Tag Archives: berchelt

Miguel Berchelt is Looking to Take Over the Junior Lightweight Division


By Rich Lopez

Who is the best junior lightweight today? Many considered Vasyl Lomachenko the best junior lightweight at one time but he has now settled in the lightweight division. Right now the division is up for grabs and there are many good fighters in the division. Today, the man considered the number one junior lightweight is Miguel Berchelt, and yes I do have to agree with this.

Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt from Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico has a record of 37-1, 33 KO’s and he is the current WBC Junior Lightweight Champion. He is considered a boxer puncher that throws good combinations with power. Berchelt only has one blemish on his record, which was a technical knockout to Luis Eduardo Florez in the 1st round back in 2014. Berchelt was caught cold with a left hook and went down but got up, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Many thought the fight was stopped too quickly. Ever since then, Berchelt has been on a roll. He has had 16 straight victories with only one of those victories going to distance.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions

Berchelt was introduced to American audiences in 2017 on HBO and he made a huge statement. He won the WBC World Junior Lightweight title against the durable Francisco Vargas from Mexico. The fight took place in early of 2017. Berchelt beat and cut up Vargas, which prompted the referee to stop the fight in the 11th round in an entertaining bout. He made his first defense of the title when he faced off with Japan’s Takashi Mirura in the summer of 2017. Berchelt dominated the rugged Japanese to earn a unanimous decision in 12 rounds. In 2018, Berchelt scored stoppages against Maxwell Awuku, Jonathan Barros, and Miguel Roman. So far in 2019, Berchelt has continued to stay busy as an active champion. Berchelt stopped Francisco Vargas again in a rematch in May of 2019. About two weeks ago, Berchelt scored another stoppage over Jason Sosa in an exciting matchup.

Right now, Berchelt has the chance to unify titles with the other belt holders such as: Jamel Herring, Andrew Cancio, and Tevin Farmer. To make things more interesting, featherweights Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Diaz will be moving up to junior lightweight division as well. Berchelt has also gone on record and stated he will fight anyone including moving up in weight to fight Vasyl Lomachenko. Even though the Lineal championship is up for grabs in the junior lightweight division, Berchelt is the number one guy in the division. There is no question about it. Berchelt is an active champion and has already made six title defenses of his title. This is far more than what any other champion has done in the division. On top of that, Berchelt is a must see TV fighter. All of his fights are action packed and he always goes for the knockout.

Berchelt is close to reaching the top of the pound for pound rankings. Another win against one of the current champions at junior lightweight could land him there. Also like Canelo Alvarez, Berchelt would like to be recognized as one of the best fighters from Mexico today.

More Columns

Miguel Berchelt Forces Jason Sosa’s Corner to Throw in the Towel


By Robert Aaron Contreras

Again in violent fashion, Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO) overpowered his opposition in defense of his super featherweight crown, bruising and bashing Jason Sosa (23-4-4, 16 KO) to a fourth-round TKO victory Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Sosa, though, was the first one on the move. He chugged forward in that swarming, squared manner. Both fists oscillating. While the title challenger did force Berchelt backwards, the Mexican champion scored with harpoon jabs. Fighting in reverse, the WBC title holder remained composed.

In the second period, Sosa again brushed Berchelt to the ropes. But returning his way were left hooks. A coupled clinked off Sosa’s dome and he went down. He made it back to his feet, somehow surviving not only the rest of the frame but also a ruckus third round.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Twitter Account

Berchelt’s momentum grew with the intensity of his attack. Despite Sosa’s being in the center of the ring, Berchelt ripped right and left hooks to the body and head. The formula was simple: right, left hook upstairs followed by a shoveling left to the midsection. Again and again, the combo reeled off.

The fight clearly belonged to the champion. Berchelt, who has held firm of the WBC strap since another bludgeoning performance over Francisco Vargas in 2017, geared up in between the third and fourth rounds to reclaim his green belt for the fifth time.

Sosa did not get the memo. He walked out for the fateful execution with confidence. Soon he met Berchelt with colliding power punches: both men lowering their weight into overhand rights. Berchelt’s blow made Sosa freeze up and drew blood from his left eye.

The two-handed attack continued. Their sequences changing form. Berchelt fired a lead right uppercut to Sosa’s jaw and then shoe-shined curling right and left hands to the head. Just under the one-minute mark, more punches to the face had Sosa’s attention and Berchelt zipped a left dig to the crumbling man’s belly. Sosa collapsed to a knee—eating a quick one-two on the way down for good measure.

Referee Jack Reiss assessed the fallen boxer. After barely beating the count, Sosa was quickly under attack and his corner signaled for the end of the abuse.

The dominant win affirmed Berchelt’s place atop the 130-pound division. Despite calls from fellow super featherweight champions—not in the least being IBF envoy Tevin Farmer—the WBC’s man does not seem to have any unifications on his mind but continually picking off notable names, and delivering crushing knockouts, can still line your pockets in this sport.

