Junior middleweight Xander Zayas fulfilled a childhood dream by headlining a major boxing card at Madison Square Garden on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. However, he has his sights set on even bigger names in the future.

Zayas won a unanimous decision over former titleholder Patrick Teixeira at Madison Square Garden Theater.

After the fight, Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs), 21, discussed his future opponents in the division.

“I have been saying it: I want [Erickson] Lubin, Josh Kelly,” Zayas said in the ring. “Also, Vito Mielnicki Jr., a good friend of mine, he’s 154 lbs.”

Zayas is currently ranked No. 5 by the WBO, No. 7 by the WBC, and No. 13 by the IBF. Josh Kelly and Erickson Lubin are both ranked above him in the WBO rankings, where Zayas has the closest path to a title. Although Zayas had hoped to stop the former titlist in less than six rounds, he praised Teixeira’s craft after the fight.

“He knew how to survive in there,” Zayas said. “It was a tough test, but I passed it with flying colors.”

Zayas viewed his first headlining bout as a valuable learning experience, paving the way for future title challenges and more marquee fights. Reflecting on his first time headlining in New York and going ten rounds, he said:

“Like everybody at Top Rank tells me, before you go 12 you’ve got to go ten [rounds],” Zayas said. “I did it today. I graduated against a former world champion.”

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