FORMER interim World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Jhack Tepora finally makes his way back to American soil in 2023.

Tepora is slated in a 10-round lightweight bout with Mexican hard-hitter Angel Fierro on Feb. 11 at a yet-to-be-determined venue in the US.

Tepora, 27, hasn’t fought since suffering his first career loss, a first round knockout in the hand of Oscar Escandon in 2019. After that, Tepora didn’t fight for almost three years. He returned last April 26 as a light welterweight against Richard Betos in Gen. Santos City. Tepora knocked out Betos in three rounds.

The 24-year-old Fierro is a promising young fighter that has already fought some elite fighters. He knocked out former world champion Alberto Machado in six rounds in 2021 and settled for a draw with Juan Carlos Burgos on March 5. He is coming off a sixth round technical knockout of Jeremy Cuevas.

“He’s good. He’s a knockout artist. That’s the type of fighter I want to fight. That’s the kind of fighter I want to knock out,” said Tepora. “Yes (the target is a knockout). But if I won’t be able to knock him out I’ll beat him in the scorecards convincingly.”

Tepora is 24-1 with 18 knockouts, while Fierro is 20-1-2 with 16 knockouts.

In his absence from boxing, Tepora has had some out-of-the-ring struggles but somehow he battled his way back and earned a huge opportunity to fight in the US again. He believes that this is the start of the resurgence of his career.

“I want to thank God, who never left me alone, and especially my manager Sean Gibbons, Shane Shapiro and Brendan Gibbons of Viva Promotions,” said Tepora. “My goal is to become a world champion again and to prove everyone that doubted me that they were wrong.” (EKA)