The successful title defense extended Berchelt’s 16-fight win streak since a shocking stoppage loss early in the regional ranks. The WBC champion has also knocked out his previous five opponents.

Next up for Berchelt is no secret, after the fight naming countryman Oscar Valdez, who is scheduled for the end of the month.

“I will wait until the Valdez fight, Berchelt said. “If he wants to fight, I’m right here.”

More Headlines

Berchelt vs. Sosa Fight Preview


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

In 2017, Vasyl Lomachenko turned away Jason Sosa to affirm his position as the super featherweight touchstone, the 130-pound king. Meanwhile, Miguel Berchelt was fighting through a violent field of warmongers—namely Takashi Miura and Francisco Vargas—to put together a tremendous ledger… for its time. The problem is the Mexican champion has hardly added to it since.

Nearly three years on, Berchelt (36-1, 32 KO) is still universally recognized as the No. 1 boxer in the class, set to defend his WBC championship against none other than Sosa (23-3-4, 16 KO) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The broadcast will air on ESPN, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET. A win this weekend would mark five consecutive title defenses. While the belt may be firmly in his grasp, the plaudits for his reputation continue to slip away.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The Mexican titleholder earned the throne in a terrific year of action that saw the 130-pound hierarchy arranged by a de-facto tournament across HBO. The last man left standing was Berchelt, savagely dispatching Vargas in the eleventh round. That same night Miura bounced Mickey Roman for a shot at the divisional helm.

Berchelt’s return to California is his first start in the west coast since defeating Miura. Outlasting the Japanese berserker over the distance, he minted his new green belt with a crippling power-hitting attack en route to a decision verdict.

After Berchelt took care of Miura, he opened the year 2018 with two soft touches. In the form of an unheralded southpaw Maxwell Awuku and a washed featherweight in Jonathan Victory Barros, perhaps the champ had earned it after such a tough run up the ranks. But as Lomachenko jumped up to 135 pounds, the weight class opened up again. And, ultimately, Berchelt’s decision to recycle familiar names—picking off the aforementioned Roman—provided no further grist for his placement atop the new super featherweight elite that emerged in 2019.

This year, Cinderella champions Andrew Cancio and Jamel Herring picked up respective crowns, staging giant upsets. And gaining traction most of all is IBF beltholder Tevin Farmer. Streaking up the win column, with the dizzying style to play foil to a demolition man like Berchelt, Farmer took part in five championship bouts. This in the same time period that Berchelt only defended his title twice—including an indefensible return match with Vargas.

Farmer, having already won twice this year, pleaded for a unification with Berchelt. But the dedicated WBC envoy has recently turned his focus in-house to Herring or, worse, Oscar Valdez. Note, Valdez has yet to officially compete at the 130-pound limit. In the end, Berchelt is instead fighting another figure from 2017 in Sosa. A rejuvenated, classy box-fighter in Sosa, to be sure. But a quondam bit player nonetheless.

Assuredly, the bookies are shorting Sosa at eight-to-one odds. His three-fight win streak should be at four straight. Following a short stint as WBO champion—proving himself a notch above the likes of Javier Fortuna and Stephen Smith—he was robbed in 2017 against Yuriorkis Gamboa. Sosa, the definition of a two-handed banger, routinely beat Gamboa to the punch, forced to unbind himself from the Cuban’s grappling. Only to be handed a majority-decision loss.

In August, Sosa returned to form, headlining an ESPN+ show. He overpowered the sizable Haskell Rhodes to a TKO victory. Rhodes, a former Floyd Mayweather Sr. pupil and longtime lightweight, had never before been stopped inside the distance—in the past extending bombardiers like Sergey Lipinets and Edner Cherry. Sosa floored Rhodes three times, twice with a right hand, once with a left. The third knockdown of the fight in the seventh round was one too many for Rhodes’ corner and they promptly threw in the towel.

Sosa doesn’t work off of a jab. Instead initiating punch combinations with either hand—sometimes even squaring up his shoulders to his opponent. A high output guy, through and through. Also a master of punching out of clinches, muscling up his man before hitting and separating.

Ancajas defends super flyweight world title

It does not take much for a world champion to lose his legitimacy in the public conscious. Win or lose on Saturday, Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21 KO) is in with another unproven challenger. This one named Jonathan “Titan” Rodriguez (21-1, 15 KO) continuing his run of lackluster title defenses over the last three years.

In his first action of the year, Ancajas returned in chief support of light heavyweight ruler Artur Beterbiev on ESPN, battering Japanese veteran Ryuichi Funai to a doctor’s stoppage ahead of Round 7. The stoppage represented his seventh title defense—currently the longest reigning super flyweight beltholder. He picked up the title in 2016. Though, before crushing Funai, Ancajas swallowed an arduous split-decision nod against Alejandro Santiago, an obscure and undersized brawler out of Mexico.

Next up to bat is Rodriguez, who is exactly the same age as Santiago. And hardly more accomplished. On paper, the 24-year-old Mexican has a respectable record, knocking out 70 percent of his opponents—a passing grade, at least. Never competing outside of his own backyard, Rodriguez’s only opponent of note is countryman Felipe Orucuta.

