Andy Cruz To Face Top 10 Fighter Next After ‘Mismatch’ Win Against Brayan Zamarripa

February 25, 2024
2 months
Andy Cruz

Andy Cruz is expected to return to the ring in May or June and will fight a top-10 ranked opponent, his promoter Eddie Hearn said, after the Cuban’s dominant win over Brayan Zamarripa on Saturday.

The Cuban lightweight is one of the most exciting prospects in boxing and further enhanced his reputation in the chief support fight to Edgar Berlanga’s knockout win against Padraig McCrory at Caribe Royale Orlando in Florida. Cruz was in a different class to Zamarripa, winning every round to earn a sweep on the judges’ scorecards 109-99, 109-99 and 109-99.

“What we saw tonight was a complete mismatch with Andy Cruz just battering Zamarripa. That’s just the level that he’s at,” Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn said.

“May or June at the latest. I want to keep him nice and active now,” Hearn added when asked about when Cruz would next be in action. “He did ten rounds tonight. It was a lot of work. He didn’t get hit a lot. We’ll speak to the team, and in May or June, he’ll be back.”

One of the names Hearn mentioned as a potential next opponent for Cruz was WBO No 3 contender Angel Fierro, who was taken to a split decision by Zamarripa in September last year – a stark contrast to the total domination Cruz dished out against the Mexican.

“It has to be,” said Hearn when asked if Cruz will next face a top-10 fighter. “Angel Fierro, who is No 3 with the WBO, who beat Zamarripa. That’s a great fight. You saw with [Jovanni] Staffon that [Cruz] comes to fight. Andy actually walked him down. That’s two back-to-back fights.

“He did it a little bit against [Juan Carlos] Burgos, where he’s actually walking an opponent down. I really enjoyed what I heard from [trainer] Bozy [Ennis to Cruz]. ‘Walk him down. Let your hands go.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ So, they’re getting him to fight in that style.

“Now, we got to face that kind of opposition. We got to face a real top ten guy next because he’s just going to breeze through all these guys.”

Who Else Could Cruz Face Next?

If Hearn is determined to match Cruz with a top-10 fighter, there should be plenty of fights that could be made, at least in theory.

The problem that Hearn could face is which high-ranking lightweight would want to take the fight? Cruz carries an enormous reputation following his stellar amateur career but is arguably not yet a big enough star in the pro ranks to generate the sort of revenue that would be worth the risk for many top-10 fighters.

There will, of course, always be fights to be made, particularly in a lightweight division packed with talent. A showdown with fellow Cuban Pablo Vicente – ranked No 10 by the WBC – would hold obvious appeal and he has not fought since a defeat at super-featherweight to Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov last November.

Unbeaten Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk – ranked No 7 by the IBF and WBC – could be another who fits the profile Hearn is looking at for Cruz’s next fight. Then there is the big one: former amateur rival Keyshawn Davis, whom Cruz beat in three major gold medal bouts, including at the Tokyo Olympics.

Davis, near the top of the WBC, WBO, and IBF rankings, recently distanced himself from a bout with Cruz in the near future, while the Cuban said he was willing to fight the American when he proves himself to be one of the best in the division. That is likely a fight for further down the road.