Beterbiev, Flores Jr take action in Stockton
IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev, the only current world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, will face top contender Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic in the main event Saturday, May 4 at Stockton Arena. In the co-feature, Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning 115-pound world champion, will make the seventh defense of his IBF junior bantamweight title against No. 1 contender Ryuichi Funai.
Also, as a six-round lightweight special attraction, 18-year-old Stockton native and Gabriel Flores Jr. will face off against Eduardo Pereira. Those bouts, as well as the soon-to-be-announced undercard, will stream live beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on the streaming service ESPN+.
Two world title fights are coming to @ESPN! Light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev defends his world title against Radivoje Kalajdzic and Jerwin Ancajas engages in a junior bantamweight showdown with Ryuichi Funai. Plus, hometown hero, @G_Squad_Nation ? pic.twitter.com/0JvwANShwb
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 19, 2019
Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs), a 34-year-old native of Russia, turned pro in 2013 following an amateur career that included a pair of European Championships gold medals and a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships. In only his sixth pro bout, he knocked out former world champion Tavoris Cloud. He won the IBF crown in November 2017 with a fourth-round stoppage over Enrico Kölling in Fresno, California. Beterbiev defended his belt the following October, recovering from a second-round knockdown to stop Callum Johnson in the fourth.
“I am very excited to defend my IBF light heavyweight title on May 4 against a high-quality opponent like Radivoje Kalajdzic,” Beterbiev said. “This will be a great fight, and I can’t wait to get in the ring and show once again why I am the best 175-pound boxer in the world.”
Kalajdzic (24-1, 17 KOs) has won three in a row since a highly debatable split decision loss to Marcus Browne, including a fifth-round stoppage over Travis Peterkin.
“I’m thrilled to get this opportunity to challenge for a world title against a great fighter like Artur Beterbiev,” Kalajdzic said. “It will be a very exciting fight. Both of us hit hard, so expect fireworks. I am focused on securing a victory and will take full advantage of this shot. A win opens so many doors for me and will change my life. On May 4, the light heavyweight division will have a new world champion.”
Flores (12-0, 5 KOs) is a young boxing prospect who signed with Top Rank in 2016 at the age of 16. He became the youngest fighter ever to sign a pro contract with Top Rank and will be 19 three days before his bout against Pereira. He went 6-0 in 2018 and last fought on Feb. 10, winning to a six-round unanimous decision over Alex Torres Rynn.
“I was born and raised in Stockton, and it is the city I still call home. To get the opportunity to fight at the big arena in front of my friends, family, and biggest fans is a dream come true,” Flores said. “This is only the beginning of my journey. One day, I will fill up that arena as a world champion. I am excited to use my platform to show kids that bullying is unacceptable and that we must treat everyone with dignity and respect.”