Robert Guerrero returns to ring against Kamegai; Gary Russell and Lomachenko to battle for belt also

May 14, 2014

After a long hiatus from the ring following his blowout loss to Floyd Mayweather, former four-division champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero will make his anticipated return to face Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai in a 12-round welterweight bout on Saturday, June 21, at StubHub Center in Carson, California.

"I'm excited to be making my ring return on June 21, especially for my fans in California," said Guerrero, who last fought against Floyd Mayweather on May 4, 2013. "Although I've been out for a while, make no mistake about it, I'm in great shape. I'm hungry and I'm looking forward to the challenge Kamegai presents.  I am just happy to be fighting again while bringing excitement to the hottest division in boxing, the welterweight division. I have no doubt that I will be victorious in my return."

Guerrero pulled off perhaps one of the best sales pitches in recent boxing history in landing the Mayweather fight, despite his significant inactivity and one lone impressive division win against Andre Berto.  Much of the boxing media, complicit in the charade, marched along to his drum, agreeing that a Mayweather matchup was intriguing, rather pointing out that other more deserving fighters should have had the opportunity.

Nevertheless, Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs), of Gilroy, California, is a southpaw boxer-puncher and a quality fighter, and Tokyo's Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 KOs) has a reputation as a big puncher at 147 pounds, so this fight should be  interesting to say the least.

"It's good to fight in the United States again at StubHub Center, especially after I was treated so well by the fans there the first time," said Kamegai. "This time though, I'm going to get the win. While Robert Guerrero is a great fighter, I will be better than him on June 21."

On the undercard is a potentially outstanding bout between two skilled young fighters in unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. and Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko.  The 12-round fight will be for the vacant WBO World Featherweight Title.

Talented and fast, Russell (24-0, 14 KOs) seemingly will be in for his toughest professional challenge against Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO).

Lomachenko has an outstanding amateur resume, with two Olympic Gold medals and a remarkable 396-1 amateur record. After debuting with a fourth-round knockout of Jose Ramirez, he lost his second fight against Orlando Salido for the vacant WBO featherweight title. Still, his performance in that split decision loss earned him a second shot at a world title.

"I know how good Gary Russell is, and it's going to be a good fight for the fans on June 21," said Lomachenko. "I learned a lot from my fight with Orlando Salido, and I will be the best I can against Russell. I want that world title and I plan on taking it."

Lomachenko and Russell are promoted by rivals Top Rank and Golden Boy respectively, so in order to land the promotion, a purse bid was required.  Golden Boy outbid Top Rank by a mere $2500 reportedly, and thus, will promote the bout exclusively.

"This is the moment I've been waiting for, and now it is time to show the world my boxing skills and talent," said Russell. "Lomachenko's reputation speaks for itself. I respect him as a fighter but he doesn't know what he is about to face fighting me. He's going to find out that I'm on a whole different level and come June 21, that belt is going to be mine to take home."

In addition, former world champion Devon Alexander returns to meet Jesus Soto Karass in a 10-round super welterweight clash that could be a crossroads fight for each man.

"I had a nice break after my last fight and it allowed me to regroup, recharge my batteries, and get ready for another run at the title," said Alexander. "Soto Karass is a tough guy, there's no denying that, but tough won't be enough when we fight. I'm a man on a mission now, and he's in the way."

A fast southpaw, Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs), 27, has won world titles at 140 and 147 pounds, and he is on a quest to regain his welterweight belt after a hard-fought loss against Shawn Porter last December. He will get a stiff challenge in rugged, 31-year-old veteran Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs).

"Devon Alexander is fast and slick, and you have to respect his skills, but if he doesn't respect mine, he's going to get knocked out," said Soto Karass. "And even if he does respect me, I'm going to beat him on June 21 and get back in line for a title fight."

By Staff of and news services

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