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Las Vegan Angelo Leo to defend WBO title on Showtime card

It was supposed to be one of the marquee super bantamweight title fights of 2020. Unbeaten Angelo Leo versus unbeaten Stephen Fulton for the vacant WBO championship.

But the coronavirus pandemic delayed the bout until Saturday.

Leo (20-0, nine knockouts) is one of three Las Vegans fighting Saturday on Showtime’s first boxing card of 2021, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. His title fight against Fulton (18-0, eight KOs) serves as the main event.

Las Vegas super bantamweight Raeese Aleem will fight Vic Pasillas for the interim WBA title on the undercard, and Las Vegas lightweight Rolando Romero will meet Avery Sparrow.

Leo, 26, is the headliner after winning the WBO crown by decision over Tramaine Williams on Aug. 1 after Fulton was pulled from the card because of a positive COVID-19 test.

“The 122-pound division is stacked with a lot of talent. There’s a lot of fighters who are still undefeated, and I just want to fight the best,” said Leo, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, native promoted by Mayweather Promotions. “This fight against Fulton has taught me a lot already. It’s a huge fight for me. I know that winning this already solidifies my spot.”

Aleem (17-0, 11 KOs) last fought Aug. 1, defeating Marcus Bates by unanimous decision in a WBA title eliminator to earn his shot at the interim title. The 30-year-old said he thinks Pasillas (16-0, nine KOs) is one of the best boxers in the division.

If he defeats Pasillas, Aleem hopes his next fight is against unified super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

“I’m not ducking or dodging anyone,” Aleem said. “I’m going to be a world champion by all means necessary.”

Romero (12-0, 10 KOs), promoted by Mayweather Promotions, is fighting for the first time since Aug. 15, when he won a controversial decision over Jackson Marinez to claim the WBA’s interim lightweight title.

Marinez landed more jabs and power punches, but Romero defended his victory this week, telling detractors to “watch the fight again without any commentary and then see what they’d say.”

Romero is a power puncher and needs a good showing against Sparrow (10-2, three KOs) to secure a marquee opponent.

“I like knocking people out. Fans want to see a knockout,” Romero said. “I don’t think it hurts my chances at landing the big fights in the future, but I know there are fighters in the division who don’t want to step up.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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