This weekend, amateur boxing phenomenon Andy Cruz makes his professional debut in what is one of the most highly-anticipated introductions to the pro ranks in recent memory. Indeed, it could be the birth of boxing’s next superstar.
The 27-year-old Cuban won the gold medal at Tokyo 2020, as well as at three AIBA World Championships and at two Pan American Games. Of those six major finals wins, three were against one of the United States’ hottest prospects, Keyshawn Davis, and as a result, the Cuban was linked to an astonishing professional debut against his amateur foe.
However, the 140-9 amateur will instead face former world title challenger, Juan Carlos Burgos, in his premiere contest on the undercard of Alycia Baumgardner’s undisputed title defence against Christina Linardatou on Saturday night.
Burgos has challenged for world honours on three occasions, losing by unanimous decision to both Hozumi Hasegawa and Mikey Garcia and drawing with Roman Martinez in challenges at both featherweight and super-featherweight.
The Mexican was also outpointed by current lightweight king, Devin Haney, back in 2018, but his last opponent seems as eye-catching as any, losing to none other than Keyshawn Davis, back in December.
By facing one of Davis’ most recent opponents, it appears that Cruz is keen to make a statement and prove that he is already prepared to face his old rival, who has accumulated an 8-0 record since he made the switch in 2021.
However, by taking such a tough opening fight, Cruz is also seemingly signalling his intention to fast track his climb to the top of the 135lbs crop, and will be pushing for clashes with the likes of Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta Davis in the not-so-distant future.
Eddie Hearn has been full of praise for his new man in recent months and Cruz will seek to show why on Saturday night, as he debuts live on DAZN, hoping to avoid a disastrous Lomachenko-Salido style welcoming to life as a professional.