WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez will defend his title against McWilliams Arroyo on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim event in Miami, Florida on February 27th. It will be live on DAZN except in Mexico.
Martinez (17-1 13 KOs) will make his third defense of the title since winning it in 2019 with a knockout of Cristopher Rosales. The native of Mexico City scored a win over previously undefeated Jay Harris in Texas and then a stoppage victory over Moises Calleros before being added to this card. He was scheduled to defend the title against Arroyo last August but was sidelined due to a throat infection. In addition to that, he was removed from the Canelo-Smith card in December due to an illness. Now he is at full strength and looks ahead to this bout and the rest of the year.
“I am so happy to be back in the ring again and I promise you a war with Arroyo in Miami,” said Martinez. “With the unification fights ahead of me, it is important to take care of my mandatory challengers and I expect a tough fight with Arroyo. I believe that 2021 will see me unify the division and become undisputed and I can’t wait put a smile back on boxing fans faces.”
Arroyo is a Puerto Rican native who has fought for a world title on two occasions, falling short to Amnat Ruenroeng and Roman Gonzalez. He has a win over Carlos Cuadras and is coming into this bout with a three fight winning streak.
“Finally, the fight is near, and I am sure the fans will enjoy another classic between Mexico and Puerto Rico,” Arroyo said.
A heavyweight bout has been added to the card as Zhilei Zhang faces Jerry Forrest. Zhang (22-0, 17 KOs) was in action last November with a knockout win over Devin Vargas, and now he puts his unbeaten record on the line against Forrest (26-4, 20 KOs) who is looking to bounce back from his loss to Carlos Takam last July.
“February 27 is the highest profile card of the first quarter of 2021, and it will be an honor to be part of it,” Zhang said. “I can’t wait to get in the ring and wish the best of luck to my opponent Jerry Forrest.”
“Zhang is a good fighter with great size and technique, but I’ll be ready for this fight,” said Forrest. “I’m excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to ending Zhang’s unbeaten streak.”
The Canelo-Yildirim card will also have Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) against Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs), Alexis Espino (6-0, 4 KOs) vs. Ashton Sykes (5-3, 1 KO), Marc Castro against Lester Brown (4-2-3, 1 KO) and Aaron Aponte (1-0, 1 KO) will fight an opponent to be named later.
Cover photo by Ed Mulholland of Matchroom Boxing USA