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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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