WBO super-lightweight king Teofimo Lopez returns to the ring on June 29 when he defends his belt against Canada’s Steve Claggett in Florida’s James L. Knight Center.

The Calgary title challenger may be a bit of a mystery to some, but despite the seven losses on his record, Claggett is strong and capable of giving Lopez a run for his money.

“This is like a Rocky Balboa story for Steve Claggett,” stated Lopez, attempting to dodge patronising territory. “I’m very much looking forward to what kind of style I’m going to see. There were no other fighters who were interested in fighting me, and I felt like he would give not just me, but the fans as well, a great fight to watch.”

One of the fighters people were interested in seeing Lopez fight is Puerto Rican punisher Subriel Matias, who defends his own IBF strap on June 15. 

Matias is signed with Matchroom, and Lopez with Top Rank, so promotional logistics could be hard to move around in that case. Keyshawn Davis has been vocal about his desire to tackle Teo and that could be next, providing Claggett is dealt with first.

Lopez, of Honduran descent, was raised in New York before relocating to Florida and beyond. Now, he gets a chance to impress a local crowd with his skills. Claggett’s come-forward style is perfect for Teo to look good against.

“I have always wanted to fight in South Florida, where I grew up and developed as a fighter,” Lopez continued. 

“I never thought it would happen, but now, on June 29, I get the opportunity to do so not just as a world champion but as the lineal world champion of my division. 

“This has been one of my goals since turning pro, and I’m motivated to showcase my talent there in front of my Honduran fans and the entire Latino community.”

Keeping busy on Eye of the Tiger shows has benefitted Claggett who is on a nine-fight winning streak since losing to Mathieu Germain in 2021. 

“The Dragon” rebounded three months after that loss by beating Emanuel Lopez. Beating another Lopez would take his career to an unprecedented level, given his achievements so far.

“I have worked my entire life for this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it. I am more motivated than ever before, and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got,” said the challenger.

Supporting Lopez and Claggett is Robeisy Ramirez, who returns to the ring for the first time since losing his WBO featherweight title to unheralded Mexican Rafael Espinoza.

“Last December, we put on an action-packed battle, a worthy ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate,” said the Cuban, referencing his brawl with the relentless Espinoza. 

“While the result was unexpected, we also proved to the boxing world just how amazing a Miami crowd can be. 

“On June 29, I will begin my quest to recapture my world title and return to the top, where I know I belong. It’s Cuba vs. Mexico again, and I’m excited to have the loyal support of the Cuban community of Miami.”

Robeisy lost his title in a war to Espinoza

It is indeed Cuba vs. Mexico, and the Mexican, this time, is Brandon Leon Benitez. He has won 21 of his 23 outings and defeated Can Xu three fights ago, which is reasonable recent form. However, both of his losses have been by stoppage, so hard-punching Ramirez will no doubt target that vulnerability.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to show that I belong among the best of the division. But I want Robeisy Ramirez to know that this is nothing new to me. I know what it’s like to go on enemy turf against a tough former world champion,” said Benitez.

“Like I did with Can, I’m going to make it a tough night for Ramirez. I respect him as a fighter, but as soon as I get in the ring, I’m not going to stop throwing punches until my hand is raised.”

Putting down his ESPN microphone to return to action, Nico Ali Walsh gets the chance to avenge his sole career loss by rematching Sona Akale. It will be fought over either six or eight rounds. The exact duration is unclear at the time of writing.

Undefeated Dominican prospect Rohan Polanco takes on Mexico’s Luis Hernandez over eight rounds on the Florida undercard. 

Another unbeaten (one draw) Dominican, Euri Cedeno, steps into the ring for an eight-rounder against Colombia’s Dormedes Potes.

Yan Santana has knocked out every opponent he’s faced so far. He now faces Brandon Valdes in a 10-round contest.

Heavyweight Lorenzo Medina tackles Colby Madison over six and Puerto Rico’s Bryan “The Hunter” Polaco faces Richard Acevedo, also over six.