Despite his two losses, Karlos Balderas still sees himself in the mix for a big fight at lightweight. 

The 2016 U.S. Olympian recently signed with Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions and will make his debut for his new promoter on Friday, June 7 at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., against Gilberto Espinoza Zarate. The fight is a little over a half-hour drive from Balderas’ hometown of Santa Maria. 

Balderas (14-2, 12 KOs) wants big fights against the top names in his division, believing he is no longer a prospect but a full-fledged contender. Spending time between his hometown and Riverside, Calif., at Robert Garcia’s gym, he is hoping to have a big year, especially with a new promoter investing in him. Balderas hopes that his fight against Espinoza Zarate (13-2, 8 KOs) is the start of a new chapter. 

“There are some very big fights out there for me,” Balderas told BoxingScene. “You know the lightweight division is a very stacked division. I believe I am one of the best at 135, and I just need a chance to demonstrate it.”

Balderas admitted that he would like to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko or George Kambosos in 2025. Lomachenko and Kambosos do battle this Saturday (May 11), in Australia for the vacant IBF lightweight world title. 

“I would love to fight someone like Lomachenko or Kambosos,” said Balderas. 

“I think Lomachenko should win. He is a little bit more crafty, but I am not going to count out Kambosos because we have counted him out before and have seen what has happened. 

Balderas also cited that Kambosos previous sparring in the pros could give him an advantage against the tricky two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-weight world champion, Lomachenko. 

“Also, a lot of the sparring [Kambosos] has done with [Manny] Pacquiao – I am sure that should help him out,” added Balderas. “But, I still think Lomachenko is going to win the fight – and I would love to get a fight with him next year.”

Balderas has also sparred with Lomachenko but now it is up to Balderas to get his record and ranking in a position to call for such a fight. 

“I am ready to take my talent to the next level,” Balderas said. “I think I am a challenger. I am no longer a prospect.”

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