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Xander Zayas to face former world champion Patrick Teixeira at The Theater at Madison Square Garden

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Xander Zayas is poised to kick off Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend by facing his stiffest challenge yet when he takes on Brazilian former world champion Patrick Teixeira on Saturday, June 8, live on Sky Sports

The junior middleweight phenom will look to improve his undefeated record to 19-0 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 19 years after Top Rank initiated its parade weekend tradition when Miguel Cotto defended his junior welterweight crown against Muhammad Abdullaev.

Bruce ‘Shu Shu’ Carrington, the latest fistic prodigy from Brownsville, Brooklyn, aims to extend his knockout streak against Mexico’s Jose Enrique Vivas in the 10-round featherweight co-feature.

“This is a great New York City card featuring two young men, Xander Zayas and Bruce Carrington, who are poised to become two of the sport’s biggest stars,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “Our Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend cards are always special, and I can’t wait for another raucous atmosphere.”

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Highlights of Xander Zayas’ knockdown win inside five rounds over Jorge Fortea.

Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs) has been on the path to stardom after signing with Top Rank at 16 and debuting as a pro in October 2019.

He captured his first regional title with a TKO win against Elias Espadas in August 2022 and followed up with an eight-round decision against Alexis Salazar last December. In 2023, he decisioned Ronald Cruz during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend and stopped Roberto Valenzuela Jr in September.

The 21-year-old concluded the year in December with a scintillating fifth-round TKO against Spanish contender Jorge Fortea as the co-feature to the Robeisy Ramirez-Rafael Espinoza main event.

“Representing Puerto Rico on a date in which Boricua culture is celebrated and honoured represents a sacred commitment that I have with my people,” said Zayas. “On June 8, I won’t just be fighting for myself. I’ll be fighting for each and every Puerto Rican who always perseveres when the going gets tough.

“This is my first main event and my first fight against a former world champion. And I plan on carrying my flag and making it shine on one of the world’s biggest stages, ‘The Mecca of Boxing’.”

Teixeira (34-4, 25 KOs) stunned the boxing world by upsetting Carlos Adames to capture the interim WBO junior middleweight world title in November 2019. After being elevated to full champion, the 33-year-old southpaw faced multiple setbacks, losing the title to Argentine powerhouse Brian Castaño in February 2021.

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Xander Zayas stopped Elias Espadas in the fifth round after his second knockdown at the Resorts World Events Center in Las Vegas

In his subsequent bouts, he was controversially disqualified against Paul Valenzuela in April 2022 and suffered a decision loss against then-unbeaten Russian Magomed Kurbanov that July.

Teixeira bounced back with a first-round knockout win against Adrian Perez in November 2022, a second-round stoppage over Carlos Rivero last August and a fourth-round TKO against Edisson Saltarin in March.

“It took longer than expected, but this fight is finally here,” said Teixeira. “I can’t wait to get in the ring and put the division on notice. I did it once before when I won my world title against Adames on a Top Rank show, and I’m going to do it again with one of their rising stars.

“Zayas is a great talent, and everyone there will be supporting him during that important weekend. But my experience will make the difference, and I’ll show that on June 8.”

Carrington (11-0, 7 KOs), a 2020 US Olympic Trials champion, has rapidly ascended the ranks since turning pro in October 2021. The soon-to-be 27-year-old secured six victories in 2023, including a second-round knockout against former world title challenger Jason Sanchez.

In his last outing, he blasted out Bernard Torres with a right hook at The Theater in February in what became a viral stoppage.

Xander Zayas (red tape) in action against Ronald Cruz (blue tape)
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Xander Zayas (red tape) in action against Ronald Cruz (blue tape)

“Vivas should be my toughest opponent to date, but as I do every time I fight in Shu York City, I’m going to put on a crowd-pleasing performance,” said Carrington. “It’s special to fight in front of the great Puerto Rican fans. I can’t wait for June 8.”

Vivas (23-3, 12 KOs) enjoyed an undefeated 17-0 run before encountering his first pro defeat at the hands of Ruben Villa in September 2019. He bounced back with a four-fight winning spree, including a 10-round decision over then-unbeaten Carlos Jackson in July 2020 and an eight-round triumph against Louie Coria the following May.

Despite a majority points loss to eventual title challenger Eduardo Baez in March 2022, Vivas rebounded with a win over Edy Valencia before losing to Joet Gonzalez last April. In February, he scored a first-round win over Jonathan Aguilar.

Tucker and Johnson also in action

Junior middleweight Jahi Tucker (10-1-1, 5 KOs) looks to respond following a string of setbacks in an eight-rounder versus Quincy LaVallais (17-4-1, 12 KOs). Tucker overcame a tough opponent in Nikoloz Sekhniashvili last April, dropped a decision to Nicklaus Flaz in July, and fought to a majority draw against Francisco Daniel Veron in December.

US Olympian Tiger Johnson (12-0, 6 KOs) will see action in an eight-rounder against once-beaten Tarik Zaina (13-1-1, 8 KOs). After going 4-0 in 2023, the Cleveland native made his 2024 debut with a first-round knockout over Paulo Galdino in February.

Unbeaten welterweight Elijah Flores (8-0, 3 KOs) will lock horns with Derrick Whitley Jr (7-4-1) in a six-rounder. Flores, a Bronx native, returns following a fourth-round TKO against Alejandro Munera in March.

Junior lightweight prospect Ofacio Falcon (10-0, 6 KOs) heads to The Theater for a third time to take on Antonio Dunton El Jr. (5-2-2, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder. Falcon, also a Bronx native, decisioned Edward Ceballos in February.

Team USA heavyweight hopeful Ali Feliz (1-0, 1 KO) makes his second appearance in the professional ranks in a four-round tilt versus Lemir Isom-Riley (4-2, 2 KOs). Feliz dispatched Anthony Woodson III in only two rounds last Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas. Isom-Riley last fought on the Teofimo Lopez-Jamaine Ortiz bill in February, stopping Antonio Zepeda in three rounds.

Nisa Rodriguez (1-0), a Golden Gloves champion and NYPD officer, will square off against Jordanne Garcia ( 4-3-3) in a four-round middleweight fight.

Rising flyweight Andy Dominguez (10-1, 6 KOs), who was born in Mexico and raised in The Bronx, will face Cristopher Rios (10-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

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