Fight Week: Punching machine William Zepeda set to face Maxi Hughes


Top 135-pound contender William Zepeda is scheduled to face slick Maxi Hughes in a title eliminator Saturday in Las Vegas.

VS. MAXI HUGHES (26-6-2, 5 KOs)

  • Date: Saturday, March 16

  • Time: 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT (main event later in show)

  • Where: The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

  • TV/StreamDAZN

  • Division: Lightweight (135 pounds)

  • At stake: No major titles

  • Pound-for-pound: None

  • Odds: Zepeda 6-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)

  • Significance (up to five stars): ***

  • Also on the card: Floyd Schofield vs. Esteuri Suero, lightweights; Marlen Esparza vs. Gabriela Alaniz, flyweights (for Esparza’s WBA, WBC and WBO titles); Victor Morales vs. Luis Reynado Nunez, featherweights

  • Background: Zepeda is hot on the heels of the top 135-pounders after a series of impressive performances. The volume-punching, powerful 27-year-old southpaw from Mexico is coming off his biggest victory, a brutal sixth-round knockout of former top contender Mercito Gesta in September. That followed a near-shutout victory over former 130-pound champ Joseph Diaz in October 2022 and a second-round stoppage over Jaime Arboleda last April. Zepeda threw a division-record 1,536 punches in the Diaz fight, according to CompuBox. He’s ranked in the Top 5 of all major sanctioning bodies, No. 1 by both the WBA and WBC. His fight with Hughes is being billed as a title eliminator for the IBF and WBA. Hughes, a 33-year-old southpaw from the U.K., is a good boxer with limited power. He gave a strong performance against former 135-pound titleholder George Kambosos Jr. in his most recent fight last July, losing a disputed majority decision. That effort evidently earned him a shot at Zepeda. He had won his previous seven fights, including a majority decision over capable Kid Galahad in September 2022.




  • Radivoje Kalajdzic vs. Sullivan Barrera, light heavyweights, Plant City, Florida (ProBox TV)

  • Sam Goodman vs. Mark Schleibs, junior featherweights, Wollongong, Australia (no TV in U.S.)


  • Callum Walsh vs. Dauren Yeleussinov, junior middleweights, New York (UFC Fight Pass)


  • Nathan Heaney vs. Brad Pauls, middleweights, Birmingham, England (ESPN+)

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie