Junior lightweight contenders Jason Sosa and Robinson Castellanos, both aiming for another shot at a world title, will meet in a de facto elimination fight, Main Events and Golden Boy Promotions announced on Thursday.
The scheduled 10-round bout will take place Nov. 25 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the “World Championship Boxing” card headlined by the former unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev returning from his back-to-back losses to Andre Ward to face Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy.
Organizers also announced that a portion of the proceeds of the ticket sales will be donated to relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquake in Mexico City when ticket buyers use the code LATINOSUNIDOS to purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster. The donations will go to the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos fund and to Habitat for Humanity Mexico. Sosa, from Camden, New Jersey, is Puerto Rican; Castellanos is from Mexico.
“With the terrible natural disasters that have impacted Puerto Rico and Mexico recently, it was incredibly important to us that we find opportunities in boxing to give back to those affected,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “Though Puerto Rico and Mexico are rivals when it comes to boxing we stand together united to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives.”
The winner of the fight has been promised another HBO appearance to challenge for a world title against either the winner of Saturday’s HBO main event between 130-pound titleholder Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8 KOs) and Alberto Machado (18-0, 15 KOs) or the winner of an HBO fight being finalized for Dec. 9 between titlist Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) and former titlist Orlando Salido (44-13-14, 31 KOs).
In June 2016, Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs), 29, pulled a major upset by rallying to knock out Javier Fortuna to win a secondary world title in Beijing. Sosa defended the belt in Monte Carlo in November by unanimous decision against Stephen Smith. But then Sosa vacated in order to facilitate a shot at the belt held by Vasyl Lomachenko in April on HBO. Lomachenko dominated and stopped Sosa in the ninth round. The fight with Castellanos will be Sosa’s first fight since.
“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico,” Sosa said. “I have been living there for the last few months and I opened a business there. Now to see the destruction and devastation that my people are going through, it breaks my heart. It was very difficult for me to leave and begin my training camp back in New Jersey to get ready for the fight against Castellanos.
“This fight is important for many reasons. It is the beginning of the road to becoming champion again and it is my way of giving Puerto Rico a reason to smile and be proud. They are my biggest supporters and that little island shows me so much love. I can’t do much, but I can show them that this win is for them. I want to thank Castellanos and HBO for this opportunity.”
Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs), 35, is in a late-career renaissance and as battle-tested as they come.
In recent years he has pulled upsets against Rocky Juarez and Ronny Rios, whom he stopped in the fifth round and handed his first defeat. But his biggest win came on ESPN in May when he knocked out heavily favored former unified featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa in the seventh round.
Castellanos parlayed that victory into a shot at world titleholder Corrales on July 15 on HBO. Though Castellanos lost by 10th-round technical decision when an accidental head butt cut Castellanos and left him unable to continue, it was a very close fight in which he got knocked down but also dropped Corrales twice. A win over Sosa could pave the way for a rematch.
“What has happened in Mexico and Puerto Rico has been devastating,” Castellanos said. “But it has also reminded us that we are strong and united. The crisis won’t be resolved from one day to another, but however long it takes we will lift ourselves up. I know little about Jason, but I know that he was a world champion. He has already accomplished a dream that I am still looking to accomplish. I know that I’ll need a victory to fight for a world title again. Both of us will have to leave everything in the ring, and I hope that the people in New York really enjoy our fight.”