Robeisy Ramirez makes his return in the co-feature

Nearly two months after its initial reveal, Teofimo Lopez’s next title defense is official. Top Rank announced today that “The Takeover” will meet Canadian veteran Steve Claggett on June 29th at Miami, Florida’s James L. Knight Center.

It’s worth noting that this ESPN show will almost certainly run head-to-head with Juan Francisco Estrada vs. “Bam” Rodriguez on DAZN.

Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KO), 34, gets his first world title shot nearly 16 years after his professional debut. His record isn’t the prettiest, but he’s not the sort of “crush cans while periodically getting fed to prospects” paper tiger you may expect; he’s got some solid wins over Yves Ulysse Jr and Petros Ananyan alongside a slew of mid-level victims, he hasn’t been stopped in over a decade, and half of his losses since have been split or majority decisions.

Still, while it’s nice to see him receive this opportunity after putting in the work, he seems like a much more digestible opponent for Lopez (20-1, 13 KO) than prior bugbears Sandor Martin and Jamaine Ortiz.

Lopez said, “I have always wanted to fight in South Florida, where I grew up and developed as a fighter.

“I never thought it would happen, but now, on June 29, I get the opportunity to do so not just as a world champion, but as the lineal world champion of my division. This has been one of my goals since turning pro, and I’m motivated to showcase my talent there in front of my Honduran fans and the entire Latino community.

“This is like a Rocky Balboa story for Steve Claggett. I’m very much looking forward to what kind of style I’m going to see. There were no other fighters who were interested in fighting me, and I felt like he would give not just me, but the fans as well, a great fight to watch.”

Former WBO featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez (13-2, 8 KO) returns in the co-feature against Brandon Lee Benitez (21-2, 9 KO). Ramirez took a lot of punishment in last December’s war with Rafael Espinoza, but he’s no stranger to shock losses in the pro ranks, so odds are he’ll still be in good form. The 26-year-old Benitez, for his part, is 7-0 since a 2019 knockout loss to Saul Sanchez and notably edged out former champ Xu Can two years back.

Not a bad rebound opponent, all things considered.

The opener sees Nico Ali Walsh (9-1, 5 KO) continue down the comeback trail against Sona Akale (9-1, 4 KO). Akale is 36 and the only victory among Cameron Krael’s current 1-11 skid, which should tell you something about his chances.

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