Mexico’s Rey Vargas will defend his junior featherweight world title for the first time on Ronny Rios’ home turf in Southern California.
They will meet on Aug. 26 (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Wednesday. The fight will serve as the “World Championship Boxing” co-feature on the card headlined by the vacant junior middleweight world title bout between Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), a former four-division champion, and Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs).
Golden Boy also announced that it has signed Vargas to a multi-year promotional agreement. Terms were not disclosed.
“I am thrilled to defend my world championship for the first time on such a special night at StubHub Center,” Vargas said. “I know Ronny Rios is an extremely tough challenger, but he has never tasted power like mine, and I am confident I will come away with the victory.”
On Feb. 25, Vargas (29-0, 22 KOs), 26, faced Gavin McDonnell on his home turf in England and won a majority decision to claim the 122-pound world title belt vacated by Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa upon his retirement last fall.
The title shot is a long time coming for Rios (28-1, 13 KOs), 27, of Santa Ana, California, who was a highly touted prospect when he turned pro in 2008. He was closing in on a title shot when he suffered a fifth-round knockout loss in a major upset to Robinson Castellanos in October 2014.
Since then Rios has won five fights in a row to put himself back in position for the chance to fight for a belt.
“This is a dream come true for any boxer. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to capitalize on the journey me and my coach have been on for several years,” Rios said. “Vargas will provide us with a tough game plan but I’ve been working my whole life for this opportunity. He has good power and a very good coach with (Hall of Famer) Nacho (Beristain), but I have a great team as well. I am thankful that GBP has gotten this fight for me – and I expect a tough, tough war from Rey.”
The card will compete directly with Floyd Mayweather’s exit from retirement to face UFC star Conor McGregor in a heavily hyped junior middleweight boxing match on Showtime PPV at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya took a veiled shot at the bout when announcing Vargas-Rios.
“People who want to see real fights, for real world championships, are in for a real treat on Aug. 26th,” De La Hoya said. “For the last many summers, StubHub Center has played host to the highest action fights in our sport. That tradition will continue at the end of August.”