Former bantamweight world titleholder Juan Carlos Payano's 10-round bout against Alexis Santiago on Aug. 22 has been elevated to main event status because the original headliner, a lightweight bout between former world titlist Mickey Bey and Anthony Peterson, was canceled on Tuesday, Mayweather Promotions announced.
Bey-Peterson was scrapped due to an unspecified training injury to Bey. That paved the way for Payano-Santiago to take over the main event slot on the Premier Boxing Champions card (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 9 p.m. ET) at Sam's Town in Las Vegas. The card kicks off Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight week.
"I am excited to be back in the ring and on the way back to the top," Payano said. "I don't plan to allow anything to derail me from being champion again. I'm ready to put on a great performance and get the big fights that I want. I'm looking forward to once again reigning supreme in this division. I'm never in a boring fight so you won't want to miss it on Aug. 22."
Payano (18-1, 9 KOs), 33, a two-time Olympian from the Dominican Republic, lost his 118-pound world title to Rau'shee Warren by majority decision in a rematch in June 2016 and has won once since, a seventh-round knockout of Isao Gonzalo Carranza in January.
Santiago (21-4-1, 8 KOs), 26, of Phoenix, is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Jose Cayetano 11 months ago and is taking a big step up in the level of his opposition.
"I've been staying steady with training camp and everything has been really smooth," Santiago said. "After my last fight I took a few months off to let my body heal and I feel much better going into this fight. My opponent is tough and aggressive. He's a former world champion but I feel that I have what it takes to win.
"This fight is happening during the biggest fight week in boxing and I couldn't be happier. I'm just staying focused on doing what I have to do to get in the ring and get that win."
The new co-feature will pit lightweights Jamel Herring (16-1, 9 KOs) and Ladarius Miller (13-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
"I was so excited when I got the news that I got this opportunity," said Herring, a 2012 U.S. Olympian. "This is a huge stage for me to be on and it is an honor. I've been training alongside some great guys in camp to make sure I am in top shape and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm familiar with Ladarius from when I trained in the Mayweather Boxing Club a couple years ago. I don't underestimate him, but I've been in the ring with tough vets and I think I've got what it takes."
Herring, 31, a southpaw who fights out of Cincinnati, suffered his first loss by 10th-round knockout to longtime contender Denis Shafikov 13 months ago but bounced back for a third-round knockout win over Art Hovhannisyan on Feb. 10.
Miller, 24, a Memphis native fighting out of Las Vegas, has faced very limited opposition but has won four fights in a row.
"I think a lot of people have doubted me in the past, but lately I feel like I am finally getting the recognition I knew I deserved," Miller said. "My team has been great in encouraging me to stay consistent. I had to make a lot of changes to help me evolve as a fighter physically and mentally. I feel mentally locked in right now and my last few fights have showed my hungry, won't-back-down side and on Aug. 22 the fans just better be ready to see 'Memphis.' I've seen my opponent's résumé and all I can say is, this is going to be a good ol' brawl."