Former super bantamweight world champion Angelo Leo has shot back to some prominence in a new weight class and with a new promoter following two-and-half years out of the ring. 

Leo, 24-1 (11 KOs), lost his WBO belt to Stephen Fulton in January 2021 but returned to winning ways six months later with a majority-decision win over Aaron Alameda. 

However, that marked the start of his long absence until he returned with a knockout over Nicholas Polanco in November 2023.

“During those two years I was pretty depressed about not fighting,” Leo told BoxingScene. “Basically, in a nutshell, we had some promotional issues. They would tell me that I would be fighting on a certain day, on a certain month, that month would come around and I wouldn’t fight. So, they just kept kinda stalling me. 

“Then it got to the point that I would just not hear a word back from them. So we then decided to part ways with Mayweather Promotions, that’s when we got in touch with ProBox. They were able to sign me, help me out and get my career back on track.”

The 29-year-old has since worked his way back into contention at 126 pounds with a trio of victories over Polanco, Mike Plania and most recently Eduardo Baez two weeks ago. Leo has become one of the key attractions for ProBox TV’s Wednesday Night Fights in Plant City, Florida and he is within touching distance of a second world title. 

“We are right back to it, I was straight back in the gym to work on some things that I needed to work on,” Leo explained. “I’ve been enjoying it in Florida. I really needed it after a two year layoff. What I needed was that activity, that’s exactly what ProBox provided. Back-to-back fights, I think I’ve had three fights in five months. I’m not complaining, it feels good to be back in the ring.”

Leo produced a precise left to the body over Plania in his first WNF headline spot, going on to overcome Baez over 10 rounds unanimously.

“Yeah, that's my favorite shot, the left hook to the body,” Leo continued. “I didn’t really know I threw it against Plania. It just landed with all my force, it was an instinct. I looked back at the tape afterwards and saw it was right on the money. I can see why he went down and was in a lot of pain and agony. It was a well placed shot and I felt very strong for that fight.”

Despite landing one of the best shots of his career, the punch was initially called a low blow, leading to much confusion as Plania refused to get to his feet.

“I was surprised,” Leo said. “I thought the referee was going to continue calling it a low blow, Palnia was going to get back up and we would continue fighting, but he was just in too much pain. Everyone saw it. The crowd seen it, I seen it, everybody pretty much seen it. But I guess the angle the ref was in, he wasn’t able to see it. It must have looked like a low blow from his vantage point. It’s alright, it’s a mistake. Thanks to the Florida commission with the instant replay. That’s what saved the day. They ran back the film, they saw it was a legit bodyshot and they called it a stoppage. 

“I’m ranked in the WBA, IBF and the WBC now. It looks like we already have something in the works. I can’t disclose it right now, but we have something for this summer, probably on a different network – in association with ProBox.”

The featherweight division currently has Rey Vargas installed as WBC champion following a draw with Nick Ball, who will challenge Raymond Ford for the WBA belt on June 1. Luis Alberto Lopez holds the IBF title and Rafael Espinosa is the WBO beltholder.

“I think they are all pretty beatable,” Leo added. “I think I got the style to beat a lot of them, if not all of them. But they are all very tough opponents, they are champions for a reason. You gotta respect that, but I’ve been a champion too. I know I belong up there with them and I know I can beat them.