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World-Class Super Lightweights In Separate Bouts On Televised Undercard Of “Big Time Boxing USA: Shields Vs. Joanisse”

Live On DAZN, catch Rivera vs. Roldan and Ergashev vs. Smith at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena on July 27.
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Boxing fans are in for a treat as Salita Promotions announces two exciting super lightweight bouts on the undercard of their upcoming event, “BIG TIME BOXING USA: SHIELDS VS. JOANISSE.” The highlight of the undercard will be a 10-round co-feature fight between world-ranked contender Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera and 140-pound contender Hugo Alberto “Nato” Roldan. This action-packed bout will take place on Saturday, July 27th at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and will be televised live on DAZN.

In the lead-up to the epic clash between Undisputed Middleweight World Champion Claressa “GWOAT” Shields and WBC Women’s Heavyweight World Champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse, fight fans can look forward to an action-packed televised undercard. One of the undercard’s highlights will be a 10-round super lightweight showdown between power-punching former world-title challenger Shohjahon “Descendant of Tamerlane” Ergashev and Julian “The Quiet Storm” Smith.

“The super lightweight division is one of boxing’s deepest in talent and in personality,” acknowledged Dmitriy Salita. “Shohjahon Ergashev and Michel Rivera are both top contenders and they are in with live challengers who are looking to make their own claims to fame. These fights are going to be barnburners with the winners in line for world title shots.”

Hailing from Santo Domingo and now fighting out of Miami, Michel Rivera has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the super lightweight division.  The 26-year-old boxer boasts an impressive record of 25-1, with 14 victories coming by way of knockout.

Rivera’s path to prominence wasn’t easy. He earned his stripes by defeating a string of highly ranked opponents on national television.  These included several undefeated or one-loss fighters like Ladarius Miller (then 21-1), Jon Fernandez (then 21-1), Jose Matias Romero (then 24-1), Joseph Adorno (then 14-0-2), and Jerry Perz then (14-1).  Along the way, he captured both the IBF-USBA and World Boxing Council Continental Americas Light Lightweight titles.

 Currently rated WBC #13, Rivera, who some say bears a resemblance to a young Muhammad Ali, was last seen shaking off his only career defeat by scoring an impressive unanimous-decision victory over former world champion Sergey Lipinets (UD 10) in November. “My fans can expect a real fast, explosive Michel Rivera,” said Rivera during a break in training. “I’ve got a new team, but the same goal. And that’s to be a world champion and dominate the division.”

31-year-old Hugo Roldan (22-2-1, 7 KOs) from La Banda, Santiago del Estero in Argentina has already beaten former South American middleweight champion Lucas Bastida (TKO 3); former Argentinean super lightweight champion Damián Yapur (UD 10); former South American lightweight champion Sergio Gil (KO 1); former Argentine welterweight champion, Chaco Victor Hugo Velázquez (UD 10) and WBC Latino Super Lightweight Champion Emiliano “Cobrita” Domínguez twice (both UD 10) in his six-year career.

Undefeated Roldan arrived in North America seeking new challenges, but faced setbacks. He lost two close decisions in ten-round bouts, one to Joseph Adorno in September 2022 and another to Batyrzhan Jukembayev last year. In between these fights, Roldan returned to Argentina and triumphed, winning the WBA Fedelatin Welterweight Championship via a unanimous decision over Jose Hugo Acevedo in February of last year.

“We’ve fought twice in the United States and lost close decisions because of local favoritism,” said Roldan. “This time we are not leaving it in the hands of the judges.”

Currently rated IBF #13, Shohjahon Ergashev (24-1, 21 KOs) from Detroit via Rakhmon, Uzbekistan, is a popular southpaw puncher, who trains at the Kronk Gym with renowned trainer SugarHill Steward.

Ergashev was undefeated leading up to his championship challenge against Subriel Matias in November. The fight, for Matias’ IBF Super Lightweight World Title, ended in defeat for Ergashev.

He dominated the early part of his career and notably stopped the undefeated Sonny Fredrickson in just three rounds back in January 2018. In 2019, he handed Mykal Fox his first professional loss with a unanimous decision victory. In his native Uzbekistan, Ergashev is a celebrity superstar with over 2.7 million Instagram followers. Most recently, the 32-year-old starred in a national television commercial for the INFINITI QX50 line of luxury cars.

“I am happy to be back in the ring,” said Ergashev. “I look forward to climbing back up the rankings, winning a world title and knocking out my competition. Don’t blink on July 27. I am putting on a big knockout show.”

Overcoming childhood adversity including contracting meningitis as an infant, causing him to become deaf and being teased, mimicked, and bullied because of his speech and deafness, Julian Smith emerged from a tough Chicago neighborhood to become a distinguished amateur boxer. He compiled an impressive record of 84-7 and even emerged victorious twice at the Chicago Golden Gloves Championships before turning professional in 2018.

Turning pro in 2018, Smith has racked up a strong record (10-0) against tough competition. He boasts impressive wins over previously undefeated opponents, shutting out Alfredo Escarcega (14-0-1) in July 2022 and stopping Orestes Velazquez (8-0) in the ninth round this February.

Having always had to work harder than others to succeed, Smith says he feels a victory over Ergashev will be a major step in helping him become the first deaf African American welterweight champion of the world.

                “I have worked hard for this opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it,” said Smith. “Ergashev is a good fighter, but he is in the way of my dreams. I’ve been the underdog my whole life and I’m good at it. July 27 will be a big step toward my goals and I’m training harder than ever to make that happen.”

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