Featherweight world titleholder Lee Selby, out of action for nearly a year, will return to make a mandatory defense against former titlist Jonathan Victor Barros on Jan. 28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, organizers announced Monday.
The addition gives the card three world title bouts, as Selby-Barros will take place on the undercard of the much anticipated rematch between featherweight world titleholder Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) and former titleholder Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs), who waged the 2016 ESPN.com fight of the year on July 30.
In the co-feature, lightweight world titleholder Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) will make his first defense when he faces former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs).
Frampton-Santa Cruz II and Zlaticanin-Garcia will air on Showtime beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Selby-Barros will air as part of the coverage of the preliminary bout on Showtime Extreme beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
"My mandatory challenger is experienced, dangerous, and I will not take him lightly," Selby said. "I've had a strong training camp and I am 100 percent focused on putting on a show for the American fans and the traveling fans from the U.K. My No. 1 objective is to bring my world title back to Wales."
Selby (23-1, 8 KOs), 29, of Wales, claimed his 126-pound world title from Evgeny Gradovich in May 2015 via a one-sided eighth-round technical decision.
Selby made his United States debut in his first defense in October 2015, winning a unanimous decision against former three-division titleholder Fernando Montiel in Glendale, Arizona. Selby's second defense came in London in April 2016, when he got knocked down for the first time in his career in the second round but rallied to win a unanimous decision against Eric Hunter.
By fighting in Las Vegas, Selby will fulfill one of his career goals.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was a young kid to box in a world title fight in Las Vegas, the mecca of boxing," Selby said. "I've seen U.K. fighters like Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Amir Khan box in Las Vegas and I always knew that's where I wanted to fight."
The 32-year-old Barros (41-4-1, 22 KOs) earned the title shot in October when he won a split decision against Satoshi Hosono in a world title elimination bout at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Two judges scored the bout for Barros, 117-111 and 116-112, and one had the fight for Hosono, 115-113. Selby and manager Chris Sanigar were ringside to get an up-close look at Selby's future opponent.
"I'm very excited for this opportunity to compete for another world title in Las Vegas," Barros said. "I have worked hard to put myself in this position and I am going to make the most of it. Selby has never faced anyone as dangerous as me and I plan on making it a long night for him. I am going to become another Argentine world champion and bring the title back to my country."
Barros made two successful defenses of a featherweight world title during his reign from December 2010 to October 2011. He lost the belt by decision to Celestino Caballero in a rematch of one of those defenses.
In another bout that will air on the Showtime Extreme portion of the card, 20-year-old Phoenix super middleweight prospect David Benavidez (16-0, 15 KOs) will square off with Sherali Mamajonov (14-1, 7 KOs), 29, of Uzbekistan, in a scheduled eight-round fight. Mamajonov will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
Also on the undercard, 2012 Great Britain Olympian and hot junior welterweight prospect Josh Taylor (7-0, 7 KOs), 26, of Scotland, will take on an opponent to be determined in a scheduled 10-round bout. Taylor's fight might also be televised on Showtime Extreme, time permitting.