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Bradley joins welterweight mix

Unbeaten Timothy Bradley is a junior welterweight star, but welterweight is where the money is.

That’s part of the reason he’s going back to 147 pounds, perhaps for good, to fight Luis Carlos Abregu on HBO on July 17 at Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Bradley’s scheduled 140-pound fight against Marcos Maidana fell through for shadowy reasons, giving Bradley (25-0, 11 knockouts) an opportunity to wade back into the welterweight division.

If he beats Abregu and looks good, it could set up Bradley for a big-money fight this year or in early 2011.

“I want to fight the big names in the game,” Bradley said. “I feel I deserve my just due. As long as I keep winning, it’s going to happen sooner or later.”

Welterweight offers him the best chance for the biggest fight of his career. That’s where Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Devon Alexander and Andre Berto reside.

“It opens up a whole new division for Timothy,” said Cameron Dunkin, Bradley’s manager. “There are a lot of opportunities for him at 147.”

Gary Shaw, who promotes Bradley, said: “If there’s a fight at 147 with Pacquiao, Mayweather or Devon Alexander, we’ll make it.”

Bradley has no reservations about moving up in weight; many of his early fights were at welterweight.

“I don’t think it will hurt my speed or quickness,” he said. “I think I’ll be stronger and faster. I’m doing a little more strength training than usual, so I won’t get pushed around. I like my opponents bigger so I can get inside them and hurt them.”

Bradley’s bout against Maidana fell through when Maidana claimed to hurt his back while beating Victor Manuel Cayo for the interim WBA title March 27 at the Hard Rock Hotel. But Shaw said the injury was bogus, and reports in Maidana’s native Argentina indicate he is in a financial dispute with his manager.

“He should be punished for what he did, pulling out of the fight after lying,” Shaw said of Maidana, who has a three-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions. “But it all worked out for Timothy. He’s going to be on HBO for the first time, and this could be the best thing that ever happened to his career.”

■ SANCHEZ PASSES TEST — Dawn Sanchez of Las Vegas has qualified to work as an international amateur referee and judge after passing her tests with the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

Sanchez, who has been a judge and referee with USA Boxing, is now eligible to work in all amateur competitions, including the Olympics and the World Championships.

“It was very hard,” said Sanchez, 30, who took the test in 2009. “I’ve been preparing 12 years for this. But growing up in the sport helped me get ready.”

Sanchez said AIBA uses a rotation system to determine who works its highest-profile events. She said she will be patient, even if she misses out on the chance to judge at the 2012 Olympics.

“I know there will be opportunities,” she said. “I have to start at the bottom and work my way up.”

■ JUNIOR NATIONALS — Deyon Christie of Las Vegas won his second major amateur title Friday in the 201-pound division of the USA Boxing Junior National Championship at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Christie, a junior-to-be at Western High School who fights out of Barry’s Boxing, stopped Sardius Simmons of Flint, Mich., 48 seconds into the championship bout.

Christie won the Silver Gloves national title at 201 in February. He is expected to compete in the Junior Golden Gloves Nationals in Mesquite next month.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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