MERIDA, Mexico—World Boxing Council featherweight champion Elio “The Kid” Rojas will make his first title defense against WBC No. 3-ranked Guty Espadas on Saturday at Paliforum Zamna in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
Cancun Boxing and Don King Productions are promoting the event, which has been branded “The Kukulcan Battle at Yucatan, Mexico.” The same firms promoted the highly successful 2008 WBC heavyweight championship match between Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and Oleg Maskaev in Cancun.
Rojas (21-1, 13 KOs), 27, a native of the Dominican Republic now fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y., arrived in Merida late last week to make final preparations for Saturday’s match.
“Merida and all of Yucatan are very beautiful and I’m happy to be here,” Rojas said. “I have been greeted warmly by the Mexican people, and I want to win them over in the ring. It is always an honor to fight in front of fans that love boxing and are part of all the great history here.”
Espadas (45-7, 28 KOs) is a native of Merida who has tangled in the past with big names like Erik Morales and Rocky Juarez. A win here in front of his hometown fans would be the highlight of his career.
Meeting fighters on their home turf is nothing new for the rapidly emerging Rojas. He won the WBC crown at the 126-pound limit in Tokyo, Japan, winning a convincing unanimous decision over then-champion Takahiro Aoh on July 14, 2009.