Two-time Fight of the Year winner and former WBC Super Featherweight World Champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (24-1-2, 17 KOs) will continue his effort to regain a world title as he faces “Lightning” Rod Salka (24-4, 4 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in the main event of the April 12 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.
Known for his relentless attack in the ring, “El Bandido” has never shied away from stealing the show with his crowd-rallying style. The 33-year-old native of Mexico City, Mexico has two Fight of the Year performances on his resume, earned in wars against former world champions Takashi Miura and Orlando “Siri” Salido. Vargas is eager to regain the title he lost in yet another war against Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt, but only if victorious on April 12.
“I want to become world champion again,” said Francisco Vargas. “As always, I am working with discipline. I’ll deliver a great performance and Rod Salka will not stop me from doing that.”
Salka will enter the ring with high hopes to leave a lasting impression in the 130-pound division, the weight class in which he belongs. Salka has had tough losses against much bigger opponents, though he has slowly moved down and has left his last five fights with his hand raised in victory. The 35-year-old native of Bunola, Pennsylvania is excited to fight in a new, more comfortable division and is hungry to prove that he can earn a world title there.
“I’m excited to be at 130 pounds,” said Rod Salka. “Francisco Vargas stands in the way of me fighting [Miguel] Berchelt, so he has to be eliminated. I can’t wait for April 12.”
San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (7-0, 5 KOs) will return to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino after his fourth-round technical knockout victory over the Mexican pugilist Miguel Angel “Terry” Mendoza on Feb. 22. “El Conde” will go up against Filipino boxer Recky “The Terror” Dulay (10-3, 7 KOs) in a scheduled 8-round lightweight fight.
Hoping to catch the ESPN2 coverage in the night’s swing bout, Javier Martinez (5-0, 3 KOs), the rising prospect under the guidance of renowned trainer Joel Diaz, will participate in a six-round featherweight bout. Irish prospect Aaron McKenna (1-0) will return in a four-round fight in the welterweight division.
Coachella’s Rommel Caballero will make his professional debut in a four-round super featherweight bout. A decorated amateur, former Junior Olympian and youngest brother to former IBF Bantamweight World Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero, Rommel will look to make a grand debut before a hometown crowd.
Opening up the card is Rancho Mirage’s Javier Padilla (5-0-1, 5 KOs), who will fight in a scheduled six-round super bantamweight affair. Opponents for all these exciting prospects, along with a co-main event, will be announced shortly.
Vargas vs. Salka is a 10-round super featherweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. PT and start at $25. Tickets will be available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.