The Cork-Cuban cruiser has fought just once since his WBC world title defeat to Mairis Breidis in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] – a 30-second destruction of Pablo Matius Magrini in Waterford back in February.
The Caribbean 32-year-old has stayed in the gym since and Perez will now return next Saturday night [October 20th] at the CFE Arena in Orlando, Florida, where he will face Puerto Rican Keith Tapia [18(11)-1(0)].
The ten-round undercard fight will take place on a WBSS double-header card in the Sunshine State and there is a chance ‘The Rebel’ could find himself back in this year’s tournament.
Perez is the designated first reserve for the WBSS Season 2 cruiserweight quarter-final between Cuban Yunier Dorticos, a semi-finalist in last year’s competition, and Poland’s former European champion Mateusz Masternak.
The bill also features a bantamweight quarter-final between Puerto Rican IBF champion Manny Rodriguez and Aussie mandatory challenger Andrew Moloney.
‘Machine Gun’ Tapia was widely outpointed by Mayeather Promotions fighter Andrew Tabiti, another competitor in the year’s competition, back in 2016 but rebounded with a dominant win over Nigerian Lateef Kayode last September.
A former world-ranked heavy, Perez was outpointed by Latvian Briedis in a turgid twelve-rounder in Riga last September and later expressed his dismay that the Baltic boxer went to war with eventual winner Oleksandr Usyk in the semis at the start of this year.
Briedis, who gave Usyk the toughest fight of his career, is also in this years tournament alongside Tabiti, Masternak, Dorticos, Noel Gevor, Krzysztof Glowacki, Ruslan Fayfer, and Maxim Vlasov.
Should Perez defeat Tapia next week he will be brought forward as an alternate for the semi-finals early next year – assuming he isn’t called to stand Masternak or Dorcticos at some stage over the next ten days.
Throughout last season’s tournament, which played out at cruiser and super middle, a stand-in was required in just one of the 14 fights – when Nieky Holzken replaced Juergen Braehmer in the 168lbs semi-finals and was outpointed over 12 by eventual winner Callum Smith.
This year’s competition plays out at cruiser, light welterweight, and bantamweight – with Belfast’s WBA champ Ryan Burnett competing in the 118lbs tournament, facing Filipino legend Nonito Donaire in the quarters in Glasgow on November 3rd.