Rey Vargas' next WBC super bantamweight title defense will put him back on the HBO spotlight.
Golden Boy Promotions announced that Vargas will defend his WBC title against Azat Hovhannisyan for May 12 as the co-main event for the WBO junior middleweight world title fight between Sadam Ali and Liam Smith fight on HBO. That card will take place at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
This will be Vargas' fourth title defense after winning the title back in 2016 when he defeated Gavin McDonnell by majority decision. Vargas last fight saw him defend the title in impressive fashion when he defeated Oscar Negrete on the undercard of Miguel Cotto's retirement fight against Ali back in December.
Hovhannisyan is the current WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight champion, holding the regional title since last September. Hovhannisyan will be making an extremely quick turnaround from his last fight, which took place last month. Hovhannisyan knocked out Ronny Rios, who previously challenged for Vargas' title but came up short, back in March, earning him the opportunity to fight for his first world title.
The HBO broadcast is set to start after Top Rank Boxing and ESPN finish a Madison Square Garden boxing event headlined by Jorge Linares vs. Vasyl Lomachenko for Linares' WBA Lightweight title. The HBO broadcast previously planned to show the replay of the rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin the week prior before the main event but with the cancelation of that fight, the co-main event slot was open for Vargas' next title defense.