Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) is one month away from his first fight of 2023. The Puerto Rican junior middleweight phenom will face nine-year veteran Ronald “Diablo” Cruzin the eight-round co-feature to the WBO featherweight world title clash between Robeisy Ramirez and Isaac Dogboe on Saturday, April 1, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Ramirez-Dogboe, Zayas-Cruz and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
Zayas signed with Top Rank at 16 and has been on the fast track to stardom ever since. In 2021, the 20-year-old prospect notched six wins, four of them via stoppage. The following year, Zayas decisioned Quincy LaVallais in March, captured the vacant NABO junior middleweight title in August by knocking out Elias Espadas, and defended that title against Alexis Salazar in December.
Zayas’ road to contender status continues against Cruz (18-2-1, 12, KOs), a Los Angeles native who has never been stopped and is coming off a close decision loss to Damian Sosa last August.
Following a recent training session, this is what Zayas had to say:
“I am working extremely hard in the gym because I want 2023 to be the year in which I position myself as one of the top contenders in the division.”
“I know what I want, and I know what it will cost me to achieve it, but each of the sacrifices I make every day in the gym are paying off, and I do it with the intention of looking better every time I get into the ring. That motivates me. I strive to be better every single day because every time I step into the ring, I do it with the intention of raising the flag of my Island even higher.”
“I respect my opponent, Ronald ‘Diablo’ Cruz. He is an experienced rival; he is a former WBC Latino regional champ. I know he is motivated and excited for this opportunity. He will bring out the best of me in the ring. Once the bell rings, I’m there to do a job.”
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Holden Productions, tickets starting at $49.50 are on sale now and available to purchase at www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com.
Credit: Top Rank Boxing