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Ray Beltran Prepares to Defend World Title

Ray Beltran scratched and clawed and spent nearly 19 years as a pro boxer before earning his first world title. He outpointed Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, to win the vacant WBO lightweight title, a lifelong dream finally fulfilled. A native of Los Mochis, Mexico, Beltran is now a proud resident of Phoenix, a short drive from where he will make his first title defense.

Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) will defend his title against former 130-pound world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza as the headliner of an ESPN-televised card, Aug. 25 at the Gila River Area in Glendale, Arizona.

Beltran returned home Saturday for a full slate of media activities, including an open workout at Gent’s Boxing Club in Glendale and as a guest broadcaster for the second inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks Alumni Game.

This is what he had to say.

On his future: Hopefully, we have another big fight coming up against {Vasiliy} Lomachenko. I’m pretty happy when I fight the best. I’ve had no easy fights in my boxing career. We made our own way. We made our own name. We got a contract with Top Rank after 20-something fights. Nobody created our record. I have a lot of knockouts, but I have more power than it looks like on {my record}. All the losses that I have, four or five were robberies. I’m ready. Right now, I’m focused on Pedraza, but we dream big.”

On fighting for Phoenix and Mexico: “I feel like my heart is in half. I feel like a Phoenix fighter, but I’m also a Mexican fighter from my hometown. I can’t believe what I’ve come from. I come from nothing. I come from a place where nobody is supposed to make it. I think it’s important that the people where I came from know about it, so they get the message — whatever you want to do in life, if you work hard, you can make a change.”

On his opponent: “Pedraza is a former world champion. I believe he’s going to bring some heat. He’s going to come and fight hard to take the belt away from me. He bobs and moves around the ring a lot. He’s got good footwork, but we’ve been working at Wild Card with all different types of styles.”

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Beltran-Pedraza and the Isaac Dogboe-Hidenori Otake WBO junior featherweight title bout will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at www.gilariverarena.com.
For more information visit:  www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook:facebook.com/trboxing,facebook.com/trboxeo, facebook.com/espndeportes; Twitter:twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo, @ESPNDeportes.
Use the hashtags #BeltranPedraza and #DogboeOtake to join the conversation on social media.

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