By Chris Cella
This Thursday Night from the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, ESPN’s revered series Friday Night Fights will host a special edition night of boxing featuring lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran (26-6, 17 KO) against former lightweight title challenger Ji-Hook “Volcano” Kim (24-7, 18 KO). In addition to the action packed fight, the night will include interviews with Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao who will be meeting in the fourth installment of their rivalry Saturday night.
The number 8 ranked lightweight in the world Beltran has looked a bit inconsistent his last four fights, winning two while losing two, but in his last trip to the ring put on an impressive performance to upset Henry Lundy and strip him of his NABF lightweight title. Training under the tutelage of world renowned trainer Freddie Roach and an active sparring partner of Pac Man, Beltran knows the importance of retaining his title against Kim to set himself up for a world championship fight.
“I’ve seen Kim fight a few times,” said Beltran. “I think he’s a very strong fighter. He’s very aggressive. He comes to fight. I think it’s going to be a great fight, a tough fight. I’ve got to be careful with him.”
Kim is coming in to this fight riding a three-fight win streak with his most recent victory being a big upset over the then undefeated Alisher Rahimov via unanimous decision. Through his relatively young career Kim has showed that he has a full arsenal of weapons; and despite not having stand out knockout power or speed, he balances all of his tools well to make him versatile between the ropes. He has also displayed his ability to adapt and do what it takes to win the fight, so Beltran will be standing across the ring from an opponent who won’t shy away from going to war if need be.
ESPN’s Special Edition of Friday Night Fights will also co-feature two up-and-coming prospects looking to continue to make a name for themselves and work towards the big money fights. Undefeated Jesse Magdaleno (12-0, 9 KO) will put his unblemished record on the line against Jonathan “Thunder” Arellano (13-1-1, 3 KO) in a battle of junior featherweights.
The action will be aired live this Thursday, December 7 at 10 p.m. Eastern on ESPN 2 and ESPN Deportes.