Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Four months on from his fifth-round demolition of Michael Conlan in Belfast, Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez (28-2, 16KOs) heads to Texas’ American Bank Center to take on Californian Joet Gonzalez (26-3, 15KOs) in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The bout sees Lopez search for his second defence of the IBF featherweight title he claimed with a narrow majority-decision victory over Josh Warrington in Leeds ten months ago.

The 30-year-old announced himself on British shores with a seventh-round knockout of Isaac Lowe in December 2021, flooring the Morecambe featherweight two times in the process.

Both men face-off at Thursday’s weigh-in.

Lopez’s momentum continued from then on as he claimed two more knockout victories in Mexico before becoming champion against Warrington in his next outing.

His last seven fights have seen five end inside the distance as he continued to assert himself as a pillar among a flourishing global featherweight division.

Fellow Top Rank stablemate Robeisy Ramirez currently holds the WBO version at 126lbs and a unification match-up between the pair seems likely should the Mexican avoid defeat against Gonzalez this weekend.

Lopez defeated Warrington in his own backyard to become IBF featherweight champion in December last year. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Gonzalez meanwhile is no stranger to fighting at world level, losing out on the WBO featherweight crown on two separate occasions in the last four years.

Shakur Stevenson comprehensively out-boxed the American over twelve rounds in October 2019 to claim the vacant title before Emanuel Navarrete repeated the result two years later.

The 29-year-old re-grouped with a win before suffering his third loss to Isaac Dogboe by split-decision in July last year and remains a heavy underdog heading into the fight in the Lone Star State.

Ortiz returns after ‘Loma’ loss while Xayas hopes to shine on undercard

The undercard sees Massachusett’s Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8KOs) make his ring return eleven months on from his narrow unanimous decision defeat to multi-weight champion Vasyl Lomachenko at lightweight.

Ortiz, who’s fought at 135lbs for the majority of his career, makes the move up to super-lightweight this time out as he faces-off against Mexico’s Antonio Moran (29-5-1, 20KOs) over ten rounds.

The latter has previously shared the ring with the likes of Devin Haney and Jose Pedraza, losing on both occasions.

Puerto Rico’s super-welterweight sensation Xander Zayas (16-0, 10KOs) also features as he steps up to the ten-round distance for the first time, taking on Mexican Roberto Valenzuela Jr (21-4, 20KOs).

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