The four bantamweights competing on the doubleheader Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California on Thursday.
Combined, the records of the boxers are 62-1-1, but each will be facing his toughest opponent to date on the Shobox televised card on Friday night.
In what should be an exciting 10-round main event between boxers with contrasting styles, unbeaten, world-ranked Jonathan Romero (21-0, 12 KOs) of Cali, Colombia, faces Efrain Esquivias Jr. (16-1, 9 KOs), of Gardena, Calif., for the No. 2 ranking in the IBF.
A terrific ShoBox co-feature will match Roman Morales (12-0, 6 KOs), of San Ardo, Calif., and Jonathan Arellano (13-0-1, 3 KOs), of Ontario, Calif., in an eight-round match for the WBC Latino Championship..
WEIGHTS: Romero and Esquivias each weighed 122 pounds, but Esquivias had to shed two pounds to do it. Morales and Arellano also tipped the scale at 122.
Below is what the fighters had to say on Thursday:
“It’s exciting to be back on SHOWTIME and I just love the attention and exposure it brings to me.
“I expect Esquivias to come forward from the start and try and get right in my face, so I am prepared to do whatever it takes. Whether it means I have to box and move around or slug in the middle of the ring, I’m ready. I hurt my left thumb in my last fight, but it is 100 percent now.
“I feel I am mentally stronger than when I fought Chris Avalos (Romero won a split decision last Dec. 2 on ShoBox), and look to put on a better show this time.
“Esquivias is a good fighter. I’ve watched a lot of tape and know he is very aggressive and will be coming to fight his fight. But his style is good for me and I will adjust to whatever he is trying to do.
“This is an important fight with a top ranking on the line. I hope if I win I can fight for the world title in my next fight. I know I feel I’m ready.’’
“This fight is for No. 2 in the IBF, so it is very important. I’m looking to win, make a good impression and fight for the title.
“I’ve seen Romero’s fights. I’m not sure he likes to get pressured. But for sure I’m going to make him go backwards.
“I’ve trained hard and have worked especially hard getting off to a fast start. I know I’m a slow starter. I’m expecting to start fast and set a good pace. I like to be a crowd-pleaser and entertain the fans.
“Even though I thought I won my fight against Chris Avalos (he lost a majority decision last June 23), I didn’t get discouraged when the decision didn’t go my way. In fact, it made me become more motivated and work even harder.
“I plan to bring it against Romero. That’s my style. I think I showed in my last fight (against Avalos) that I belonged. Now I need to show that I can win.’’
All pic supplied by Tom Casino/Showtime