The two met in the main event of Fox Sports-Latin America broadcast. Rodriguez was the winner by seventh-round TKO, hospitalizing Orucuta for two whole months.

Closing in on the weekend, Ancajas is as high as a -1200 favorite to get by Rodriguez, the considerable underdog (+600).

More Headlines

Berchelt and Navarrete Win their Rematches


By: William Holmes

The Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Promotions boxing card televised live on ESPN.

Two world title rematches were on display Emanuel Navarrete took on Isaac Dogboe for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title in the co-main event of the night and Miguel Berchelt faced Francisco Vargas for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title.

The opening bout of the broadcast was between Isaac Dogboe (20-1) and Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title . Their last bout ended in an upset victory for Emanuel Navarrete.

Navarrete height and reach advantage was obvious early on as he went to work with his jab and short combinations. Navarrete slipped to the mat in the opening round, but was able to win the early rounds with his movement and combinations. A left upcut by Navarrete had Dogboe slightly rocked in the second round.

Dogboe came out charging in the third round, but Navarrete was able to stop that momentum with a sharp left uppercut that left Dogboe with shaky legs. Dogboe would start off strong in the opening minute of the fourth and fifth rounds, but Navarrete would have Dogboe hurt by the end of the round with his reach and power.

Navarrete scored a knockdown in the sixth round when a combination from him had Dogboe falling backwards in the the ropes. Dogboe continued to take a beating into the ninth round, but showed tremendous heart as he attempted to stay in the fight.

Isaac Dogboe’s corner, with his father as the lead trainer, threatened to stop the fight in the tenth round but sent Dogboe out to continue fighting anyway. The uppercuts of Navarrete continued to snap the head of Dogboe backwards and Dogboe needed a knockout in the final round in order to secure a win.

However, Navarrete continued pound on Dogboe in the final round and scored another knockdown. Dogboe got back up to his feet but on wobbly legs, and his father correctly decided to throw in the towel and stop his son from receiving further punishment.

Navarrete wins by TKO at 2:02 of the twelfth and final round.

The main event of the evening was between Miguel Berchelt (35-1) and Francisco Vargas (25-1-2) for the WBC Junior Lightweight Title .

Berchelt and Vargas last fought two years ago, with Berchelt coming out on top.

Berchelt showed good hand early on and was crisp with his combinations. Vargas was coming forward and did land some good overhand rights, but Berchelt was landing at a higher rate. Berchelt did get warned twice for low blows in the first.

Berchelt was landing some heavy lead left hooks in the second despite being warned for low blows again. There were some fierce exchanges in the second, but Berchelt was getting the better of Vargas.

Berchelt’s double left hook to the body and head were landing in the third, though Vargas did connect with a good combinations after Berchelt turned to the referee to complain about a low blow landing on him. Vargas was warned bout using his head in the third from the referee.

Vargas had blood coming from his nose going into the fourth round and he got tagged several times with eye combinations in the fourth. Vargas had his best round of the night in the fifth as he continued to come forward and at one point had Berchelt in some trouble by the ropes, but even that round was could have been scored either way.

Berchelt had a dominating sixth round as he loaded up on his shots to the body and head. Vargas looked like he was close to going down in the sixth, but he was able to stay on his feet, though he looked beaten both mentally and physically.

The corner of Francisco Vargas didn’t like what they saw from Vargas and stopped the fight before the start of the seventh.

Miguel Berchelt wins by TKO at the end of the sixth round.

More Headlines

ESPN Boxing Preview: Navarrete vs. Dogboe, Berchelt vs. Vargas


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions Card on ESPN entitled “Twice as Nice”.

The main event of the card will feature a WBC Junior Lightweight Title rematch between Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas for Berchelt’s title. The co-main event of the evening will be another rematch between Emanuel Navarrete and Isaac Dogboe for Navarrete’s WBO Junior Featherweight title.

The undercard will feature several prospects, such as Mykal Fox, Carlos Castro, Miguel parra, and Miguel Marriaga. The undercard will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.

Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) vs. Isaac Dogboe (20-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title

Navarrete has spent almost his entire career fighting in Mexico, but his first fight in the United States was a big one against Isaac Dogboe, the then WBO Junior Featherweight Champion, and he shocked many by pulling off the upset.

They’ll rematch each other on Saturday night and Navarrete has a lot of inherent advantages. Both boxers are young and only twenty four years old. Navarrete has a significant edge in height as he is five inches taller than Dogboe. He also has a significant edge in reach as he has an eight inch reach advantage over him.

Navarrete also has the edge in power, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Dogboe has only stopped fourteen. Both boxers have been fairly active, with Navarrete being the more active boxer. Navarrete fought four times in 2018 and five times in 2017 while Dogboe four four times in 2018 but only once in 2017.

Prior to beating Dogboe, Navarrete did not have an impressive resume of defeated opponents. He has beaten the likes of Jose Sanmartin, Glenn Porras, and Isaac Dogboe. His lone loss was in 2012 to Daniel Argueta.

