Rey Vargas defends against Nick Ball on Joshua vs Ngannou undercard

Vargas makes his first WBC featherweight title defense against Ball in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Two-division world champion Rey Vargas faces Nick Ball at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday, March 8. The contest features Mexico’s WBC featherweight champion making the first defense of his belt against No. 1-ranked contender of the UK. The bout is featured on the card topped by Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou.

Rey Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) claimed the WBC featherweight title against former champion Mark Magsayo by split decision in July 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. In his next fight last February at the same location, the 33-year-old native of Mexico City went up a weight class and fought O’Shaquie Foster for the vacant WBC junior lightweight belt, but suffered the defeat by UD.

Unbeaten Nick Ball (19-0, 11 KOs) is coming off the win by unanimous decision against Isaac Dogboe last November in Manchester. In May 2023 in Belfast, the native of Liverpool stopped Ludumo Lamati in the 12th round. The 26-year-old makes his first attempt to become champion, as well as fights for the first time out the UK.

In the main event, British former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (0-1). In the co-main event, former world champion Joseph Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) of New Zealand challenges Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) of China for his interim WBO heavyweight strap.

Also announced for the card, billed as “Knockout Chaos”, a lightweight battle between Mark Chamberlain (14-0, 10 KOs) of England and Gavin Gwynne (17-2-1, 5 KOs) of Wales. Plus, Justis Huni (8-0, 4 KOs) of Australia fights at heavyweight, British Roman Fury (3-0, 1 KO) is in action at cruiserweight and Jack McGann (9-0-1, 6 KOs) of Liverpool makes his ring appearance at super welterweight.

In addition, Ziyad Almaayouf (4-0, 1 KO) goes through the ropes in front of his home country crowd at super lightweight. Their respective opponents are expected to be announced shortly.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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