NEW YORK — After a nearly two-year layoff, former junior featherweight world champion Jonathan “Salomon King” Guzman’s comeback begins Saturday, Oct. 30 in an eight-round showdown against Carlos Jackson at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Guzman-Jackson, a strong contender to steal the New York City spotlight, headlines a stacked undercard (ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) before hometown kid Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas’ step-up test against Jose “Chon” Zepeda in the 10-round junior welterweight main event (ESPN+ 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Guzman (24-1, 23 KOs) won the IBF junior featherweight world title in July 2016 with an 11th-round TKO over Shingo Wake in Wake’s home country of Japan. Five months later, he returned to Japan and lost his title to Yukinori Oguni by unanimous decision. One of the Dominican Republic’s most accomplished fighters, Guzman has fought only twice since the Oguni defeat. In January 2020, he knocked out Rodolfo Hernandez Montoya in three rounds. Jackson (17-1, 11 KOs) is best known to a small contingent of MGM Grand Bubble attendees for his July 2020 war against Jose Enrique Vivas. In one of the year’s most hellacious action bouts — a battle of blood-curdling body blows — Vivas picked up the contested 10-round decision.
New York City crowd favorite Mathew “Lefty Gunz” Gonzalez (12-0, 8 KOs) will look to pick up his third consecutive knockout against Dakota Linger (12-5-2, 8 KOs) in a six-rounder at junior welterweight.
Welterweight Pablo Valdez (4-0, 4 KOs), a New Yorker who trains alongside super-middleweight star Edgar Berlanga, hopes to keep his perfect record intact against Alejandro Martinez (2-1-1, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Jahi Tucker (4-0, 2 KOs), the rising welterweight star from Deer Park, New York, makes his MSG debut in a scheduled six-rounder versus Jorge Rodrigo Sosa (3-2, 3 KOs). Tucker, 18, turned pro at 17 last year inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.
Ray Cuadrado (1-0, 1 KO), a one-time New York City amateur standout, will face Michael Land (1-3-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at junior lightweight.
Top junior welterweight prospect Kasir “Mazzi” Goldston (3-0, 1 KO), from Albany, New York, will step up against Marc Misiura (2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.