Dogboe’s only loss in his career was to Navarrete. He has defeated the likes of Hidenori Otake, Jessie Magdaleno, Cesar Juarez, Javier Chacon, and Julian Aristule.

Navarrete had a pretty dominating performance against Dogboe, and his size and reach will be difficult for Dogboe to navigate and avoid. This bout will go a long way in determining if Navarrete is the real deal or not, but it appears likely he’ll walk away with another win.

Miguel Berchelt (35-1) vs. Francisco Vargas (25-1-2); WBC Junior Lightweight Title

Even though this bout is a highly anticipated rematch, Berchelt is still in his athletic prime at 37 years old and Vargas is now 34 years old. Based on age along it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Berchelt win convincingly.

Vargas will have about a one inch height advantage over Berchelt while Berchelt will have about an one inch reach advantage. Berchelt has the edge in power, as he has thirty one stoppage victories on his resume while Vargas only has eighteen.

Vargas’ lone loss was a knockout loss to Berchelt. He also drew with Orlando Salido. He has beaten the likes of Rod Salka, Stephen Smith, Takashi Miura, Will Tomlinson, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Cotto, and Jerry Belmontes.

Vargas also has an impressive amateur background that includes a trip to the 2008 Summer Olympics for Mexico.

Berchelt has defeated the likes of Miguel Roman, Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Sergio Puente, and Francisco Vargas. His lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez in 2014.

Berchelt never competed in the Olympics but he was a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion as an amateur.

Vargas fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He has only fought two times since he lost to Berchelt. Berchelt fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.

This writer sees this bout going in Berchelt’s favor and possibly by stoppage.

More Headlines

Miguel Berchelt-Francisco Vargas Rematch Set, 3/23 on ESPN; Winner Could Get Lomachenko


By Jake Donovan

Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas are prepared to do it all again—and this time, with even more at stake than just the 130-pound title.

A rematch to their Jan. ’17 thriller—which Berchelt won by 11th round knockout to dethrone the previously unbeaten Vargas—is set for March 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bout will air live on ESPN, with the event to be presented by Berchelt’s U.S. promoter Top Rank, who’ve already teased a loftier prize for the winner.

“It’s very possible that the winner of this terrific rematch will go on to face lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko later this year,” promoter Bob Arum said of the bout.

Berchelt (35-1, 30KOs) has exploded onto the 130-pound scene, beginning with his systematic dismantling of Vargas in their first meet. The bout was competitive early and befitting their all-action styles, but with Berchelt eventually wearing down his battered countryman in lifting the title.

Four defenses have since followed, most recently scoring a 9th round knockout of countryman Miguel Roman in an entertaining—if not one-sided—ESPN+ streamed bout this past November in El Paso, Texas.

With the historic Forum playing host to the rematch, Merida, Mexico’s Berchelt plays the California circuit for the third time in his two-plus year title reign. His title win over Vargas took place in Indio, Calif., while The Forum itself played host to his first defense, a points win over former titlist Takashi Miura in July ’17.

Miura was responsible for the all-action title reign of Vargas (25-1-2, 18KOs), who overcame a 4th round knockdown to drop and stop the reigning champ from Japan in the 9th round of their unforgettable Nov. ’15 war.

The savagely brutal war not only stole the show from the evening’s far more prolific headliner—Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s historic World middleweight championship win over Miguel Cotto—but would go on to gain universal recognition as 2015 Fight of the Year.

It also appeared to take quite a bit out of Mexico City’s Vargas, who was sidelined for much of the first part of 2016 to allow several cuts to heal.

His ring return was hardly a let-up in competition, once again thrown the wolves in fighting former two-division titlist Orlando Salido to a 12-round draw in June. Once again, Vargas managed to produce a Fight of the Year-level performance, but the back-to-back wars showed its effect by the time he got to Berchelt.

Two wins have followed for the 34-year old slugger, scoring a technical decision win over veteran contender Stephen Smith in Dec. ’17 and—in his lone ring action of 2018—slaughtering overmatched Rod Salka in six rounds last April.

Given his lofty ranking among the World Boxing Council—whom recognizes Berchelt as its 130-pound champ—it was a matter of time before Vargas found himself back in the title picture. Still, it took for rival promoters to put aside their differences for the sake of reaching a deal as Top Rank (Berchelt’s co-promoter), with whom Vargas began his career before eventually moving onto Golden Boy Promotions in 2011.

“Look what’s happening in boxing. All the other promoters are cooperating with each other, Arum said of doing business with Golden Boy, while also taking a shot at another rival in adviser Al Haymon. “This show, we have our kid, Miguel Berchelt against Oscar de la Hoya’s fighter, Francisco Vargas.

“To survive at this level and in today’s market, you have to work with other promoters. We have a commitment to deliver the best fights in the world to ESPN and that’s what we’re doing here. The winner will have another big fight to look forward to, as we’d love to match (whomever is victorious) with our lightweight champion, the great Vasiliy Lomachenko.”

