Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona The Smallest US World Champion Loses His IBF Mini Title
By: Ken Hissner
Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona was born in Mexico City, MEX, and now at age 23 resides in Westminster, CA. On February 16th he lost in his first defense of his newly won IBF Minimumweight World Title at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA. His opponent ,the No. 8 ranked DeeJay Kriel, of Boksburg, South Africa, knocked him out the 12th and final round.
Licona turned professional in December of 2014 winning his first six fights in Mexico. In May of 2016 he made his US debut in his first six round bout defeating Cesar Sustaita, 3-2 (3), at Studio City, CA.
In November of 2017 after going 3-0 in the US Licona returned to Tijuana, MEX, and won a majority six round bout over Juan Carlos Diego, 8-0 (4).
In 2018 Licona went 4-0. After a win in Mexico in January he traveled to Ponce, PR, he went from a six round boxer to a ten round bout in April defeating Janiel “Pototo” Rivera, 16-2-3 (9), of PR.
In June Licona went back to Mexico defeating Jose Eduardo “Motorcito” Ramirez Armenta, 10-3 (4), by split decision over eight rounds. Licora received a cut over his right eye which kept it out of action for six months.
In December he took on top contender southpaw Mark Anthony Barriga, 9-0 (1), of the Philippines, at the Staple Center in L.A. winning a split twelve round decision for the vacant IBF World Minimumweight title. This was on the undercard of Wilder and Fury. He suffered pain in his left wrist and had a 180 day suspension unless cleared by a physician which he has done in order to be fighting 75 days later. With No. 1 and No. 2 rankings vacant Barriga is No. 3.
Licona’s opponent Kriel now 15-1-1 (7), has defeated his last nine opponents who all had winning records. This was not only his US debut but the first time fighting away from South Africa. His last fight was in March of 2018 making his first defense of his WBC International title over 12 rounds defeating the South African champion Xolisa Magusha, 10-2-1.Kreil won his title in July of 2017 defeating Dexter “Kidmama” Alimento, 12-1, of the Philippines.
This bout was shown on FOX with Mexican Leo Santa “El Terremoto” Cruz, 36-1-1, of Rosemead, CA, defeating Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 26-3-2 over 12 rounds defending his WBA Super World Featherweight title for the fourth time in the main event.