Doug Fischer

Vargas-Santa Cruz new Feb. 24 FNC main event

Jessie Vargas (13-0, 7 knockouts) will no longer face fellow junior welterweight prospect Lanard Lane in the main event of the season premiere of Fight Night Club on Feb. 24. Instead, the 21-year-old Las Vegas resident will take on former lightweight contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz in the eight-round headliner to Golden Boy Promotions’ popular monthly club-fight series from Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles.

Lane (12-1, 7 KOs) suffered a hand injury in training, so Santa Cruz, a 10-year veteran from Lincoln Heights, Calif., has stepped in with a little under three weeks until fight time.

Santa Cruz (28-5, 17 KOs) has lost four of his last 10 bouts. However, during that span, the 30-year-old pressure frighter defeated Chikashi Inada (19-2) for the WBC’s interim 135-pound title and only lost to quality fighters, including David Diaz, Joel Casamayor, and Zab Judah. Most observers believe Santa Cruz deserved to win his controversial fight with Casamayor, who retained his RING lightweight title via razor-thin split decision in November of 2007.

Vargas fought six times last year, winning five bouts by KO including an impressive sixth-round stoppage of rugged fringe contener Ernesto Zavala on the June edition of Fight Night Club. The Roger Mayweather-trained boxer-puncher appears ready to step up to contender status in 2011. 

Fight Night Club is televised on Fox Sports Net and the network’s affiliates on a tape-delay basis. The Thursday-night shows can be watched live on and

Powerful middlewieght prospect Bastie Samir (9-0, 9 KOs) and former Irish amateur star Jamie Kavanagh (4-0, 2 KOs) are scheduled to appear on the Feb. 24 broadcast in six-round bouts. Budding welterweight KO artist Michael Finney (6-0, 6 KOs) is scheudled to fight a four rounder in a TV swing bout.

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