More Headlines

Berchelt-Roman: Fight of the Year Being Guaranteed By All Involved


By Jake Donovan

Miguel Berchelt and Miguel Roman not only don’t feel any pressure about living up to the Fight of the Year expectations surrounding their upcoming title clash; they’re both prepared to raise the ante.

The pair of knockout artists from Mexico are set to collide for Berchelt’s 130-pound title this Saturday live on ESPN+ from Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas. From the moment their super featherweight title fight was announced, many in the industry hailed it as a can’t-miss slugfest.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

It’s the one aspect of the fight on which both combatants agree.

“I trained very hard for this fight; I want to knock him out,” Berchelt (34-1, 30KOs) boldly stated during Thursday’s final press conference ahead of his fourth title defense. “Blood, emotion and entertainment are guaranteed (in this fight) and I’m here to knock him out.”

It’s reasonable for Berchelt to predict a knockout anytime he steps into the ring. The red-hot puncher from Merida, Mexico—who turns 27 later this month—has been extended the distance just once in his past 21 starts dating back to 2012.

The bulk of his career has comprised of quick hits, in fact having never been past six rounds prior to his title challenge of Francisco Vargas in Jan. ’17. Berchelt validated his credentials as a leading contender, going tooth and nail with his countryman before surging late and forcing a stoppage in the 11th round to win his first title.

Just six months later, Berchelt would go even deeper into a contest, being extended the 12-round distance for the only time in his career in decisioning Takashi Miura. Despite having to go to the scorecards, Berchelt’s power was still evident in dominating the former champ from Japan.

A pair of 3rd round knockouts have comprised of his 2018 ring campaign, both taking place in Mexico. The latter came in June against former featherweight beltholder Jonathan Barros, topping a card that saw Roman (60-12, 47KOs) extend his four-fight win streak—all by knockout—with a two-round blitzing of previously unbeaten Michel Marcano.

The show was designed to build intrigue toward their eventual head-on collision, a path that began with Roman actually stepping in for his upcoming opponent on a night that forever changed his hard-luck career.

Berchelt was due to defend his title versus Orlando Salido last December, only for a hand injury to force him off of the HBO-televised show. Salido agreed to an offered stay-busy fight with Roman, who accepted the assignment on less than six weeks’ notice but proved more than game for the cause.

What was perceived as a Salido showcase instead turned into his forced retirement party, as Roman battered his countryman en route to a 9th round stoppage victory. The feat marked a bizarre 2017 ring campaign, beginning the year with a stoppage loss to Miura in a final eliminator—on the same night Berchelt trumped Vargas to win the strap—and then ending the year with the type of win that put him back squarely in the title picture.

“I’m very happy this fight is happening,” stated Roman, who—like his opponent—has been the distance just once in his last 21 starts, a run that includes 19 knockout wins. “I’ve dreamed about a fight like this since I turned pro at age 17. It’s finally happening on Saturday and I plan to leave everything.”

Berchelt is the heavy betting favorite going in, but many expect Roman to pull the crowd with the fight taking place just north of the U.S./Mexico border from his hometown of Juarez, Mexico—a city which incredibly has yet to boast a champion among the nation’s rich boxing history.

“I will be the first ever champion in the history of Juarez,” Roman firmly proclaimed. “That gets me going and I am very motivated for that very reason. I am going to leave everything in the ring.”

The bold claims from both boxers are music to Bob Arum’s ears—especially since the Hall of Fame promoter has already established a very high ceiling for this weekend’s clash.

“I guarantee this {fight} will be considered, once it’s finished, a contender for Fight of the Year,” stated Arum, who doesn’t have a vested interest in either boxer other than his Top Rank promotional outfit securing the rights to present the event through ESPN’s streaming service. “This is no ordinary fight. This is going to be a great, memorable fight.”

More Headlines

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Miguel Berchelt vs. Miguel “Mickey” Roman


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest offering on the streaming network, ESPN+.

WBC Junior Lightweight Champion Miguel Berchelt will defend his title against Miguel “Mickey” Roman in a fight that most think will be an action packed bout.

The co-main event of the evening will be between Miguel Marriaga and Jose Estrella in the featherweight division.

Other boxers on the undercard include Saul Rodriguez, Robson Conceicao, Sagadat Rakhmankul, Jose Estrella, Claudio Tapia, Joey Laviolette, and Vaughn Alexander.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The following is a preview of the main event of the evening.

Miguel Berchelt (34-1) vs. Miguel Roman (60-12) WBC Super Featherweight Title

Allegedly, this is a fight that’s been wanted by both fighters for a very long time. At an earlier pres conference, Berchelt told the media,” Roman and I have wanted this fight for a very, very long time. He asked for this opportunity, and I am happy to give it to him. This is going to be a great fight, but I know it will end with my hands raised. I am young and hungry. It doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in his backyard. El Paso and Juarez are going to be my towns when it’s over.”

