There are no guarantees in boxing. Anything can happen at any time. But if the histories of the four fighters in the co-features are any indications, fans could be in store for a pair of action-packed fights on the Golden Boy on ESPN card this Friday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
In the main event Andrew "El Chango" Cancio (18-4-2, 14 KOs) takes on Dardan Zenunaj (14-4, 11 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout.
In his most recent bout Cancio, of Ventura, California, scored a tenth-round TKO of previously undefeated Aidar Sharibayev on April 12, 2018, at the same venue as Friday's match.
Sharibayev got off to a good start, outworking Cancio the first two round, but near the end of the third, Cancio floored his Kazakh opponent with a left hook. The quicker Sharibayev stayed busy and used good head movement to avoid a lot of punches, but he was decked again in the fifth by a right to the head. When Cancio rocked Sharibayev in the 10th, the referee stopped the fight.
The Sharibayev victory was Cancio's first bout since he suffered a ninth-round TKO loss to Joseph "JoJo" Diaz in Spt. 2016.
"I checked Zenunaj out a couple of times," Cancio said. "He's a come-forward type fighter, likes to engage. He said he wants this to be a Mickey Ward-Arturo Gatti type fight, so I won't have to look for him. I've been training hard and working on body punches."
Albanian Zenunaj, 31, turned pro in January 2011 and had 10 of his first 11 bouts in his adopted homeland of Belgium, including a second-round knockout of Andras Varga to win the Belgium featherweight title.
His first fight in the United Sates was in December 2011, a seventh-round TKO of previously unbeaten Bryant Cruz. Overall, Zenunaj is 3-3 in his U.S. campaign.
In his most recent fight, Zenunaj lost a six-round technical decision to Carlos Morales in December 2017. Morales out-boxed Zenunaj the first three round, but suffered a cut over his right eye in the fourth due to an accidental clash of heads. Zenunaj rallied in the fifth, hurting Morales with a body punch, but never had an opportunity to follow-up.
When the doctor examined Morale's cut, the fighter told him his vision was "blurry," so the fight was stopped and awarded to Morales because he was ahead on points. Naturally, Zenunaj is determined to get back in the winning column against Cancio.
"I believe this will be a very, very aggressive performance by both guys, which could spell an epic night of boxing," said Joe Goossen, Zenunaj's trainer. "I don't like to jump the gun and say it could be a classic brawl, but I think it will be -- two guys that won't back up and they're in very good condition."
In the co-feature, Yoshihiro "The Maestrito" Kamegai (27-4-1, 24 KOs) faces Greg "The Villain" Vendetti (19-2-1, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round junior middleweight bout.
Kamegai, 35, of Tokyo, is one of those fighters who, win or lose, is generally in a fun fight. Fans will recall his two brawls with Jesus Soto Karass in 2016. The first bout, which ended in a 10-round split draw, was an exciting, fast-paced slugfest. In the rematch Soto Karass gave his usual all-out effort but was eventually battered into an eighth-round TKO defeat by Kamegai.
The victory earned Kamegai a match with Miguel Cotto for a vacant junior middleweight title in August 2017. Kamegai was aggressive, had a couple of rallies and lasted the distance, but Cotto was simply too good for him and won a unanimous decision.
Vendetti, a popular New England attraction, is on a 15-fight winning streak. He's tough, determined and a good body puncher. He has never been knocked down or stopped.
"I push the action. Some people would say aggressive, some would say a brawler, some people would say an in-fighter, things like that," Vendetti said when asked about his fighting style. "I don't really hang back. I'd rather win by knockout or get knocked out, if that means anything."
Vendetti, 28, of Stoneham, Massachusetts, is thrilled that he's going to share the ring with a boxer of Kamegai's stature.
"He's great, a real warrior," Vendetti said. "It's a dream come true being able to fight this kind of kid. This dude's a tank, there is no quit in this kid. He's going to throw the whole time. He's a down-and-dirty, die-on-your-sword type soldier. To be able to get in there and compete against a guy like that is what it's about. I'm pumped. I'm so excited!"