San Diego, Calif., October 29, 2020 – Former WBO Junior Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia settles into the middleweight division hunt for the next great 160 pound champion on Friday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Munguia of Tijuana, Mexico (35-0, 28 KOs) will take on stablemate Tureano Johnson of the Bahamas (21-2-1, 15 KOs).
The fight card will stream live on DAZN USA starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Munguia plus Morales a winning formula so far
The stakes loom large for Munguia. He must resurrect the exciting young phenom who upset Sadam Ali to win his WBO title – perhaps not from the dead, but he is in danger of becoming a boxing zombie.
Munguia enters his third bout under the guidance of former world champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales. In his first bout under Morales, Munguia delivered a solid fourth-round knockout win over Patrick Allotey in front of delighted Southern California fans outdoors at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Mexican Independence Day weekend in 2019. Munguia then tested himself at middleweight against popular Irish fighter Gary O’Sullivan in January, delivering a late 11th round TKO.
“It’s a great honor to be returning during these tough times,” said Munguia. “I hope to deliver excitement and entertainment to the fans as the world begins to slowly make its return to normalcy.
“At the same time, I have been training and improving my skills with my team at the Ceremonial Center in Otomi [Mexico], and I will show everyone that Jaime Munguia is ready for the best in the division,” declared the undefeated fighter.
Johnson: ‘Setbacks have only made me stronger’
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) October 16, 2020
The 24-year-old Munguia will not have an easy time of things against Johnson, his toughest opponent to date. Johnson also has something to prove with the clock ticking on his career. Johnson first came to our attention with two impressive performances in 2015 including a solid victory on the undercard of the Gennadiy Golovkin vs. David Lemieux card at Madison Square Garden in 2015.
Johnson then got off track with a difficult 12th round TKO loss to Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The loss now has proper context given Derevyanchenko’s impressive performance against other top names in the middleweight division. In October 2019, Johnson blasted through an outgunned and previously undefeated Jason Quigley, winning the NABF middleweight title. The 36-year-old richly deserves the opportunity.
“The setbacks I have had in my career have only made me stronger,” said Johnson. “Munguia is a tough undefeated fighter, but I will hand him his first defeat as I pursue my quest to be the middleweight champion of the world.”
Expect a rough and rugged fight between Munguia and Johnson, with both attempting to deliver frightening power punches to move their career paths forward. Munguia is favored, but don’t count out Johnson. He is quite capable of an upset.
Ellis and Rocha in co-main Golden Boy grudge match
In the co-main event, welterweights Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis of Lynn, Massachusetts (22-0, 14 KOs) takes on Alexis “Lex” Rocha of Irvine, California (16-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round bout for the vacant WBC International Silver Welterweight Title. Ellis and Rocha have both appeared on numerous Golden Boy cards, but they only shared a bout sheet once: at Fantasy Springs in Indio on December 16, 2016. Rocha won his four-round bout, while Ellis got one of the signature wins of his early career with a first-round knockout win against Eddie Gomez.
“I’m happy that it will be at my favorite place, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino,” said Ellis. “This is going to be a very exciting night for boxing fans. How often do you get to see two young, undefeated contenders face each in their prime? Alexis Rocha is a tough fighter, but I need to show the world that I’m ready for a title shot. Make sure you stay tuned!”
Rocha, age 23, has been making his mark with strong performances. The Santa Ana native southpaw says he wanted a fight against Ellie a year ago, but he turned him down. Rocha will get the toughest test of his career from fellow unbeaten contender Ellis.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the future of boxing and upcoming stars, and I’ve felt slighted because I haven’t been in that conversation,” said Rocha. “Rashidi said something about how he’s just fighting another name. I can promise you I’m not just another name. And when this is over, Rashidi and the entire world of boxing are going to know more than my name: they are going to know that I’m ready to carry the sport forward into a new generation of champions.”
Undercard bouts: Esparza vs Urbina plus Melikuziev, Roach Jr., Kalkreuth
Female flyweight contender and U.S. Olympic Bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (7-1, 1 KOs) of Houston takes on Sulem Urbina of Phoenix (12-0, 2 KOs) in a WBC world title eliminator. Esparza is coming off her only loss to Seniesa Estrada;
“I’ve fought Sulem Urbina multiple times and look forward to doing it again. Game on!” said Esparza.
Urbina wants to make a statement. “Marlen and I have some history,” said Urbina. When I first saw her fight in 2008, I became a fan of hers, until the time arrived in which I became a rival of hers. I feel that Marlen has a lot to owe to Seniesa [Estrada] because that loss opened her eyes and showed her that she’s not done yet. I know she’ll come back stronger. I’ll be ready for the best version of Esparza.
Elwin “La Pulga” Soto of Mexicali, Mexico (17-1, 12 KOs), the pride of Mexicali, Mexico, defends his WBO Light Flyweight World Title against Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua (32-4-1, 18 KOs) a in a 12-round fight presented in association with Zanfer Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions.
Uzbekistani power punching super middleweight Bektemir “Bull” Melikuziev now training in Indio with Joel Diaz (5-0, 4 KOs) gets an adopted hometown fight against Alan Campa of Sonora, Mexico (17-5, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bout for the NABO Super Middleweight Title.
Super featherweight Lamont Roach Jr. of Washington DC (19-1-1, 7 KOs) comes off his loss to WBO World Champion Jamel Herring against Neil John Tabanao of the Philippines (17-7, 11 KOs).
Young cruiserweight talent Tristan “Sweet T” Kalkreuth of Texas (5-0, 4 KOs) opens the card in a six-round cruiserweight fight against Tyler Vogel of Fargo (3-3, 2 KOs). Kalkreuth is just 18 years old, and you’ll want to catch him now so you can say “I knew him back in the day” as his career surely advances.
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