However, Mickey Roman feels comfortable since the fight is taking place near his home town. Roman told the media, “He’s talking all of this stuff, that he’s going to take my head off and things like that. El paso is my town. If he thinks he’s going to come in here and be talking like that, he’s got another thing coming.”

Berchelt should be considered by many to be a strong favorite. He only has one loss while Roman has twelve, and he’s six years younger than Roman. He will also have about a two inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.

Both boxers have good power. Berchelt has stopped thirty of his opponents while Roman has stopped forty seven. Berchelt has been stopped once early in his career while Roman has only been stopped twice.

Berchelt and Roman are both pretty active. Roman already has over 72 professional fights. He fought twice in 2018, three times in 2017, and three times in 2016. Berchelt fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016.

Berchelt has an edge in amateur experience. He’s a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion in the elite category while Roman doesn’t have any notable amateur accomplishments.

Berchelt lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez. He has defeated the likes of Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Francisco Vargas, Suriya Tatakhun, and Rene Gonzalez.

Roman has defeated the likes of Michel Marcano, Orlando Salido, Nery Saguilan, Juli Giner, and Daniel Ponce DeLeon. His wins against Orlando Salido and Daniel Ponce DeLeon are his most impressive and occurred recently.

However, Roman has a history of losing when he steps up in competition, and he does have a large number of losses. He has losses to Genaro Garcia, Jorge Solis, Miguel Beltran Jr., Antonio Escalante, Jonathan Victor Barros, Javier Fortuna, Antonio DeMarco, Dante Jardon (lost the rematch), and Takashi Miura.

Roman is a dangerous opponent for Berchelt in that he’s an experience rugged fighter who has already been in the ring with some of the best. But Berchelt is a top rated prospects with a high ceiling, and he’ll have a significant size advantage and age advantage on Saturday night.

This fight will feature some fireworks, but at the end Berchelt will likely be holding his hand up high.

More Headlines

HBO Wrapup: Berchelt Tops Miura in Tough As Nails Bout


HBO Wrapup: Berchelt Tops Miura in Tough As Nails Bout
By: Sean Crose

Joe Smith returned from his conquest of the great Bernard Hopkins on Saturday at the Forum in California to take on skilled former Olympian Sullivan Barrera in a showdown of light heavyweight contenders. It was a quality matchup – perhaps that’s why it was a bit of a surprise to see Barrera hit the mat in the first. The man got up, but Smith once again made people take note of his power. After a relatively uneventful second round, Barrera opened the third round strong and performed effectively throughout.

IMG_4242

A Barrera uppercut rocked Smith early in the fourth. The Miami based fighter continued to assert control from there on out. The fifth essentially consisted of more of the same, but the two men exchanged well at the tail end of the sixth. The seventh round clearly alarmed the referee, if few others, for in between the seventh and eighth, Jack Reese asked Smith if he was feeling all right. Smith didn’t impress for the following two rounds.

Then, at the beginning of the tenth, Reese told the two fighters to touch gloves, clearly forgetting that it was a twelve round affair. But wait, he wasn’t mistaken. Reese knew what HBO didn’t, that the promotion had switched from a twelve round bout to a ten rounder without the broadcast team being informed. Needless to say, Barrera wrappedd up the night and earned himself a unanimous decision win.

Next up was the WBA super featherweight title fight between Jezreel Corrales and Robinson Castellanos. It was a close, fairly interesting affair. Corrales was dropped twice in the fourth, but came back and performed well afterwards. Still, Castellanos looked solid when the bout was stopped because of an accidental headbutt in the 10th. Needless to say, Corrales pulled off a majority decision win. A hoped for rematch might possibly be warranted.

It was time for the main event. Miguel Berchelt, the WBC super featherweight champ, stepped into the ring to face Japan’s Takashi Miura in what was clearly an intriguing matchup – at least on paper. It was a close, clinical first round, until Miura was sent to the mat. Looking no worse for wear, the man quickly got to his feet. The second round was also clinical for the most part, but the strength of Berchelt’s punches ultimately told the tale.

Miura started landing clean to the body in the third. Berchelt landed well in the fourth and it began to seem as if Miura would truly have to start working his opponent’s body if he were to keep from eventually being stopped. Sure enough, Berchelt ended the round in strong fashion. Miura fought hard in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough. Same for the sixth. Make no mistake about it, though, the fight wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Miura was there to win and the first half of the bout was an entertaining affair.

In the seventh, it was Berchelt who worked on Miura’s body as he looked to break his man down. The fight was stopped in the eighth for a rabbit punch from Miura. It seemed excessive, but I won’t fault a referee for being extra cautious. In the ninth, Miura whaled away at his opponent’s body in impressive fashion. He continued to do so in the tenth. By the eleventh, both men were tossing crushing shots at each other. It wasn’t a fast paced bout, but it was exciting and extremely rugged.

The twelfth was as grueling as the previous few rounds. Berchelt won a well deserved decision, but hats off to both men. Here’s hoping Miura seriously considers retirement. There’s only so much ring damage one man can take over the course of a career.

