Undefeated WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Alberto “La Avispa” Puello will make the first defense of his world title when he takes on hard-hitting contender Rolando “Rolly” Romero on Saturday, May 13 live on SHOWTIME from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features two additional super lightweight bouts with former two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy dueling the all-action Omar “El Relámpago” Juarez in the 10-round super lightweight co-main event, plus top super lightweight contenders Batyr Akhmedov and SHOBOX® alum Kenneth Sims, Jr., meet in a 12-round WBA Super Lightweight World Title Eliminator opening up the telecast.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and available for purchase through Ticketmaster.com.
“Saturday, May 13 in Las Vegas lines up to be a fantastic three-fight card with intriguing matchups in the stacked super lightweight division, topped by WBA 140-pound world champion Alberto Puello defending his belt against the always-exciting ‘Rolly’ Romero,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The former two-division champ Rances Barthelemy and young action fighter Omar Juarez will meet in an intriguing crossroads co-main event clash, while two of the 140-pound division’s toughest contenders, Batyr Akhmedov and Kenneth Sims, Jr., look to put themselves in position to fight for a world title opening the telecast.”
“This is a big opportunity for ‘Rolly’ and there’s no doubt that he’s going to make the most of it,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “He’s focused on preparing to get back in the ring and I know that he’s looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans on May 13.”
A native of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) now fights out of Las Vegas under the tutelage of renowned trainer Bob Santos, who also trains Puello’s childhood friend, former WBA 130-Pound World Champion Hector Luis Garcia. The 28-year-old captured his world championship in his most recent fight, earning a hard-fought decision victory over Akhmedov last August on SHOWTIME. Puello leapt up the rankings in July 2019, handing Jonathan Alonso his first career defeat with a unanimous decision victory that earned him an interim title. He was also successful in his U.S. debut in December 2021, as he scored a unanimous decision victory over Veshawn Owens in Owens’ hometown.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I have to defend my world title on SHOWTIME,” said Puello. “’Rolly’ has fought at the elite level, so I’m looking forward to testing myself and showing why I am the champion. I’m confident in my skills and I’m coming with everything I’ve got. This is going to be one of the best fights of the year, so make sure you tune in.”
Part of the Mayweather Promotions stable, Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) is known for his brash talk that he backs up with power in both hands as well as an exciting, unique style that makes him must-see whenever he steps between the ropes. Romero returns to the ring for the first time since a May 2022 defeat against three-division champion Gervonta Davis. Prior to the Davis fight, Romero won an interim title in August 2020 by earning a close but unanimous decision over then unbeaten Jackson Marinez. The 27-year-old followed that victory up with a pair of impressive knockout triumphs, dominating slick contender Avery Sparrow with a seventh-round stoppage in January 2021 before dropping former title challenger Anthony Yigit three times on his way to another seventh-round stoppage in July 2021.
“I’m excited to become a world champion on May 13,” said Romero. “Everyone knows what I bring to the ring. It’s gonna be an entertaining show. I hope Puello comes in 100%, because I ready to show that I’m an elite fighter in this division.”
A native of Havana, Cuba now fighting out of Las Vegas, Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) returns after a defeat to Gary Antuanne Russell last July in which many believed the referee waived off the fight prematurely. A world champion at 130 and 135 pounds, Barthelemy owns notable victories over Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco, Mickey Bey and Denis Shafikov. His only other professional loss came in a 2018 140-pound championship rematch against Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy comes from a fighting family, as he is the middle brother between the younger Leduan and the older Yan, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
“I’m looking forward to putting on a good show against a young, hungry fighter like Omar Juarez,” said Barthelemy. “I want to thank everyone who put me in this position and made this fight happen. At this stage in my career, it’s about building my legacy, and that means getting a knockout on May 13. My hands will be flying when that bell rings.”
The 23-year-old Juarez (14-1, 5 KOs) enters the ring propelled by momentum gained from his efforts inside and outside the ring. He enters the fight on a three-bout winning streak following a June 2021 defeat to All Rivera, including 2022 victories over Ryan Karl in February and Austin Dulay in December. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Juarez has achieved recognition in his community by uplifting the state’s youth through motivational speaking, receiving commendations from the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives for his altruism.
“This is the biggest fight of my life and I’m grateful to my team for making it happen,” said Juarez. “Rances brings a tremendous amount of experience to the ring, so I know that I have to make the proper adjustments as this fight goes on. I know if I win this fight, big doors will continue to open for me. So believe me when I say that I’m coming to win and win impressively.”
Born in Uzbekistan and now fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif., Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) represented Turkey at the 2016 Olympic Games. The 32-year-old turned pro in 2017 and won his first seven pro fights, with six coming by knockout. Most recently, Akhmedov lost a narrow split-decision to Puello in a vacant 140-pound title fight last August on SHOWTIME, with his only other blemish coming in a 2019 action-fight against Mario Barrios.
“I’m looking forward to my return to the ring this May,” said Akhmedov. “My goal has always been to win a world championship and I have faith in myself. The fans know that I’m always in exciting fights, and this matchup is going to be more of the same.”
The 29-year-old Sims (19-2-1, 7 KOs) is one of the hottest fighters in the 140-pound division and can move one step closer to a world title with a victory on May 13. Representing his native Chicago, Ill., Sims has won six-straight outings dating back to May 2018 including triumphs over then-unbeaten fighters Elvis Rodriguez and Keeshawn Williams in 2021. Most recently, Sims dispatched Rock Myrthil in the fifth-round of their December 2022 showdown.
“I’m really excited about this fight,” said Sims. “This is what I’ve been asking for and will bring the best out in me. I believe that Akhmedov won his last fight and should be champion right now. This is not gonna be an easy task, but I will prove that I belong with the big names in the 140-pound division.”