IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez looks to kick off Mexican Independence Day weekend with an emphatic defense of his title.
Lopez will defend his crown against two-time world title challenger Joet Gonzalez on Friday, September 15 at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Lopez-Gonzalez, Xander Zayas-Roberto Valenzuela Jr., and the return of lightweight sensation Emiliano Fernando Vargas will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Lopez (28-2, 16 KOs) overcame numerous challenges in his quest to become a world champion. After early-career losses to Abraham Montoya and Ruben Villa, he defeated Andy Vences via split decision in July 2020 and dominated then-unbeaten prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. in September 2021. After scoring three more wins, he earned his shot at the IBF title, dethroning Josh Warrington in his hometown of Leeds, England. In his first defense, the 30-year-old once again traveled to enemy territory and beat Michael Conlan via fifth-round TKO in Belfast. Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KOs) is a 29-year-old contender who is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision victory against Jose Enrique Vivas in April.
Following a recent training session, this is what Lopez had to say:
“I’m always working on being a little smarter and on knowing how to do everything in the ring because sometimes we are going to need it. I am always working on improving all aspects.”
“I’m going for the knockout. It’s a personal challenge that I have. Joet Gonzalez has faced great fighters like Shakur Stevenson, Emanuel Navarrete and Isaac Dogboe, and he has never been knocked out. Knocking out a tough fighter like him is a huge goal for me.”
“I know this fight will be difficult. Joet Gonzalez is a fighter who comes forward throwing a lot of punches. But I like to come forward, too. So, we know it’s going to be a real clash.”
“Representing Mexicans on such an important night is a great motivation. And I can’t wait for the fight. We’re ready. We have a plan ready, and we are going to do our job. We are going to put on a great show on September 15.”