Matchroom USA returns with Martinez-Arroyo, Braekhus-McCaskill doubleheader in Tulsa

WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez will lead the return of Matchroom Boxing USA when he defends his crown against No.1 contender McWilliams Arroyo in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 15 August.

In late February, Martinez (16-1, 12 KOs) graced Matchroom USA’s last promotion before the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, outscoring a spirited Jay Harris in Texas and, fittingly, he leads the comeback.

“I am so happy to be back in the ring again and I promise you another war on August 15,” said Martinez. “With the unification fights ahead of me, it is important to take care of my mandatory challengers and I expect a tough fight with Arroyo. I believe 2020 and 2021 will see me unify and become undisputed and I can’t wait put a smile back on boxing fans’ faces.”

Two-time world title challenger Arroyo (20-4, 15 KOs) will be hoping to make it third time lucky after unsuccessful bids against Amnat Ruenroeng in September 2014 and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in April 2016.

“I am very happy with this opportunity that my promoters Miguel Cotto Promotions, H2 Entertainment and Golden Boy Promotions have given me since I am ranked No.1 in the WBC and I am following my dream of becoming a world champion,” said Arroyo.

“I think Julio Cesar Martinez is a great champion and the fans will see a fight full of action due to the styles of both of us. It is very good for boxing, Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, and I am eager to take the belt.”

In the co-main event, undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (36-0, 9 KOs) attempts to break Joe Louis’ record of 25 consecutive world title defences when she defends against WBC/WBA super-lightweight title-holder Jessica McCaskill (8-2 3 KOs) in a rearranged contest.

“Finally, we have a new fight date and I cannot wait to return to battle,” said Braekhus. “It’s been an extended camp in Big Bear with my new trainer Abel Sanchez and I’m very excited to defend my world titles against Jessica on August 15. I know how tough of a fight this is and will be well prepared for victory.

“Thanks very much to Abel, the Matchroom Boxing Team and Tom Loeffler for all of their support during these unique times. And to my fans in Norway, the United States and all over the world, thanks so much for continuing to inspire me, I hear you loud and clear.”

The no-nonsense McCaskill is in bullish mood as she bids to derail the best laid plans of Braekhus. “I’m just looking to make history and shock the world as I usually do every time,” said McCaskill. “I’m expecting to knock out Cecilia. I don’t know what round, but this extra time we’ve got to train before the fight is definitely going to make us a lot sharper and a lot stronger and smarter overall.

“I’ve been in the gym every day for multiple workouts and I can’t wait to show what we’ve been working on.”

Having announced his UK return last week with four shows taking place in the grounds of Matchroom headquarters, promoter Eddie Hearn is promising a unique setting in Tulsa that will be unveiled shortly..

“We are ready to return in the States and just like Fight Camp in the UK, we plan to do things differently,” said Hearn. “We are heading outdoors in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we’re planning something unique and special for this double world championship header that should both thrill in the ring.

“Julio Cesar Martinez is a beast and one of the most exciting world champions in boxing. It’s Mexico v Puerto Rico as he faces mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo in a guaranteed thriller. In the co-main event, we stage the undisputed welterweight championship between Cecilia and Jessica, which promises to be an electric pace between two great champions. 

“Beneath them, ‘Wonder Boy’ Shakhram Giyasov steps up the gears as he homes in on a 140lbs world title shot and US amateur sensation Marc Castro makes his professional debut. Rising US stars Nikita Ababiy and Raymond Ford step up the opposition as they continue their rise to the top.”

The show will be broadcast live on DAZN in the US.