WBA super lightweight champion Alberto Puello will have his first defense of the title on May 13th against Rolando Romero at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It headlines a Premier Boxing Champions event which will be broadcasted live on Showtime. In addition to Puello-Romero, there are two more fights in the super lightweight division on the card as Rances Barthelemy faces Omar Juarez and Batyr Akhmedov takes on Kenneth Sims Jr.
Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) had the biggest win of his career last August against Akhmedov to claim the WBA title, and the Dominican hopes to carry that momentum over to this bout. He currently resides in Las Vegas and is under the tutelage of Bob Santos who has guided multiple fighters to great success, including WBA super featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia. Puello utilizes a mixture of boxing skill and good defense to win his fights, and that is what made him get to the world championship level. He feels that those attributes will separate him from Romero when they step in the ring.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I have to defend my world title live on Showtime,” Puello said. “‘Rolly’ has fought at the elite level, so I’m looking forward to testing myself and showing why I am the champion. I’m confident in my skills and I’m coming with everything I’ve got.”
Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) will bring his flashy, flamboyant style to the ring to try to win the world title. He scored wins over Jackson Marinez in 2020 plus Avery Sparrow and Anthony Yigit in 2021 before he took on Gervonta “Tank” Davis last May in Brooklyn. Romero fell short in that encounter, and looks to bounce back in the winning column by getting a victory over Puello.
“I’m excited to become a world champion on May 13th,” said Romero. “Everyone knows what I bring to the ring. I hope Puello comes in 100%, because I ready to show that I’m an elite fighter in this division.”
The co-feature bout will have the former two division champion Barthelemy in the ring against Juarez, as Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) tries to bounce back from a loss to Gary Antuanne Russell last July. The Cuban who now fights out of Las Vegas held titles at super featherweight and lightweight before moving up to super lightweight. He holds victories over notable fighters such as Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco, Mickey Bey and Denis Shafikov.
“I’m looking forward to putting on a good show against a young, hungry fighter like Omar Juarez,” Barthelemy said. “At this stage in my career, it’s about building my legacy, and that means getting a knockout on May 13. My hands will be flying when that bell rings.”
Juarez (14-1, 5 KOs) is a 23-year-old from Brownsville, Texas who is also known for being a motivational speaker outside of the ring. He has been speaking to children in school since the age of 16, and it is something that he wanted to do since childhood. In the ring, Juarez is riding a three fight winning streak which include victories over Ryan Karl in February and Austin Dulay in December of last year. A win over Barthelemy would be huge for Juarez as he feels that it will open the door for more opportunities to climb up the ranks at super lightweight.
“This is the biggest fight of my life and I’m grateful to my team for making it happen,” said Juarez. “brings a tremendous amount of experience to the ring, so I know that I have to make the proper adjustments as this fight goes on.”
“I know if I win this fight, big doors will continue to open for me. So believe me when I say that I’m coming to win and win impressively.”
Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) looks to rebound from his close decision loss to Puello by getting a victory to open the telecast on May 13th. The 32-year-old from Uzbekistan has wins over Argenis Mendez and Ismael Barroso on his record, but also has lost to former champion Mario Barrios. Akhmedov knows that in order to get another shot at a world title, he has to win against Sims.
“I’m looking forward to my return to the ring this May,” Akhmedov said. “The fans know that I’m always in exciting fights, and this matchup is going to be more of the same.”
Sims (19-2-1, 7 KOs) has won six consecutive fights since May of 2018 which has him ranked by the WBA at number 13. The Chicago native has beaten Elvis Rodriguez, Keeshawn Williams, and most recently Rock Mythril back in December. A win over Akhmedov – who is currently ranked number 3 in the WBA – would make Sims a potential world title contender in the near future. He is looking forward to the bout against Akhmedov
“I’m really excited about this fight,” Sims said. “This is what I’ve been asking for and will bring the best out in me. This is not gonna be an easy task, but I will prove that I belong with the big names in the 140-pound division.”