Former WBO featherweight titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez is scheduled to return to the ring on Feb. 2 against a junior lightweight opponent to be determined at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, site of his first of two knockout losses to Orlando Salido.
Lopez (31-2, 28 knockouts) will be back in action for the first time since March 10, when he was stopped in the 10th round by Salido in San Juan, a repeat of Salido’s eighth-round knockout victory in April of last year in Bayamon.
Lopez will return from a suspension handed down by the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico because of disparaging comments he made about referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. following his second loss to Salido.
“I’ve been training since August and I am in very good condition,” said Lopez, 29. “We will fight in another division now. I want to be world champion again and we are focused on our training.”
Lopez will appear on a new edition of DIRECTV Night of Champions on pay per view, which will include lightweight Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez (21-0, 16 KOs), flyweight McWilliams Arroyo (13-1, 11 KOs), twin brother and junior bantamweight McJoe Arroyo (11-0, 6 KOs), and junior middleweight Jonathan Gonzalez (11-0, 10 KOs) — all against opponents to be determined.
“We came back with a larger JuanMa Lopez, which goes to show that you can return to the forefront of world boxing, and this is the first step,” said Ivan Rivera, president of PR Best Boxing Promotions.
“It will be a big billboard in which fans will have the chance to see in action the contenders Chelo Gonzalez and the twins, McJoe and McWilliams Arroyo, and Gonzalez…We will be announcing their rivals soon, as we are in negotiations.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Peter Amador, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com