By Chris Cella
This week ESPN’s series Friday Night Fights will put on a special edition as it will air on Thursday night featuring two rising lightweights. On May 2, live from the Omega Products Outdoor Arena in Corona, California, former lightweight title challenger Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim (24-8, 18 KO) will face former light welterweight contender Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (18-3, 7 KO).
In Kim’s last outing he faced Raymundo Beltran for the NABF lightweight title and lost a unanimous decision. Since losing to Miguel Vasquez for the vacant IBF title in 2010, Kim has been unable to consistently win the fights he needs to in order to work his way back to a contention fight. Prior to the loss against Beltran he had won three in a row, and Thursday night he has a chance to rediscover his winning ways against a tough Herrera.
“We know Herrera is a very good boxer,” Kim’s co-manager Paul Lee said. “He’s lost, but only against great fighters like Mike Alvarado and Karim Mayfield. Those fighters are very hard to beat. He has very good movement and he’s fast, but we have some tactics to beat him.”
Herrera will be dropping down to lightweight for this bout, and is coming off two losses to two of the light welterweight’s top contenders. Despite the three losses on his record, he holds two big wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Dallas. His style will match well against Kim, and as a lightweight Herrera holds the chance of getting back to contention status within a few wins.
“I think Kim is a tough guy,” Herrera said. “He’s not really too much of a technician but he’s tough, he’s there to fight. He’s a people’s type of fighter – he’s an action fighter. I can give action, too. I’m coming out to prove something, and I plan to give one of the best performances of my career with Ji-Hoon Kim.”
Both of these fighters bring two different styles into the ring which should result in a fan-friendly matchup. Look for Kim to be the aggressor and come at Herrera, while Herrera will be more prone to picking his shots and making Kim work. Both boxers have been so close to raising the world championship hardware, and a win Thursday night is more than necessary if they want the opportunity again this year.
In the co-main event of the night lightweights Miguel “Aguacerito” Acosta (29-6-2, 23 KO) will go to battle with Miguel “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez (20-3, 15 KO).
Thursday’s night edition of Friday Night Fights will begin at 10 p.m. Eastern and be aired live on ESPN2.