Arnold Barboza Jr. will begin the next phase of his career Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The undefeated junior welterweight contender will make his debut with a new promoter, Golden Boy, and on a new platform, DAZN, when he faces South African veteran Xolisani Ndongeni. Their 10-round, 140-pound bout will be part of the Vergil Ortiz Jr.-Fredrick Lawson undercard at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).

Barboza (28-0, 10 KOs) would still like to handle unfinished business, though, with a world champion represented by his former promoter, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

“I’m still number one in the WBO,” Barboza told “Hopefully, the WBO can make me a mandatory and kind of put Teofimo against the wall to fight me.”

One of the more frustrating things about Barboza’s final few months with Top Rank was that he couldn’t land the Lopez fight.

Brooklyn’s Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) won the WBO junior welterweight title from Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) on June 10 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Barboza became the WBO’s number one contender in the 140-pound division in its rankings released later in June, but the WBO hasn’t tabbed Barboza as its mandatory challenger for Lopez, who was its mandatory challenger for Taylor before it elevated Barboza from number two to number one in its ratings.

The 32-year-old Barboza, of South El Monte, California, mutually parted ways with Top Rank and signed with Oscar De La Hoya’s company last fall. He hopes De La Hoya can help him get the fight he has long sought with Lopez, who has publicly stated that he won’t box Barboza, or a shot at another 140-pound champion.

“I feel like now that I have Oscar behind me, you know, I feel like he can get things done,” Barboza said. “I think he can put pressure on their necks and make it happen. So, there is hope because I have Oscar, Eric [Gomez] and B-Hop [Bernard Hopkins] behind me, that’s really gonna fight for me now. So, that’s exciting. That’s what gives me hope on a fight like that. But if not, there’s other champions, there’s other belts. You know what I mean? And we’ll see what happens.”

For now, Barboza is fully focused on facing Ndongeni (31-3, 18 KOs). The 31-year-old Ndongeni has gone the 10-round distance with WBC super lightweight champ Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) and emerging junior welterweight prospect Ernesto “Tito” Mercado (13-0, 12 KOs), who defeated Ndongeni by unanimous decision in Ndongeni’s last fight July 8 in Managua, Nicaragua.

“He’s a really good opponent,” Barboza said. “Me and him were actually gonna fight like three years ago, and then COVID happened, and we couldn’t fight. But we’re gonna meet up now. I know he’s a very hungry fighter, talented fighter, you know, so we’re definitely preparing 100 percent for him.”

Barboza will end an 11-month layoff Saturday night. He last fought February 3, when he outboxed two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs) to win a 10-round unanimous decision at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

“It was very frustrating, and it sucks because it’s not like we don’t wanna fight,” Barboza said of his extensive break between fights. “We were in the gym and things weren’t getting done. All these things started happening, so last year was definitely a roller coaster. In the last two years there were a lotta ups and a lotta downs. But the past is the past. There’s nothing we can do about it now. We look forward to the future, and I would say it’s ‘Golden.’ ”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.