Junior middleweight John Vera is headed overseas to fight for the right for a world title shot.
Vera, of Fort Worth, Texas, will take on Michel Soro on March 24 on Soro’s turf in Marseilles, France, Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions has announced.
Vera (18-0, 11 KOs) and Soro (31-2-1, 21 KOs) will be fighting to earn the mandatory position to challenge world titleholder Erislandy Lara, though Lara first has a unification fight scheduled for April 7 against Jarrett Hurd.
Vera was initially ordered to face Kazakhstan’s Kanat Islam (25-0, 20 KOs) in the title elimination bout, but Islam withdrew from the negotiation process, paving the way for Soro to land the fight.
“This is what Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions has been working towards for John and we are excited to have John showcase his skills to the world,” company CEO Keith Veltre said. “John is incredibly dedicated to his craft and will give 110 percent for this fight against Soro.”
Vera, a 29-year-old southpaw, is untested against top opposition. He is coming off a third-round knockout of Sunday Ajuwa on Sept. 29 in Dallas, and is not concerned about going on the road for his biggest fight.
“As always, my team and I won’t cut any corners and are making calculated moves to ensure we are ready to be victorious,” Vera said. “Fighting in France is a huge motivator for me and it’s time to show the world who John Vera is.”
In 2012, Soro, 30, traveled to Ukraine and fought for a junior middleweight world title but lost a unanimous decision to Zaurbek Baysangurov.
Soro’s only other defeat came on July 1 in France, where he lost a split decision to Brian Castano, of Argentina, for an interim world title. Soro rebounded Dec. 2 for a third-round knockout of Mexico’s Ivan Montero.