More Headlines

Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum


Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum
By Adam J. Pollack

On Saturday July 15, the Forum in Los Angeles will feature several highly entertaining matchups. The main event features WBC World Super Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt, 31-1, 28 KOs, vs. Takashi Miura, 31-3-2, 24 KOs, two punchers who love to fight. Although Berchelt likely will win, for he has the superior talent and skill, this is one of those fights that you watch simply because you know that regardless of the result, both guys will fight hard, in entertaining fashion. Miura forces the fight with hard punches and can take some big ones, and both of these guys can hit.

IMG_4222
Photo Credit: Kyte Monroe/BoxStats

If you are looking for a really hard-punching intriguing 50-50 type match-up, in which the outcome truly is in doubt, Joe Smith, Jr., 23-1, 19 KOs, vs. Sullivan Barrera, 19-1, 14 KOs is the fight for you. The very heavy-handed Smith, Jr. has freakish power, such that regardless of what the score is in a fight, if hits his opponent, the fight can be over in the blink of an eye. Remember, he knocked out Bernard Hopkins, who although old, had never been stopped before, and was a guy who knew every trick and artifice of the game. He also knocked out Andrej Fonfara in the very 1st round, and Fonfara had gone the distance with Adonis Stevenson, knocked out Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., and beaten Glen Johnson and Byron Mitchell.

Smith Jr. is going up a very tough man in Sullivan Barrera, a guy whose only loss was a decision to Andre Ward. Barrera knocked out Jeff Lacy in 4, Karo Murat in 5, and handed the hard-punching then 17-0, 14 KOs Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy his only loss, stopping him in the 7th round. Like Smith Jr., Barrera can punch. So this is likely to be another hard-punching bang-‘em-out war. The likely winner is unclear.

Also on the card, undefeated WBA Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales (21-0, 8 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, 24-12, 14 KOs, who recently stopped former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in his last fight. Castellanos has managed to score several upset victories, defeating Rocky Juarez and then-undefeated Ronny Rios, in addition to Gamboa, so he seems to thrive on his underestimated underdog status. The undefeated Corrales won the championship by handing then undefeated Takashi Uchiyama his first losses, both by knocking him out and winning the rematch by decision. This is a really solid, competitive contest.

Other quality match-ups on the card include:

Mercito Gesta, 30-1-2 vs. Martin Honorio, 33-10-1
Manny Robles, Jr. 12-0 vs. Christian Esquivel, 30-11
Horacio Garcia, 32-2-1 vs. Diuhl Olguin, 11-16-3
Ryan Garcia, 9-0, vs. Mario Antonio Macias, 28-21

More Headlines

Vargas-Berchelt, Miura-Roman, Provide Great Night Of Boxing On HBO


Vargas-Berchelt, Miura-Roman, Provide Great Night Of Boxing On HBO
By: Sean Crose

Super featherweight Takashi Miura (30-3-2) returned to American television screens on Saturday as he kicked off HBOs first Boxing After Dark broadcast of 2017 by facing Miguel Roman. Although Roman had a record of 56-11, he hadn’t lost a fight since 2012 and would undoubtedly move on to big things should he beat the Japanese action fighter in their scheduled 12 round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California.

IMG_2368

Miura moved forward early, cautiously moving in on his prey. Still, round one proved to be a feeling out process for both fighters. No fireworks went off in the second. In the third, the men exchanged heavy blows. The action continued throughout the fourth. Indeed, it looked towards the very end of that round that Roman might actually be in trouble. By the middle of the fifth, however, Roman started coming on strong. It was shaping up to be a truly grinding affair.

By the end of the sixth, a cut Miura looked like he might be in danger. He was back in the seventh, however, and the war continued. Still, it looked like
Roman may have been pulling ahead (albeit slightly). The eighth-round looked more like a brawl than a boxing match and the ninth showed Miura screaming each time he tossed a thunderous shot at his foe. Roman, however, kept swinging. It may not have been a great fight, but there was no doubt the combatants were engaged in a war of attrition.

The grind continued throughout the tenth. With seconds left in the round, however, Roman hit the canvas, courtesy of a stabbing body shot from Miura. Roman, however, was able to beat the count, who knows how. Halfway through the eleventh, however, Miura put Roman down again, this time with a combination of shots. Again, though, Roman got back to his feet. Roman went down for the third time early in the twelfth, though, and this time the game warrior didn’t get up.

It was the epitome of a hard-earned victory for Miura.

A few minutes later, the main event began. Miguel Berchelt (30-1) stepped into the ring to challenge undefeated WBC super featherweight champ Francisco Vargas (23-0-2). The first round was a sharp three minutes, with both men landing crisp, accurate punches. Berchelt landed quite effectively in the second and even appeared to have Vargas hurt. Vargas, however, returned the favor before Berchelt wrapped up the round with hard, clean shots. It was a thrilling chapter.

