Unlike the fellow Mexican that Luis Alberto Lopez had hoped to face in a 126-pound title unification fight, Lopez made weight Friday for his first featherweight title defense.
Mexicali’s Lopez was 125.5 pounds when he got on the British Boxing Board of Control’s scale for his 12-round fight Saturday night against Michael Conlan at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Belfast’s Conlan came in at 125.9 pounds.
Lopez (25-2, 17 KOs) will defend his IBF featherweight title against Conlan in a 12-round main event that BT Sport 2 will televise in the United Kingdom and Ireland and ESPN+ will stream in the United States.
Earlier Friday, Mexico’s Mauricio Lara lost his WBA featherweight title at the scale in Manchester, England. Lara was almost four pounds overweight for his 12-round rematch against Leigh Wood at AO Arena (https://www.boxingscene.com/wba-featherweight-title-stake-only-leigh-wood-mauricio-lara-well-over-limit--174904).
Lopez, 29, will defend his IBF featherweight title for the first time. He won his IBF belt by beating Josh Warrington in his last fight.
Lopez edged Warrington by majority decision in their 12-round bout December 10 at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, Warrington’s hometown. England’s Howard Foster scored Lopez-Warrington a draw (114-114), but he was overruled by Wisconsin’s Mike Fitzgerald (115-113) and Australia’s Adam Height (115-113).
The defending champion is only a slight favorite versus Conlan, in part because he has again traveled overseas to box in his opponent’s hometown.
Conlan, 31, will fight for a featherweight title for the second time in 14 months.
He led Wood by slim margins on all three scorecards entering the 12th round of their fan-friendly firefight in March 2022 at Motorpoint Arena in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England. Wood caught Conlan with a right hand, however, that knocked him cold and out of the ring in the final round.
Conlan landed on the arena floor, but he wasn’t seriously injured. The 2016 Olympian has since won back-to-back fights against Miguel Marriaga and Karim Guerfi and was ranked fifth among the IBF’s featherweight contenders when he secured this title shot.
The official weights for Lopez-Conlan undercard fights that will be broadcast by BT Sport 2 and streamed by ESPN+ are listed below.
BT Sport 2 (6:30 p.m. BST)
ESPN+ (1:30 p.m. EDT; 10:30 a.m. PDT)
Anthony Cacace (20-1, 7 KOs), Belfast, Northern Ireland, 129.9 pounds vs. Damian Wrzesinski (26-2-2, 7 KOs), Poznan, Poland, 129.4 pounds, 12 rounds for the IBO junior lightweight title.
Pierce O’Leary (11-0, 6 KOs), Dublin, Ireland, 139.3 pounds vs. Alin Florin Ciorceri (17-3, 7 KOs), Xirivella, Spain, 140 pounds, 10 rounds, junior welterweights.
Nick Ball (17-0, 10 KOs), Liverpool, England, 125.9 pounds vs. Ludumo Lamati (21-0-1, 11 KOs), Johannesburg, South Africa, 125.5 pounds, 12 rounds, featherweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.