Orestes Velazquez and Khalil Coe added to Orlando bill
August 21 2023
‘Big Steppa’ and unbeaten Cuban faces tough tests on September 23
Orestes Velazquez and Khalil Coe continue their journeys in the pro game with step-up fights on Saturday September 23 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, live worldwide on DAZN, as they take on Mohamed Soumaoro and Kenmon Evans respectively.
Velazquez (7-0 6 KOs) will defend his WBA International Super-Lightweight title and look to build on his #9 ranking in the WBA in the process. The Cuban amateur standout, who had over 160 fights for the national team before defecting and moving to Florida, is in his fourth straight ten round contest and went the distance for the first time in his last outing, when vastly experienced Argentine Marcelino Lopez extended the 30 year old to the final bell in Las Vegas in March.
Soumaoro (13-1 6 KOs) will be looking to hand a first defeat to Velazquez and take his third ‘0’ in as many fights in Florida. The Canadian-Guinean comes into the bout on the back of impressive upset wins over unbeaten pair Jusiyah Shirley (PTS 6) and Angel Lupercio (TKO 8) in December and March, and the 30 year old will aim to crash into the top ten by completing a hat-trick of big victories.
Coe (6-0-1 4 KOs) continues to rise through the ranks at Light-Heavyweight, and ‘Big Steppa’ will be looking for his own hat-trick as he hunts a third KO win of 2023 in Orlando. The Jersey City man put Buneet Bisla away in the seventh round of his first eight round battle in June on New York, and the 27 year old will meet Evans (10-1-1 3 KOs) over that distance on September 23, with the Florida man looking to bounce back to winning ways.
Velazquez will kick off the main card live on DAZN while Coe will headline the Before the Bell section of the action, and he is joined there by three Floridians looking to make an impact on the big stage, with Super-Welterweight Jeovanny Estella and Super-Flyweight Jasmine Artega tasting action over eight rounds while Bantamweight Roberto Rivera Gomez kicks the whole night off over four rounds, with all three fighters to be matched imminently.
The undercard get to shine on Matchroom’s return to the Sunshine State on a bill topped by World-rated Super-Lightweight Richardson Hitchins taking on Jose Zepeda for the WBC Silver and IBF North American Super-Lightweight titles, on a night promoted in association with Boxlab Promotions.
Hitchins (16-0 7 KOs) shone in his last outing in his home city, putting New Jersey’s John Bauza on the canvas during a shut-out win at Madison Square Garden, and the Brooklyn ace now lurks with intent at #6 with the WBO and #7 with the IBF in the 140lb rankings.
Zepeda (36-3 27 KOs) represents a significant barrier to Hitchins’ plans to move into World title contention though, and the Californian, who has challenged for World titles at both 135 and 140lbs, will be eyeing Hitchins’ lofty standings to reignite his own World championship plans.
The Welterweight division will move one step closer to crowning an undisputed champion on the night as Jessica McCaskill and Sandy Ryan meet for three of the belts.
WBA and WBC champion McCaskill (12-3 5 KOs) is no stranger to undisputed status, having ripped all the hardware at 147 from long-reigning ruler Cecilia Braekhus in August 2020 and then holding onto the belts in a rematch the following March. The Chicagoan defended the belts twice more against Kandi Wyatt and Alma Ibarra before the lure of becoming undisputed champion at a second weight saw her drop down to 140lbs to take on Chantelle Cameron in Abu Dhabi in November, with the Briton coming out on top on that occasion.
WBO belt holder Ryan (6-1 2 KOs) will look to make it back-to-back losses to Brits for McCaskill, as the Derby talent puts the title she won in her last outing against Marie Pier Houle in Cardiff, Wales in April. Ryan, who holds wins over former World champions Anahi Sanchez and Erica Farias, steps straight into the biggest fight in the division in her first defense and can add two belts to take her collection up to three in just her eighth pro fight.
A third fight for the bill in Orlando sees Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams press his claims for World title action at Middleweight as he tackles Steve Rolls.
Williams (14-0 10 KOs) is back in the States having taken out River Wilson-Bent in eight rounds in London in April – his third fight in England – and the Middleweight contender is right on the cusp of landing a World title shot sitting at #2 with the WBA, #10 with the IBF and #11 with the WBC.
Rolls (22-2 12 KOs) will test those ambitions to the fullest though, having shared the ring with Gennadiy Golovkin and Edgar Berlanga in his 24-fight career, and the Canadian will look to get back into contention himself with the WBA International and IBF North American titles on the line.