It continued to be a slugfest throughout the third. It looked like it might come down to which fighter had better stamina. Vargas was being as tough and as game as they come, but Berchelt was cracking more effectively in the fourth. Vargas came back alive in the first half of the fifth, however. Yet Berchelt was determined to make the night his. It continued to be a grueling affair throughout the sixth.

Both men were still landing well in the seventh. Berchelt’s punches were stronger, but Vargas’ landed with more frequency. By the end of that round, however, Berchelt’s output picked up, giving him the edge. By the eighth, it was clear that Berchelt’s superior strength was telling the tale. It was a tough, indeed a brutal, fight, but Berchelt was proving to be the better man.

By the ninth, Vargas was bleeding profusely. A cut that had opened earlier was now flowing horribly. Vargas was also getting banged up bad by his opponent. The referee wisely called time and the doctor allowed the fight to continue. No matter how things turned out, it was clear Vargas was some kind of athlete to keep going as he was. The referee called in the doctor again at the beginning of the tenth. And once again, Vargas was allowed to continue. By the eleventh, the HBO team was openly and very firmly complaining that the fight was being allowed to continue. And, with less than a minute left in the round, the referee put a stop to things.

Berchelt, the new champ, had been brilliant…and Vargas had gone out like a warrior (though the fight could well have been stopped sooner).

More Headlines

HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt, Takashi Miura vs. Mickey Roman


HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt, Takashi Miura vs. Mickey Roman
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night HBO will present two fights on their Boxing After Dark Series to run against the Showtime card that features a rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.

Saturday’s card will feature two bouts in the Super Featherweight Division live from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Golden Boy Promotions will be the lead promoter on this event.

The two bouts on the card will be a WBC Junior Lightweight Title fight between Francisco Vargas and challenger Miguel Berchelt. The co-main event of the evening will be between Takashi Miura and Miguel “Mickey” Roman in a WBC Junior Lightweight Title eliminator.

The following is a preview of both televised bouts.

IMG_2337

Takashi Miura (30-3-2) vs. Mickey Roman (56-11); Junior Lightweight

This should be a fan friendly fight and both boxers are known for their power. The winner of this bout will likely face the winner of the main event in the near future.

Miura has twenty three stoppage wins and two stoppage losses. Roman has been on a tear recently and has forty three stoppage wins and only one stoppage loss, including six straight wins by stoppage. However, Roman did not experience a lot of success early on in his career as evident in his eleven total losses.

Miura will be one year older than Roman, and will also be about an inch and a half taller. Miura is a southpaw and Roman fights out of an orthodox stance so we have a fight that will likely feature numerous clashing of heads.

Roman, who hasn’t lost since 2012, has defeated the likes of Edgar Puerta, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Juan Carlos Salgado. However, he usually loses when he takes a step up in competition and has lost to the likes of Antonio DeMarco, Jonathan Victor Barros, Miguel Beltran, Antonio Escalante, Fernando Beltran, Javier Fortuna and other less descript opponents.

Miura has losses to Francisco Vargas, Takashi Uchiyama, and Yusuke Kobori. He has defeated the likes of Billy Dib, Edgar Puerta, Sergio Thompson, Gamaliel Diaz, and Yoshimitsu Yashiro.

At first glance this looks like a fight that Miura should win easily, but you can’t discount the success that Roman has had recently and his current string of stoppage victories. Miura should still be considered the favorite, but Roman will make it a tough decision for him to win.

Francisco Vargas (23-0) vs. Miguel Berchelt (30-1); WBC Junior Lightweight Title

This has the potential to be a barn burner and an early candidate for fight of the year.

Vargas, the current WBC Junior Lightweight Champion, is coming off of a majority draw in a crowd pleasing fight with the rugged Orlando Salido. Vargas only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015, but he made his first fight in 2017 a tough one.
Vargas has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Berchelt is a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion as an amateur.

They both have power in their hands. Berchelt has twenty seven stoppage wins and his past four fights have come by stoppage. Vargas has seventeen stoppage victories and three of his past four fights resulted in a stoppage win.

Berchelt will be seven years younger than Vargas on fight night and will also have a one inch height advantage and about a two inch reach advantage. Berchelt has also been more active than Vargas, he fought twice in 2016 and four times in 2015.

The difference between Vargas and Berchelt becomes most evident when comparing their professional resumes. Saturday will only be Berchelt’s second fight outside of Mexico as a professional. His notable victories include Suriya Tatakhun, Sergio Puente, Rene Gonzalez, and Oliver Flores. His lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez.

Vargas has defeated the likes of Takashi Miura, Will Tomlinson, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Cotto, Jerry Belmontes, and Brandon Bennett.

This is an interesting matchup, especially since Berchelt has some heavy power in his hands and is a three time Mexican National Champion that has very limited exposure to the American audience. But, Vargas is the better tested fighter and is still in the midst of his prime.

It’s possible that Vargas will be overlooking Berchelt and will be looking forward to his rematch with Orlando Salido, but it appears unlikely that Berchelt will walk away with an upset victory.

More Columns