By Vince D’Writer: The 140-pound division is a weight class that is loaded with high-caliber boxers, and on the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undercard, two undefeated super lightweights will be fighting for position, as the 13th ranked IBF contender Richardson Hitchins (15-0, 7 KOs) will face John “El Terrible” Bauza.
The 24-year-old John Bauza is North Bergen, New Jersey-based, but he’s a Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico-bred boxer who is well aware of his underdog status going into his upcoming bout. His opponent Richardson Hitchins left Mayweather Promotions to join Matchroom for the sole purpose of receiving the opportunity to fight more frequently.
Matchroom has lived up to their end of the bargain as Hitchins made his debut under the Matchroom banner in November 2022, and three months later, he’s set to clash with Bauza. Hitchins’s objective is to stay active and rise in the rankings, but Bauza wants to derail Hitchins’s plans and create a path of his own.
John Bauza seemed like he was on his way to cracking the top 15 rankings back in December 2021 when he stepped inside the squared circle and delivered a dominant performance. He only needed a mere four rounds to dismantle his previously undefeated opponent Michael Williams Jr.
Thirty seconds into the first round, Bauza hit Williams Jr with a counter right hand shot that sent Williams Jr down to the canvas. Two minutes into the 2nd round, Bauza landed a hard left hand that sent his opponent on a trip back down to the canvas.
At the midway point of the 4th round, Bauza pinned his opponent against the ropes and hit him with a flurry of shots, and as a result, Williams Jr was forced to take a knee. Bauza proceeded to land a three-punch combination to knock Williams Jr down for the fourth time, and then he ended the fight by connecting with a devastating left hand.
After his five knockdown masterpiece, Bauza was looking to put together back-to-back impressive performances, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. In March 2022, John Bauza faced Tony Luis, and he was able to win by unanimous decision, but it was a bout in which Bauza had to battle in order to earn the victory.
Now John Bauza (17-0, 7 KOs) has a big opportunity in regards to posting a victory versus a ranked opponent and winning the IBF North American super lightweight title. The Bauza vs. Hitchins matchup is very intriguing due to the fact that Bauza is a pressure-style fighter, and Hitchins is more of a technical boxer.
On Saturday night, February 4th, at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, live on DAZN, John Bauza will attempt to score an upset that could possibly earn him a ranking with one of the sanctioning bodies. During the final fight presser, John Bauza addressed his big chance and his familiarity with his opponent.
“First of all, I want to say thank you for this opportunity to be here. All I have to say is that I work hard. There was a lot of back and forth, but we got the fight, and we’re ready.”
Bauza went on to state, “We’re ready for everybody. We already proved that in the amateurs. He (Hitchins) knows who I am. I sparred him before. I come from the same group as them, all of them. They know who I am too, so we’re ready for everybody.”