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Top Rank Has Zayas Atop Puerto Rican Day Weekend Card

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Top Rank Has Zayas Atop Puerto Rican Day Weekend Card

Top Rank had Miguel Cotto do the honors for a long spell, and they thought Felix Verdejo would take that mantle but that didn't play out. So Top Rank has settled on middleweight Xander Zayas to headline the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend.

The 21 year old Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs) will meet Brazilian former world champion Patrick Teixeira in a 10-round clash Saturday, June 8.

The fight and card will be held at at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Zayas has more work to do to get to big room main event status.

NOTE: It was 19 years ago that Top Rank started its parade weekend tradition, Miguel Cotto defended his junior welterweight crown against Muhammad Abdullaev. (Click here.)

Shu Shu Will Be On The Top Rank Puerto Rican Day Parade Card

In a 10-round featherweight co-feature, Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington, repping Brownsville, Brooklyn, is to meet Mexico’s Jose Enrique Vivas.

Zayas-Teixeira and Carrington-Vivas will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK and Ireland, for the record.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets go on sale Wednesday, April 24 at 12 p.m. ET via Ticketmaster.com.

“This is a great New York City card featuring two young men, Xander Zayas and Bruce Carrington, who are poised to become two of the sport’s biggest stars,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum in a release. “Our Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend cards are always special, and I can’t wait for another raucous atmosphere.”

Top Rank Offers Notes on Zayas

“Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs) has been on the path to stardom after signing with Top Rank at 16 and debuting as a pro in October 2019, according to a TR release.

He captured his first regional title with a TKO win against Elias Espadas in August 2022 and followed up with an eight-round decision against Alexis Salazar that December.

In 2023, he decisioned Ronald Cruz during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend and stopped Roberto Valenzuela Jr. in September. The 21-year-old concluded the year in December with a scintillating fifth-round TKO against Spanish contender Jorge Fortea as the co-feature to the Robeisy Ramirez-Rafael Espinoza main event.

Zayas said, “Representing Puerto Rico on a date in which Boricua culture is celebrated and honored represents a sacred commitment that I have with my people. On June 8, I won’t just be fighting for myself. I’ll be fighting for each and every Puerto Rican who always perseveres when the going gets tough.

“This is my first main event and my first fight against a former world champion. And I plan on carrying my flag and making it shine on one of the world’s biggest stages, ‘The Mecca of Boxing,” he stated.

Zayas takin' care of business. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Teixeira (34-4, 25 KOs) upset Carlos Adames to capture the interim WBO junior middleweight world title in November 2019.

After being elevated to full champion, the 33-year-old southpaw faced multiple setbacks, losing the title to Argentine powerhouse Brian Castaño in February 2021.

In his subsequent bouts, he was controversially disqualified against Paul Valenzuela in April 2022 and suffered a decision loss against then-unbeaten Russian Magomed Kurbanov that July.

Undeterred, Teixeira bounced back with a first-round knockout win against Adrian Perez in November 2022, a second-round stoppage over Carlos Rivero last August and a fourth-round TKO against Edisson Saltarin in March.

Teixeira said, “It took longer than expected, but this fight is finally here. I can’t wait to get in the ring and put the division on notice. I did it once before when I won my world title against Adames on a Top Rank show, and I’m going to do it again with one of their rising stars.

“Zayas is a great talent, and everyone there will be supporting him during that important weekend. But my experience will make the difference, and I’ll show that on June 8.”

Shu Who?

Carrington (11-0, 7 KOs), a 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials champion, has rapidly ascended the ranks since turning pro in October 2021.

The 27-year-old secured five victories in 2023, including a second-round TKO against former world title challenger Jason Sanchez.

In his last outing, he blasted out Bernard Torres with a right hook at The Theater in February. The stoppage went viral and was a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight.

Carrington said, “Vivas should be my toughest opponent to date, but as I do every time I fight in Shu York City, I’m going to put on a crowd-pleasing performance. It’s special to fight in front of the great Puerto Rican fans. I can’t wait for June 8.”

Vivas (23-3, 12 KOs), a tenacious 29-year-old Mexican, enjoyed an undefeated 17-0 run before encountering his first pro defeat at the hands of Ruben Villa in September 2019.

He bounced back with a four-fight winning spree, including a 10-round decision over then-unbeaten Carlos Jackson in July 2020 and an eight-round triumph against Louie Coria the following May.

Despite a majority points loss to eventual title challenger Eduardo Baez in March 2022, Vivas rebounded with a win over Edy Valencia before losing to Joet Gonzalez last April.

In February, he scored a first-round TKO against Jonathan Aguilar.

The ESPN+-streamed undercard will showcase a selection of some of the best rising talents from the East Coast, Top Rank says.

Junior middleweight Jahi Tucker (10-1-1, 5 KOs), from Deer Park, New York comes off an L and a D, and meets Quincy LaVallais (17-4-1, 12 KOs). The release says Tucker overcame a tough out in Nikoloz Sekhniashvili last April, dropped a decision to Nicklaus Flaz in July, and fought to a majority draw against Francisco Daniel Veron in December.

U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (12-0, 6 KOs) will face Tarik Zaina (13-1-1, 8 KOs). He 4-0 in 2023, and the Cleveland native made his 2024 debut with a first-round stoppage win against Paulo Galdino in February.

Welterweight Elijah Flores (8-0, 3 KOs) meets Derrick Whitley Jr. (7-4-1) in a six-rounder. Flores is a Bronx native, he returns following a fourth-round TKO against Alejandro Munera in March.

Junior lightweight prospect Ofacio Falcon (10-0, 6 KOs) heads to The Theater for a third time to take on Antonio Dunton El Jr. (5-2-2, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder. Falcon, also a Bronx native, decisioned Edward Ceballos in February.

Team USA heavyweight hopeful Ali Feliz (1-0, 1 KO), from Danbury, Connecticut, makes his second appearance in the paid ranks in a four-round tilt versus Lemir Isom-Riley (4-2, 2 KOs). Feliz dispatched Anthony Woodson III in only two rounds last Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Isom-Riley last fought on the Teofimo Lopez-Jamaine Ortiz bill in February, stopping Antonio Zepeda in three rounds.

NYPD Officer To Fight On the Card

Nisa Rodriguez (1-0), a Golden Gloves champion and NYPD officer, will square off against Jordanne Garcia ( 4-3-3) in a four-round middleweight fight.

Rising flyweight Andy Dominguez (10-1, 6 KOs), who was born in Mexico and raised in The Bronx, will face Cristopher Rios (10-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.