- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former two-division world champion Vic Darchinyan, now campaigning as a junior featherweight, signed this week with Top Rank and will make his debut with the company on May 11.
Darchinyan (38-5-1, 27 KOs), a former flyweight and unified junior bantamweight champion, will face Javier Gallo (18-6-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Mexico at Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo, Texas. The fight will be the main event of a "Solo Boxeo Tecate" card on Spanish-language network UniMas, Top Rank announced on Thursday.
"Vic brings an all-action style of fighting to a very exciting boxing division," Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. "I am looking forward to watching Vic bring it on May 11."
Also on the card will be two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (3-0, 3 KOs) in a four-round featherweight bout against an opponent to be determined.
Darchinyan had recently signed with manager Frank Espinoza, who also manages Valdez, and Espinoza made a deal with Top Rank to also take on Darchinyan, who was a staple in world title fights on Showtime for years.
The card will the first boxing event at Uni-Trade Stadium, the home of the Laredo Lemurs, an independent minor league baseball team.
Darchinyan, a native of Armenia who has lived for years in Australia, lost back-to-back bantamweight world title fights to Anselmo Moreno in December 2011 and Shinsuke Yamanaka in April 2012 before impressively rebounding to outpoint undefeated rising prospect Luis Orlando Del Valle in a junior featherweight bout in September.
"Vic is an established pro coming off a nice win on HBO, and he always makes for entertaining fights," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said regarding the reason the company elected to signing Darchinyan. "He can fight at 122 or 126 pounds. He'll definitely fit in against someone at some point in the coming months."
Top Rank promotes several notable fighters at featherweight, including titleholders Mikey Garcia and Evgeny Gradovich and former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, and junior featherweight, including unified champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and former titleholder Nonito Donaire.
Moretti said Darchinyan could get a shot at the winner of Saturday's vacant junior featherweight title fight between Victor Terrazas and Cristian Mijares. In 2008, Darchinyan scored his most significant victory when he knocked out Mijares in the ninth round to unify three major junior bantamweight world titles.
Welterweight contender Luis Carlos Abregu, 29, of Argentina, has also signed with Top Rank, the company announced Friday. The signing had been in the works for weeks and comes as no surprise.
Before signing, Abregu (34-1, 28 KOs) was already lined up to face fellow contender Antonin Decarie (27-1, 8 KOs), 30, of Quebec on April 27 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the HBO-televised co-feature to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's title defense against Martin Murray.
"We are delighted to have Carlos as part of our Top Rank group of fighters. He is a good, strong welterweight who will perform at the highest level against top competition," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said.
In October, Abregu knocked out previously undefeated hot prospect Thomas Dulorme of Puerto Rico in the seventh round for his highest-profile victory.
Abregu's lone professional defeat came in July 2011 when he lost a unanimous decision to Timothy Bradley Jr., who later won a welterweight world title.
23hMalik Smith, ESPN Stats & Information