Feel The Heat: Teofimo Lopez and Robeisy Ramirez Prepare for Saturday’s Ring Returns in Miami

Teofimo-Steve Claggett, Ramirez-Brandon Leon Benitez & Nico Ali Walsh-Sona Akale II will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ SATURDAY beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

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(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Press Conference Notes: Teofimo Lopez & Robeisy Ramirez Ready for Miami Takeover

Nico Ali Walsh seeks revenge against Sona Akale in a middleweight special feature 

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(Courtesy: Top Rank)


MIAMI, Fla. (June 27, 2024) — WBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez is primed for the Miami spotlight. Lopez, who was raised in South Florida, hopes to bring the heat Saturday night when he defends his titles against Canadian challenger Steve Claggett at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida.

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) is making the second defense of the titles he won from Josh Taylor via upset unanimous decision last June. He defended the crown in February against Jamaine Ortiz and now turns his attention to Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs), a Calgary native who is unbeaten in nine fights since 2021. His winning streak includes victories over former world champion Alberto Machado and top contender Miguel Madueño.

In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, Cuban former world champion Robeisy Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs) returns against Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez (21-2, 9 KOs). If Ramirez is successful on Saturday, he could be in line for a rematch against WBO champion Rafael Espinoza, who dethroned him in an instant classic last December.

The six-round televised opener will see middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (10-1, 5 KOs) attempt to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch against Sona Akale (9-1, 4 KOs).

Teofimo-Claggett, Ramirez-Benitez, and Ali Walsh-Akale II will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK and Ireland.

Promoted by Top Rank and Eye of the Tiger, remaining tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.

This is what the fighters had to say on Thursday at the final press conference.

Teofimo Lopez

“This event is long overdue. Miami has been great. I did my training camp here preparing for Josh Taylor, and we just thought that we needed to revisit this. I’m in great spirits. So I look forward to it.”

“This guy is no slouch. He has waited 15 years for this opportunity. And now he has it. This is the most important moment of his career. I just need to stick to my game plan and listen to my team. This is going to be a good slugfest. This is going to be a good fight.”

“We know how to get the job done. We know how to get the win. We’re not a two-time lineal champion for no reason. We do this. We face the best fighters in boxing. So, Steve Claggett is going to come to bring it. However, there are levels to this. I look forward to what he brings to the table, and we’ll dissect him from there.”

Steve Claggett

“This is something I’ve worked my whole life for. I feel like I have great momentum right now. It’s the time for me.”

“I don’t really care about what other people say. You can only control your perspective, so I do what I know is right and prepare like I best know. I sacrificed and put in the work.”

“The name of the game is to work on your weaknesses. I’ve made consistent improvements and stayed dedicated. I added all the things I couldn’t do to my game. I’ve been getting better every fight. I feel like I’m progressing more than ever now. It’s a nice time for me.”

Robeisy Ramirez

“I feel very happy to be coming home here to Miami, and I’m very happy for the support that the fans have given me. I’m excited to be back.”

“I don’t think I have to do anything different. I have my objective, which is to do my work and demonstrate the quality of fighter that I am. The true Robeisy will be seen Saturday.”

“What I learned {from the Espinoza loss} is that one has to be very concentrated on the work you have to do. This is a very tough sport where you have to sacrifice a lot, and if you are not concentrated 100 percent on what you have to do, then sometimes you can be taken off on what you need to do in the fight.”

Brandon Leon Benitez

“I’ve looked for a big fight like this for a while. Now that I have the opportunity, I am going to take advantage of it. So, I am here to win, and I am happy to be here with all of you here in Miami, and it’s going to be a fabulous fight.”

“We’ve been preparing for southpaws for more than a year. So, I don’t think we’ll see any difficulties in facing a southpaw. But, of course, we know that we have a tough fighter. He’s an Olympian and a former world champion, so we know he’s a great fighter. This is a big challenge, but I like challenges, and we’re coming for the victory.”

“This is the most important fight of my career. It’s a great opportunity. If I win, it will position me for a world title shot. I’ve prepared mentally, physically, and spiritually. In my mind, there’s nothing else but winning.  I’m prepared.

Nico Ali Walsh

“A lot has changed. This isn’t my first rematch. So, we know that I’m able to adapt quickly early in my career. I’m changing every month. And I’m looking forward to the fight.”

“I’ve got love in my corner. I’ve got people who believe in me, which is the most important thing. I’m working with Fernando Diaz, Jamie Belt. All of Salas Academy is amazing. I get along with every single person there. So, I’m just happy to be where I’m at.”

Sona Akale

“I’m very excited. I’m eager to prove that {the first fight} was no fluke.”

“It’s been a whirlwind. I love it all. I’m already a legend in my city. Win, lose, or draw, I’m happy to be here, but I’m here to win. Always here to win.”

