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Venado Lopez: It's Going to be a War

Luis Alberto "Venado" Lopez is determined to turn his third world title defense into a war of attrition. Lopez will defend his IBF featherweight world title against Japanese contender Reiya Abe on Saturday, March 2 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

Lopez-Abe will serve as the co-feature to the vacant WBA featherweight world championship showdown between Uzbek phenom Otabek Kholmatov and American standout Raymond Ford.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale and can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, charge by phone by calling 800.771.7711, or online at

Kholmatov-Ford & Lopez-Abe will headline a stacked card streaming live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+. Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) captured the IBF title by defeating Josh Warrington in his hometown of Leeds, England, in December 2022. The fighting pride of Mexicali, Mexico, defended his crown by traveling to Belfast to beat hometown hero Michael Conlan via fifth-round TKO. Lopez then beat division mainstay Joet Gonzalez with a hard-earned unanimous decision last September. The 30-year-old looks to vanquish his mandatory challenger as he preps to face the other champs in his division. Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs) is coming off a points win over former two-division world champion Kiko Martinez to earn his shot at the belt.

Following a recent training session in Santa Fe Springs, California, this is what Lopez had to say:

“I decided to do my camp here in Los Angeles so I can be a little closer to my family. I also like it because of the altitude I get to experience when I go to the mountains. There are a lot of good spots to run out here. I feel great out here."

“We’ve gotten tall southpaws who move a lot because we’ll need to neutralize Reiya Abe's legs. We’re going to need to cut the ring off a lot, so we’re preparing for his style of fighting."

“He's a very slippery fighter. He doesn't really like to brawl. So, it’s going to be difficult to catch him in the early rounds. But we’ve got great sparring partners. You can tell by the black eye one of them left me. I think we’re doing a great job, and I expect to win this fight by knockout.”

“My long-term goal is to fight the other champions and become a unified champion. I welcome a fight with whomever is next in line. Honestly, I want to unify the titles quickly and establish myself as a great champion and then move up to 130 pounds.”

“The fans know that I give everything in the ring. I always look for the fight. I always look to win by knockout. They know that I come here to fight. So, it’s going to be a real war. It's going to be a bit complicated in the early rounds, but everyone knows that when I step in the ring, it’s always going to be a war.”


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