Josue Vargas vs Willie Shaw highlight the Navarrete vs Diaz undercard.
Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas was born in Isabel, Puerto Rico, and idolized the great Felix “Tito” Trinidad. For the first time in his professional career, he’ll have a building full of Puerto Rican fans cheering him on. Vargas will fight Willie Shaw in a 10-round junior welterweight bout Saturday, April 24 at a sold-out Silver Spurs Arena in the Puerto Rican enclave of Kissimmee, Florida.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing, Vargas-Shaw will highlight a loaded undercard showcasing Puerto Rico’s top young talent streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. Following the undercard, Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete defends his WBO featherweight world title against Puerto Rican contender Christopher Diaz, and super middleweight Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) seeks to score his 17th consecutive first-round knockout against Demond Nicholson (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Josue Vargas – Junior Welterweight Prospect
“It is time to show the world who ‘The Prodigy’ is. Fighting in Kissimmee is like fighting in Puerto Rico. After this fight, the Puerto Rican fans will talk about me. I am going to put on a show. I’ve seen some videos of Shaw on YouTube. I’m not going to take anything away from him, but he doesn’t have skills like I do. I have more experience than him. It’s time for me to break him down and show the world I’m a contender.”
“I’ve shown my intelligence in the ring. I barely got touched against Castaneda. I threw more than 800 punches in 10 rounds. It showed me that I belonged with higher-level fighters. I was letting him survive. That was me being nice. This time, I’ll apply more pressure and get the stoppage.”
Vargas (18-1, 9 KOs) had a breakthrough performance last October on the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez undercard, dominating contender Kendo Castaneda via unanimous decision. He made headlines last June when he conducted his post-fight interview on ESPN after Salvador Briceno knocked out a pair of his upper front teeth. Despite the dental mishap, Vargas nearly shut out Briceno. He has won 12 consecutive fights since a controversial disqualification loss.
Shaw (13-2, 9 KOs), from Oakland, California, enters the lion’s den as an experienced road warrior. He fought six times in Mexico since turning pro in 2017. Last August, Shaw pushed top prospect Omar Juarez before losing a six-round decision. He rebounded in January with a second-round stoppage in Tijuana.
In other undercard action:
Joseph Adorno (14-0-1, 12 KOs) vs. Jamaine Ortiz (14-0, 8 KOs)
8 Rounds, Lightweight
Adorno returns from a nearly 16-month layoff hoping to return to the win column following his January 2020 draw against Hector Garcia. He has a chance to advance from prospect to contender against the unbeaten Ortiz. The latter is coming off last November’s seventh-round knockout over Ugandan veteran Sulaiman Segawa on the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr card. undercard.
Orlando Gonzalez (16-0, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Lopez (15-8, 6 KOs)
8 Rounds, Featherweight
Puerto Rican southpaw Gonzalez makes his 2021 debut against Lopez. A Texas resident who has upset a few undefeated prospects during his nearly nine-year pro career. Gonzalez went 162-16 as an amateur and inked a promotional deal with Top Rank in 2019.
Xander Zayas (7-0, 5 KOs) vs Demarcus Layton (8-1-1, 5 KOs)
6 Rounds, Welterweight
Puerto Rican prodigy Zayas, an 18-year-old who signed with Top Rank at 16, makes his third pro appearance in Kissimmee. He last fought Feb. 20 in Las Vegas and was pushed the six-round distance by James Martin. Zayas, who won 11 national titles as an amateur, recently spent time in his Florida training camp sparring Gervonta Davis and former world champions Adrien Broner and Robert Easter Jr.
Layton is unbeaten in three bouts since a 2019 TKO loss.
Jeremy Adorno (4-0, 1 KO) vs. Ramiro Martinez (2-0-2, 1 KO)
4 Rounds, Junior Featherweight
Adorno, a 2017 U.S. Youth National Championship gold medalist, turned pro under the Top Rank banner in March 2019. The younger brother of Joseph Adorno, he’ll fight for the first time since a January 2020 decision win on the Joe Smith Jr.- vs Jesse Hart undercard. Martinez, who fights out of Hurst, Texas, fought last November and won a one-sided decision over the 1-0 Tevin Moore.
Jaycob Gómez (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Mobley Villegas (3-1, 2 KOs)
4 Rounds, Junior Lightweight
Gómez is a 19-year-old upstart from Caguas, Puerto Rico, the same city that produced Miguel Cotto. He turned pro last October and scored a sensational first-round knockout. Villegas has never been stopped as a professional.