Welterweight world titleholder Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against Yordenis Ugas on March 9 is on the move and the undercard is also set.
The fight, initially announced for an undetermined venue in Las Vegas, has been moved to the Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly the StubHub Center), in Carson, California, Premier Boxing Champions announced. No reason for the venue switch was given.
Also solidified was the televised undercard (Fox and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET), which will include two additional bouts: a 10-round cruiserweight contest between former world title challengers Edwin Rodriguez (30-2, 20 KOs) and Andrzej Fonfara (30-5, 18 KOs) and an eight-rounder between red-hot heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba (8-0, 7 KOs) taking on battle-tested veteran Amir Mansour (23-3-1, 16 KOs).
Rodriguez, 33, of Worcester, Massachusetts, who will end a 13-month layoff, lost a lopsided decision to then-super middleweight champion Andre Ward in 2013. Rodriguez has won two fights in a row since a second-round knockout loss to Thomas Williams Jr. in April 2016.
“Fonfara is a great fighter and so am I. It’s going to be very entertaining for the fans. I bring it and he brings it,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll adapt as the fight goes on and I’ll be ready for the best Fonfara.”
Poland native Fonfara, 31, of Chicago, returning from a nine-month layoff, twice lost light heavyweight world title fights to Adonis Stevenson, by close decision and by second-round knockout two fights ago. In a shocker, he also was stopped in the first round by Joe Smith Jr. in 2016, but also owns knockout wins against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Chad Dawson.
“I know Rodriguez is a strong fighter. He moved up to the cruiserweight division like me, so I think this is a 50-50 fight,” Fonfara said. “It’s a good fight because me and him are tough fighters. We like to go to war. I know Edwin. There’s no animosity and once we fight and I beat him, we can go out have a beer and talk.”
Ajagba, 24, a 2016 Nigerian Olympian fighting out of Houston, is one of boxing’s top prospects, gaining notoriety in a nationally televised fight last August in which opponent Curtis Harper walked out of the ring after touching gloves to start the first round, resulting in a disqualification win for Ajagba.
Mansour, 46, a southpaw from Wilmington, Delaware, is a significant step up in opposition for Ajagba. Mansour owns a win over fringe contender Travis Kauffman and a draw with former title challenger Gerald Washington, but has lost to former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham and former heavyweight title challenger Dominic Breazeale, as well as suffering a third-round knockout to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic in his last fight in September.
Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs), 31, of Las Vegas, kicked off his second welterweight title reign in September by outpointing Danny Garcia for a vacant belt. He will make his first defense against Miami-based Cuban defector Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs), 32, and is settling into training camp.
“We’ve already been in training camp for a few weeks working on conditioning and building up the fundamentals,” Porter said. “Ugas is a strong, aggressive fighter who’s responsible with his defense. It’s going to be up to me to get him to drop his hands, take some risks and then land my shots. It should make for a very entertaining fight and I can’t wait to get back in the ring and do what I do best.”
Ugas, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, has won eight fights in a row to earn the title shot. He easily outpointed Cesar Barrionuevo in a title eliminator on the Porter-Garcia undercard to earn the mandatory position.
“This is a huge opportunity to make my dreams come true of becoming a world champion,” Ugas said. “Shawn Porter is a great champion and someone I respect. On March 9 when the bell rings, I’m willing to leave it all on the line. I can guarantee that and you will hear the words ‘and the new [champion].'”