Robinson Castellanos and Oscar Escandon to fight for interim featherweight title

Featherweights Robinson Castellanos and Oscar Escandon will meet for a vacant interim world title on March 5 at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C., Golden Boy Promotions announced on Monday.

The bout will take place on the undercard of the heavyweight fight between interim titlist Luis Ortiz and Tony Thompson. Ortiz-Thompson and the vacant welterweight title bout between Sadam Ali and Jessie Vargas will be televised on HBO (10 p.m. ET/PT) while Castellanos-Escandon will be streamed live on the Ring magazine website beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

"Robinson Castellanos is a talented fighter with true grit, and I trust he will give it all in the ring on March 5 when he gets his first shot at a world championship," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. "Given Robinson's thirst for this victory and the pedigree of his opponent, Oscar Escandon, fans will be pleased with how this plays out in the ring at the DC Armory."

Castellanos (23-11, 13 KOs), 33, of Mexico, is a feel-good story after back-to-back upset wins. He knocked out then-undefeated Ronny Rios in the fifth round in October 2014 and followed with a lopsided decision victory against Rocky Juarez last January to earn the mandatory shot against titleholder Gary Russell.

When Russell suffered a cut in training and pulled out of a voluntary defense against Escandon in November, the interim title bout was approved. Russell is expected to defend his title against Patrick Hyland on March 12 on the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter undercard.

"This is the biggest fight of my career," Castellanos said. "I know that Oscar Escandon is going to be a tough opponent. He is a former Olympian with recent victories over other difficult fighters like Jesus Cuellar. But I feel very strong, focused and have been working very hard to make sure I obtain the victory.

"The [Mexican] state of Guanajuato has not had a world champion in more than 35 years and to be able to fight for a world title as a representative of my home is a big motivator for me. I want to thank my team, Golden Boy Promotions and all my supporters for this opportunity. I promise I will have my hands raised up in victory on March 5."

Escandon (24-2, 16 KOs), 31, a 2004 Colombian Olympian, is coming off a split-decision loss to Moises Flores in a fight for an interim junior featherweight belt last April. Now he has a chance to claim an interim belt in a heavier weight class.

"I feel very happy and thankful to be fighting for the [interim] world title," said Escandon, who is dedicating the fight to his newborn daughter. "I know Robinson. He is strong [and a] hard puncher, but I am going to be 100 percent prepared for this fight. I have been training very hard and want to make sure I take the title back to my home. May the best man win."

Escandon owns a 2011 seventh-round knockout victory against Jesus Cuellar, who now holds one of the featherweight world titles.