Purto Rican junior middleweight Xander Zayas is gearing up for his first scheduled ten-rounder. Zayas will return against Mexico’s Roberto Valenzuela Jr. in the co-feature to the IBF featherweight titdefense featuring reigning champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez and Joet Gonzalez on Friday, September 15th at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Lopez-Gonzalez, Zayas-Valenzuela, and the return of lightweight Emiliano Fernando Vargas will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.
Zayas (16-0, 10 KOs) signed with Top Rank at age 16 and has maintained a flawless 2022 in which he scored eight-round decision wins over Quincy LaVallais and Alexis Salazar, along with a fifth-round TKO against Elias Espadas. In June, he fought for the first time during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, defeating Ronald Cruz via eight-round unanimous decision at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Valenzuela (21-4, 20 KOs) is a six-year pro who has given stiff tests to Alexis Rocha, Souleymane Cissokho and Bakhram Murtazaliev. The 24-year-old Mexican is coming off a third-round TKO victory against Daniel Vega in April.
Following a recent training session in Miami, this is what Zayas had to say:
"As always, I am giving everything in my preparation for this important step in my career on September 15 in Corpus Christi, Texas. I feel great and am prepared to put on a show on such an important date for the Mexican fans, and even more so when it is one of my first battles between Puerto Rico and Mexico. I'm ready for the challenge!"
"I'm excited and focused on getting the job done. It's been eight weeks of solid work throughout training camp. I know I'm going to be ready for a big fight, as I've been sparring alongside the experienced Mexican fighter Juan Macias Montiel, who has faced the big names in the middleweight division. I am sure his style and experience have brought out the best in me, and you will see that on September 15. I will be more than ready to give another great show to the fans in Corpus Christi and everyone watching live on ESPN.”