Emiliano Fernando Vargas

“I love it here {in Miami}. But, we’re locked in. All those fun activities can be held after. I’ve got family with me. I’ve got the right people in the corner with me. So, we’re looking to get the job done on Saturday night. That’s the only thing on my mind.”

“I just want to be the best young fighter I can be now. I know I’m in a grown man’s sport. World champions now are 27, 28, or 30 years old. So, all I have to do is keep my head down and get the experience. And when it’s time, my team and I will sit down with Bob Arum and the rest of the team.”

MIAMI, Fla. (June 26, 2024) — Teofimo Lopez, Robeisy Ramirez, and Nico Ali Walsh hosted a public workout today ahead of their respective showdowns this Saturday, June 29, at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida.

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) will defend his WBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight world titles against Canadian contender Steve Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs) in the main event.

Former world champion Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs), who lost his belt in a Fight of the Year Epic to Rafael Espinoza last December, is in line for another shot at the featherweight crown if he can defeat Mexico’s Brandon Leon Benitez (21-2, 9 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature.

The six-round televised opener will see middleweight prospect Ali Walsh  (10-1, 5 KOs) attempt to avenge his only pro defeat in a rematch against Sona Akale (9-1, 4 KOs).

Teofimo-Claggett, Ramirez-Benitez, and Ali Walsh-Akale II will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Sky Sports will broadcast the event in the UK and Ireland.

Vargas (10-8, KOs), the son of Fernando Vargas, will step up against Jose Zaragoza (9-8-2, 3 KOs) in an eight-rounder on the ESPN+-streamed undercard (5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT).

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Eye of The Tiger, remaining tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.

This is what Lopez had to say at Wednesday’s media workout.

Teofimo Lopez

“I’m grateful for all of this. It’s great to be back to where I started in boxing. This is it right here. This was supposed to happen in 2021. It’s happening now for a good reason.”

“This is a homecoming for me. And this is what we needed to do. We needed to go back to my roots. We fought nine times at Madison Square Garden, and now we’re here. The feeling has been fun. The energy has been great. And we’re focused.”

“I look forward to making a statement. I have everything that is needed to win as a true champion. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me. We’re always going to get the job done. However, we needed a good dance partner, and on Saturday night, we’re going to have a tough, rugged fighter in Steve Claggett. This is a guy who has been a professional for many years and who knows how to slow the pace of his opponents and make them fight his style. I look forward to a great competitive fight.”

Saturday, June 29

ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)

Teofimo Lopez vs. Steve Claggett, 12 Rounds, Lopez’s WBO and Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight World Titles 

Robeisy Ramirez vs. Brandon Leon Benitez, 10 rounds, Benitez’s NABO Featherweight Title

Nico Ali Walsh vs. Sona Akale II, 6 rounds, middleweights

ESPN+ (5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT)

Emiliano Fernando Vargas vs. Jose Zaragoza, 8 rounds, junior welterweights

Elvis Rodriguez vs. Jino Rodrigo, 10 rounds, junior welterweights

Lorenzo Medina vs. Detrailous Webster, 6 rounds, heavyweights

Rohan Polanco vs. Luis Hernandez , 8 rounds, junior welterweights

Yan Santana vs. Brandon Valdes, 10 rounds, featherweights

Euri Cedeño vs. Dormedes Potes, 8 rounds, middleweights

Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Credit: Top Rank

(ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)

    •   Teofimo Lopez 139.4 lbs. vs. Steve Claggett 139.5 lbs
(Lopez’s WBO & Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Titles – 12 Rounds)

   •  Robeisy Ramirez 124.8 lbs vs. Brandon Leon Benitez 127.1 lbs
(Vacant NABO Featherweight Title — 10 Rounds)
* Benitez was 1.1 pounds over the featherweight limit. Only Ramirez is eligible to win the title.

   •  Nico Ali Walsh 156.9 lbs vs. Sona Akale 156.3 lbs
(Middleweight— 6 Rounds)

(ESPN+, 5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT)

•  Emiliano Fernando Vargas 139.8 lbs vs. Jose Zaragoza 139.1 lbs
 (Junior Welterweight — 8 Rounds)

•   Elvis Rodriguez 141.6 lbs vs. Jino Rodrigo 141.2 lbs
 (Junior Welterweight — 10 Rounds)

•  Lorenzo Medina 235.6 lbs vs. Detrailous Webster 247.7 lbs
 (Heavyweight — 6 Rounds)

•   Rohan Polanco 142.4 lbs vs. Luis Hernandez 143 lbs
 (Junior Welterweight — 8 Rounds)

•   Yan Santana 127 lbs vs. Brandon Valdes 127 lbs
 (Featherweight— 10 Rounds)

•   Euri Cedeno 161.4 lbs vs. Dormedes Potes 161.7 lbs
 (Middleweight— 8 Rounds)