Puerto Rican sensation Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs) is quickly emerging as the next big star from the Island, now 18 fights into his pro campaign as a lightweight. Puerto Rican boxing is going through a down period and now with the recent loss of Miguel Cotto this past Saturday, Jose Pedraza remains the lone World Champion from Puerto Rico.
Boxing fans, in general, especially from the Island, have high hopes for the 22-year-old former Olympian from San Juan. The excitement surrounding Verdejo’s career is for good reason, he’s currently backed by one of the top promoters in Top Rank and the legendary promoter Bob Arum see’s tremendous upside for the kid, perhaps surpassing the success of his countryman, Hall of Famer Felix Trinidad.
ThaBoxingVoice own Sean Zittel recently caught up with the up and coming Puerto Rican fighter to get his thoughts on his potential, his future and whether he can be next big thing coming from the Island.
“Time will tell, “stated Felix Verdejo through his translator. “I’m going to keep developing in this sport and I’m going to keep working hard to bring happiness to my country.”
The upside in Verdejo’s career cannot be ignored, while it remains to be seen if he can be as big as Miguel Cotto and Felix Trinidad, he has the tools to become one of Boxing’s top stars today. Verdejo has the smile, the personality, and a dynamic offensive fighting style- recording some highlight reel knockouts since making his professional debut in December of 2012. Plus, with the promotional backing of Top Rank — who have gained a reputation for knowing how to develop talent — and the backing of his countryman Felix Trinidad who sees him as his protégé, the sky’s the limit for Felix Verdejo.
“That’s what motivates me and I have been training very hard to accomplish my goals,” said Verdejo through his translator. “I see myself as a boxer-puncher. I don’t want to go into wars, but I’m going to do my style of boxing inside the ring.”
Next up for Verdejo is a return to his native home in San Juan where he will take on Josenilson Dos Santos (27-3, 17KOs) at the Roberto Clemente Coliseo on December 11. Should Verdejo get pass Dos Santos, his Promoter Bob Arum would like to get him ready for a world title shot for sometime next year.
There are many potential opponents for Verdejo in the future with such fighters as Yuriorkis Gamboa, a matchup with Nicholas Walters, and perhaps another crack at Vasyl Lomanchencko who ended Verdejo’s run in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics. The future opponents are there and with his large frame promoter Bob Arum eventually sees Verdejo campaigning as a Welterweight.
Verdejo was asked whether he see himself as one of the best fighters in the world pound for pound five years from now, but he does not like to predict the future and will continue to work extremely hard to accomplish his goals.