By: Bryant Romero
This Friday, ESPN will televise a Top Rank card featuring Ray Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs, 1NC) challenging Namibia’s Paulus Moses (40-3, 25 KOs, 1NC) for the vacant WBO lightweight world championship at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada. Beltran has won 4 straight fights since his last setback in a wide points loss to Terence Crawford back in November of 2014. The 36-year-old hopes that a title winning victory this Friday will secure his longtime pursuit of a green card. The Mexican immigrant has spent 20 years living in the United States and currently resides in the Phoenix area with his wife and three children.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Former World Champion Paulus Moses will look to put a halt to those plans as he looks to secure the WBO lightweight strap in his second attempt. Moses since the loss to Ricky Burns for the same belt back in March of 2012 has reeled off twelve wins in fourteen bouts. The Namibian pugilist is now pushing 40, but is very motivated to get his hands on the belt that was recently vacated by Terry Flanagan.
A lot is on the line for both fighters in the main event but especially for Beltran in not only obtaining a green card with a win this Friday, but also to be in the mix as a potential opponent for Vasyl Lomachenko this Spring. Lomachenko’s handlers are having trouble securing top opponents for the Ukrainian southpaw and network conflicts could prevent a possible Lomachenko/Linares clash, so Beltran winning this Friday would make for an easy fight to make since both Beltran and Lomachenko are promoted by Top Rank.
On the undercard features a solid welterweight matchup between Egidijus ”The Mean Machine” Kavaliuaskas(18-0, 15 KOs) taking on former world champion David Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs). The 29 year old Lithuanian welterweight contender is taking on his most notable opponent to date and a win over Avanesyan will help The Mean Machine continue to rise in the rankings in the division that will get him closer to title contention.
Also on the undercard, heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs) will see action looking to secure his third consecutive win since the setback to Luis Ortiz when he takes on Akhror Muralimov (16-3, 13, KOs) in an 8 rounder. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenon will also be on the card for his first bout of 2018 and first scheduled 8 rounder of his pro career. This Friday’s televised ESPN card in Reno will be aired at 10:30 PM, Eastern Standing Time.