Boxing Insider Fight Night March 7 — MAIN EVENT — Eight Rounds — Jr. Featherweights

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Posted on 03/07/2024

New York-based boxers always add a lot of local flavor to Larry Goldberg’s Boxing Insider Promotions cards, and on Thursday night (March 7), we’ll see a Brooklyn youngster who is trying to plot his way to a world title bout.

Ariel Lopez comes to Sony Hall with just one defeat in 22 fights, and he’ll try to take another step onward and upward as he tackles a veteran in Gregorio Lebron who has battled for a world championship on three different occasions.

It’s the main event of the March 7 show, and it you can’t make it to Times Square, you can see it LIVE or on demand on Boxing Insider’s streaming platform.

https://videos.boxinginsider.com/

ARIEL LOPEZ (Weight: 122)

Ariel Lopez (20-1-1, 11 KO’s) , a 27-year-old, is a native of Cholulua, Puebla, Mexico who currently lives and trains in Brooklyn. He came to New York City at an early age, and eventually settled with his family in Brighton Beach. His father was a wrestler in Mexico, and that supplies the origin of his nickname, “El Kuman.”

Lopez started in boxing at age 14, when his dad took him into the gym. Along the way, he caught the eye of trainer Martin Gonzalez, who took him on. And despite his rather late start, he had success rather quickly. His amateur career brought him a 2014 New York Golden Gloves title, and he got to the finals two years later, only to lose to Dominique Crowder, who is now a formidable pro prospect.

Lopez turned professional in May 2016, when he stopped William Ross in one round. He did not have to go the distance until his sixth pro fight, when he won a decision over Stephon McIntyre.

El Kuman won his first thirteen professional bouts, then suffered a bit of a setback when he sustained a split decision draw against Victor Trejo Garcia.

He’s fought quite a bit in the Carolinas. One one of those occasions, he lost a ten-round decision to Jose Velasquez with the North American Boxing Federation bantamweight title on the line (May 2021). He fought gamely, and had to get up from a ninth-round knockdown to go the distance in that one. Velasquez went on to fight for IBF and WBA world titles in his next bout.

Lopez bounced back after that to register perhaps his most significant win – a two-round TKO of Jesus Martinez to capture the WBC Latino super bantamweight (122-pound) crown in October 2021.

Lopez is currently on a four-fight winning streak, with the latest victory coming on October 21, an eight-round decision over Ernesto Guerrero, who didn’t win a round on any of the judges’ scorecards.

Heather Hardy, who has mentored Lopez for quite some time at Gleason’s Gym, has said that Lopez is a male version of herself, which means he is determined and tough, like a bulldog. He is something of a stand-up boxer, but doesn’t mind at all mixing it up on the inside.

Lopez is employed as a delivery driver to help support himself and his family so he can pursue his boxing dream. He married his high school sweetheart and has two children. So he’s no stranger to hard work…. of all kinds.

GREGORIO LEBRON (Weight: 121-3/4)

Gregorio Lebron (24-6, 18 KO’s), who refers to himself as “Piche Malo,” brings a veteran presence into this bout with Ariel Lopez – one that is the result of fighting in world championship bouts.

He’s coming into this fight from Santo Domingo, where he learned boxing from the school of hard knocks. Lebron was knocked out in his pro debut by Luis Cosme. After that setback, he gradually worked his way up the pro ranks. There was a progression of laurels – a Dominican flyweight title, a WBA Fedelatin flyweight (112-pound) championship, where he stopped Anyelo Munoz in four, and then finally the opportunity to fight for the WBA Interim flyweight championship of the world.

He actually fought against Yutthana Kaensa twice for the belt, losing by majority decision twice. And both in Thailand. The second bout, which took place in Fabruary 2016, was closer, with one judge, of course, scoring it a draw, with the other judges giving Kaensa the bout by one and two rounds.

After that, Lebron went on a tear, winning eight straight bouts, before opportunity came knocking again. It was the WBA flyweight title once more, and this time Lebrom had to travel to Kiev in the Ukraine. Lebron came out rather aggressively, but the champion, Artem Dalakian, managed to keep his distance and not give Lebron much of a stationary target. He also had a speed advantage. Lebron found himself swinging wildly, and not only not connecting, but leaving himself open and off-balance. In the fifth round, Dalakian knocked the rubbery-legged Lebron to the canvas three times and the referee stopped the fight.

Lebron recently got back into action after being out of the ring for 32 months. Last September, in Houston, he was stopped in three rounds by Josue Morales. That performance left questions as to how far he could continue to go at age 41, and so he goes into the fray with Lopez with something to prove.

Tickets are priced at $150, $200 and $325, and are available at Ticketweb (https://www.ticketweb.com/event/boxing-insider-live-professional-boxing-sony-hall-tickets/13430053). Sony Hall is located at 235 W 46th Street in Manhattan.

For those who can’t experience the event at Sony Hall, the March 7 show will be shown, free of charge, LIVE and on-demand on BoxingInsider’s steaming platform (https://videos.boxinginsider.com).

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