Doug Fischer

Favela steps in for Santa Cruz in FNC main event

Junior welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas will face Cristian Favela in the eight-round main event to the season premiere of Fight Night Club on Thursday. Favela, a 31-year-old journeyman with 66 pro bouts, is the third change in opponent for Vargas (13-0, 8 knockouts).

The 21-year-old Las Vegas resident was originally scheduled to face Lanard Lane but the once-beaten Philadelphia prospect injured his hand in training. Lane was replaced by Jose Armando Santa Cruz but the former lightweight contender failed his neural exam on Friday and had to be scratched from the card.

The matchmakers of Golden Boy Promotions, which runs the monthly club show series at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, had to scramble over the weekend and a national holiday on Monday to find a late substitute for Vargas.

It wasn’t easy finding a fighter willing to commit to the Feb. 24 date. For starters they only had a few days notice and Vargas, who is trained by Roger Mayweather, is punishing boxer-puncher.

However, Favela, an L.A. based veteran from Los Mochis, Mexico, has faced every type of fighter during his 13-year career — including many punchers.

Favela (28-31-7, 18 KOs) is 1-1-5 in his last seven bouts, but four of the five losses (all of which were competitive) were to unbeaten prospects, including Abdullai Amidu, who had stopped 17 opponnets in 18 consecutive victories. The draw was against welterweight fringe contender Lanardo Tyner (24-3).

Favela has only been stopped once in his 66-bout career, a ninth-round stoppage to Zaid Zavaleta in 2007, according to, but eye witnesses to the bout, which took place in Mexico, say that Favela was disqualified in the ninth round.

On the undercard of Vargas-Favela, which will be televised on Fox Sports Net and broadcast live on, ultra-powerful super middleweight prospect Bastie Samir (9-0, 9 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Ghana, takes on Eddie Hunter (5-4-2, 2 KOs), of Seattle, in a scheduled six-round bout, and former amateur star Jamie Kavanagh, of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Ireland, faces Ramon Flores (3-10-2, 3 KOs), of Willimington, Calif., in a scheduled six-round junior welterweight bout.

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