Verdejo returns to Orlando

Blue chip lightweight prospect Felix Verdejo, a 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian, will be back in action on Oct. 4 in Orlando, Fla., promoter Top Rank announced.

Verdejo (14-0, 10 KOs), 21, will face Sergio Villanueva (26-4-2, 13 KOs), 23, of Mexico, in an eight-round bout that will headline a “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card on Spanish-language network UniMas. The card will take place at the Bahia Shrine Auditorium and Events Center.

The fight will be Verdejo’s third in Orlando, where there is a large Puerto Rican population and where he has had great fan support for his previous bouts there.

“I am very happy to return to Orlando,” Verdejo said. “This will be my third fight there and feel like I am home with all my fellow countryman in the audience and they make me feel very welcome and I want to give them a great fight.”

In his last fight on Aug. 16, Verdejo went the eight-round distance for the first time -- in his first scheduled eight-rounder -- as he scored a shutout of experienced Oscar Bravo in Puerto Rico.

Although Villanueva lost his last fight, dropping a 10-round decision, he went the distance with the experienced junior lightweight contender Rey Bautista in the Philippines in May.

“I don’t know anything about Villanueva but I know that Mexican fighters give everything in the ring and I will prepare well for this bout,” Verdejo said. “My work in the gym will be very important as I truly believed that to win in the ring you must put in the work in the gym.”

Three fights ago Villanueva was stopped in the seventh round by Jose Pedraza, who is viewed by many as Puerto Rico’s second-best prospect behind Verdejo. Undoubtedly, many will be looking to compare their performances against Villanueva.

The card will also include featherweight Gamalier Rodriguez (24-2-3, 16 KOs) in the eight-round co-feature against Charlie Serrano (16-4-1, 5 KOs). Also on the undercard, will be super middleweight Esquiva Falcao (4-0, 2 KOs), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil, and junior bantamweight Jantony Ortiz (2-0, 2 KOs), a 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian.