Ray Beltran moves up to 140 pounds to face Hiroki Okada on Ramirez-Zepeda card

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Ray Beltran believes moving up in weight will best serve him during his final years as a pro.

Beltran will face unbeaten Hiroki Okada on Feb. 10, Top Rank announced. The 10-round bout will take place at the SaveMart Center in Fresno, California. The fight will precede the main event bout between WBC junior welterweight titleholder Jose Ramirez and Jose Zepeda.

Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT). Beltran (35-8-1, 1 ND, 21 knockouts) lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Jose Pedraza on Aug. 25 in Glendale, Arizona, not far from his adopted hometown of Phoenix. Pedraza would win Beltran’s WBO lightweight title.

The 37-year-old Beltran, who has been fighting as a pro since July of 1997, is open to moving down to 135 pounds after the Okada fight.

“I am excited about 2019, and this camp has been a great way to start my journey to another world title opportunity,” said Beltran, whose path to citizenship in the United States country has been well-documented. 

“If it’s at 140, then I will be a two-division world champion. If it’s at 135, then I will be a two-time lightweight champion. I will leave that to Top Rank and my manager, Steven Feder.”

“I made some changes and am now working with Marvin Somodio, who for many years learned from the great Freddie Roach. Marvin and my longtime strength coach, Bryan McComb, are bringing me back to the skills and basics that got me here. I’m a boxer, I’m a prizefighter, and that’s what my fans will see Feb. 10.”

Okada (19-0, 13 KOs), who hails from Tokyo, Japan, is ranked in the top 10 in three of boxing’s sanctioning bodies, with the highest being a No. 2 ranking by the WBO.

The 29-year-old Okada defeated Cristian Coria in his last bout on Sept. 14, which is also took place in Fresno. Okada’s most notable win was a sixth-round technical knockout over Jason Pagara in December of 2017.

“To challenge for the world title, I’ve got to beat Beltran,” said Okada. “As a former world champion, I know he’s highly-skilled. I know he’s tough, so I’ll be prepared for a good fight. It’s an honor to be able to fight him, and I’m confident that I will win. I’ve watched his fights on video, and I believe in my power coming into this fight.”

Headlining the ESPN+ stream (4 pm. ET/ 1 p.m. PT) will be a 10-round crossroads bout between featherweight contender Genesis Servania and unbeaten Carlos Castro.

Servania (32-1, 15 KOs) has won his last three fights since his decision loss to WBO featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez in September of 2017. Servania is the mandatory challenger for Valdez’s title.

Castro (21-0, 9 KOs) defeated Diuhl Olguin by unanimous decision in his last bout on Aug. 25. Junior lightweight contender Andy Vences (21-0-1, 12 KOs) will face Dardan Zenunaj (14-5, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

Also on the card:

– Lightweight Saul Rodriguez (22-0-1, 16 KOs) will square off against Brazil’s Aelio Mesquita (17-3, 15 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

– 18-year-old Gabriel Flores, Jr. (11-0, 5 KOs), who resides in nearby Stockton, will face Alex Torres Rynn (6-2, 3 KOs) in a six-round junior lightweight bout.

– Heavyweight Guido Vianello (1-0, KO) of Italy, who recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank, will square off against Andrew Satterfield (4-1, 2 KOs) in a six-round bout.

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