ESPN and Top Rank promotions will take a championship doubleheader down to the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona featuring WBO lightweight championship main event Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza and a WBO junior featherweight title fight Isaac Dogboe vs Hidenori Otake on August 25.
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) was once known as a Manny Paquiao’s main sparring partner and for years he was chasing his dream of becoming a world champion, at 36 the age when most fighters retire, he finally achieved that goal by defeating Paulus Moses in Reno, Nevada by unanimous decision to capture the WBO lightweight championship.
It was an emotional moment for the ring veteran having failed three times for the title, including what many believe was a robbery when he fought British boxer Ricky Burns in 2013 to a Draw, that fight was the most painful because he beat up the champion in his backyard but wasn’t given the nod.
Tonight Beltran will defend his title for the first time against former IBF super-featherweight world champion Jose Pedraza. A win can also match him up with a big money unification bout against WBA lightweight king Vasyl Lomachenko.
Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs), come from Puerto Rico and only has one loss to his resume, and that was a knockout to Gervonta “Tank” Davis in 2017 at the Barclays in Brooklyn, New York, a fight where he also lost his 130-pound belt.
Since losing to Tank Davis the 29-year-old moved up to lightweight and was able to capture to unanimous decision wins to build his confidence back up again.
He feels tonight is his best opportunity to become a two division champion by defeating the aging Beltran for the WBO title.
Isaac Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) from Ghana made a statement when he pulled off a huge upset by defeating previously undefeated Jessie Magdaleno by KO and taking his WBO championship.
The young African boxer is short in stature but his stamina and persistence is what gets him through fights.
The young 23-year-old Dogboe will defend his title for the fist time against 37-year-old Japanese boxing veteran Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs). This will be a tough battle since the Japanese challenger is riding a 9 fight win streak and the durability to take punishment.
Fight fans can watch the undercard fights online through the ESPN+ live streaming service at 7:30 PM ET/PT followed by the main TV broadcast championship doubleheader Beltran vs Pedraza and Dogboe vs. Otakeon ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 PM ET/PT on August 25, 2018.