A rising star in a universarlly recognized boxing hotbed, Verdejo (22-0, 15 KOs) represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics, losing in the quarterfinals to two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, who is the reigning WBO super feathereight world champion. The 23-year-old will be fighting in front of a passionate hometown crowd in San Jose, risking his WBO No. 1 contender status and impending world title shot against current champion Terry Flanagan. He’s also scheduled to fight June 10th on Top Rank’s major Puerto Rican Day card at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden.
Havoc Boxing-promoted Flores (27-2-2, 17 KOs), however, is looking forward to spoiling Verdejo’s party and bringing joy back to his native Nicaragua.
“We accepted this challenge because we believe Oliver will rise to the occasion,” Flores’ promoter Rob Diaz (Havoc Boxing) said. “He hadn’t fought for more than a year because several fights we lined up fell through. So, we decided to move him up to lightweight to challenge a great prospect like Verdejo. This is a tremendous opportunity for Oliver. He’s not concerned about fighting Verdejo in Puerto Rico. Oliver has effectively fought on the road throughout his career because he’s a true warrior. He has a real chance to shock the boxing world tomorrow night and we’re confident that he will bring his best into the ring. Oliver is one of the best kept secrets in boxing but fans all over the world will know his name after tomorrow’s fight.”
In his last fight on New Year’s Eve of 2015, Flores unsuccessfully challenged then-World Boxing Association (WBA) Super world super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1) in Tokyo, getting stopped in the third round.
Flores’ only other pro loss was in 2012 to current WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel Berchelt, while his two draws were both on the road in Mexico and Costa Rica.
Flores is a past WBA Fedebol lightweight title holder, as well as former World Boxing Council (WBC) FECARBOX and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super featherweight champion. He has proven to be a dangerous, upset-minded opponent having defeated previously unbeaten boxers Marcos Mojica (12-0-2), by way of unanimous decision, and Gabriel Dorado (9-0) via a first-round knockout.
A victory over Verdejo should position Flores for another world title shot in the not too distant future.