on May 14, Zepeda defeated Rene Alvarado by unanimous decision.
The Zepeda-Arboleda fight was scheduled to be the co-feature to the anticipated welterweight showdown between contenders Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Eimantas Stanionis, but Ortiz had to withdraw from the fight due to a flare-up of rhabdomyolysis. Ortiz was first diagnosed in March of last year prior to facing Michael McKinson, a fight he also had to back out of for health concerns.
At a press conference on Thursday, Zepeda dedicated his clash against Arboleda to Ortiz.
“I hope and wish him a speedy recovery and I hope to see him in the ring soon,” said Zepeda.
The 26-year-old Zepeda has beaten solid opposition to get to this point in his career, also stopping Hector Tanajara in July 2021 and knocking out Roberto Ramirez in November 2020.
Last Saturday, Gervonta Davis produced an impressive knockout victory over Ryan Garcia, which reportedly drew over 1.1 million pay-per-view buys and a gate that was the fifth-largest in the state of Nevada. In doing so, Davis solidified his standing in the lightweight division and even cracked the Ring Magazine pound-for-pound top 10.
Zepeda is on the cusp of possibly landing a significant fight later this year or in early 2023. His opponent could depend on the winner of the May 20 clash between Ring Magazine lightweight champion Devin Haney and former champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, along who remains at 135 pounds (after the Davis fight, Garcia announced his intention to campaign at 140 pounds).
Zepeda is hungry for that shot at making his mark in the division and is confident he can make his case against Arboleda.
“I trained hard for this fight, and I am coming with everything come Saturday night,” said Zepeda, who is promoted by Golden Boy. “I want to thank my Mexican fan base, and I promise to give the fans a very exciting fight.”
Arboleda (19-2, 13 KOs), who is originally from Curundu, Panama, and now resides in Miami, Florida, has won his last three bouts since losing to Chris Colbert by knockout in December 2020. The 28-year-old is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]