Jaime Munguia Set to Return Against Takeshi Inoue
By: Hector Franco
The return of one of 2018’s breakout stars will take place this weekend when Mexico’s Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) attempts to make the third successful title defense of his WBO super welterweight championship against Japan’s Takeshi Inoue (13-0, 7 KOs).
Munguia was first heard of by a majority of boxing fans last year as a potential opponent for former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin ended up facing Vanes Martirosyan instead when the Nevada Athletic Commission did not approve Munguia due to his young age and lack of experience of fighting in the middleweight division.
It may have been a blessing in disguise for the 22-year old Munguia as he instead went on to face Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali for the WBO super welterweight title. The Brooklyn, New York native, was coming off of the most significant victory of his career in defeating future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto by decision in Madison Square Garden. Munguia was not intimidated by Ali and made quick work of him scoring two knockdowns in the first round and two more in rounds two and four en route to a dominating fourth-round stoppage.
After the bout with Ali, Munguia made a quick return in July 2018 when he faced former super welterweight champion, Liam Smith. Once again Munguia dominated his opponent dropping him in the sixth round to win a clear unanimous decision victory. Against Smith, the young Mexican showed that not only does he pack a punch, but has the ability to go a full twelve rounds.
Following the fight with Smith, Munguia faced Brandon Cook on the undercard of Golovkin’s rematch with Saul Alvarez in September 2018. The fight only lasted three rounds with Munguia proving his superiority from the sound of the first bell.
Munguia’s opponent on Saturday is undefeated and seven years his senior. Inoue will be fighting for the first time in the United States and only his second fight outside of his native Japan. He is relatively unknown outside of Japan making him a mystery for many boxing fans. The odds are heavily against Inoue to defeat Munguia; however, bigger upsets have taken place in the sport. Japan has seen a recent influx of great fighters such as bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka and super featherweight champion Masayuki Ito. Against Munguia, Inoue will look to place himself on the list of the latest set of Japanese world champions.
Munguia will look to add another title defense to his ledger. Unfortunately for Munguia, he may be on the wrong side of the fence in his division with the majority of the champions falling under the Premier Boxing banner. The young Mexican’s goal is to one day step in the ring with Canelo Alvarez. Should he continue winning, it is a possibility that the fight can take place in the near future. The two men are both promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
The broadcast’s co-main event will feature “regular” WBA featherweight champion Jesus Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs) taking on China’s Can “Monster” Xu (15-2, 2 KOs). Rojas is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Joseph Diaz. Rojas was able to keep his title per WBA rules due to Diaz not making the featherweight weight limit of 126 pounds.
The Puerto Rican won the title against the Dominican Republic’s Claudio Marrero scoring a seventh-round knockout in Las Vegas the day before the first encounter between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
Rojas’ opponent is also unknown in the United States having fought a vast majority of his fights in China. Xu will be making his second appearance in the U.S. and holds some physical advantages over Rojas. Xu is 24 years of age making him eight years younger than the Puerto Rican (32). The Chinese fighter also has the edge in height and reach. It has been shown that Rojas can be outboxed. With just two knockouts in 17 professional bouts, it is likely going to be the game plan for Xu to use lateral movement to offset any of Rojas’ oncoming attacks.
On paper, the card in Houston looks to be one to showcase two world champions who will go on to bigger and better things. However, boxing matches are not fought on paper they are fought in the ring.
The card will begin at 5 pm ET on Saturday, January 26, 2019, on the DAZN streaming app.
Jamie Munguia-Takeshi Inoue Title Tilt To Headline January 26 DAZN Show in Houston
By Jake Donovan
Ahead of its first show on a new platform, the Golden Boy Promotions staff is fully prepared to hit the ground running for the 2019 boxing season.
Currently in the hopper is a planned January 26 show at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, which will air live on sports streaming service DAZN. Headlining the show, unbeaten super welterweight titlist Jaime Munguia will attempt his fourth defense in facing undefeated challenger Takeshi Inoue.
Golden Boy makes its DAZN debut this Saturday, with its biggest star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez moving up in weight to challenge secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding. Alvarez signed a record-breaking contract with the streaming service this past October, a move that was shortly followed by Golden Boy securing a long-term deal to bring its entire stable over after having previously been spread out on HBO, ESPN and Facebook.
The first DAZN show of 2019 under such deal is expected to be formally announced shortly, with the red-hot Munguia (31-0, 26KOs) getting the honor of serving as the star attraction.
The red-hot unbeaten titlist from Tijuana, Mexico is currently promoted by Zanfer Promotions, but entered a co-promotional agreement with Golden Boy beginning with his one-sided knockout win over Sadam Ali in May. The feat was part of an active 2018 in-ring campaign, where he scored four wins in as many bouts but whose rise to stardom actually began with a fight that never materialized.
Munguia was named as an alternate opponent for Gennady Golovkin once plans for a May 5 rematch with Alvarez were put on hold due to Alvarez twice testing positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol. Best efforts to preserve the fight date in Las Vegas were ultimately thwarted after Bob Bennett, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission deemed Munguia as too green a challenge for a boxer of Golovkin’s superstar ilk.
It was a fair assessment, as Munguia—while 28-0 at the time—would have been moving up in weight in addition to taking a massive leap in competition. Golovkin wound up taking the show to Southern California, where he annihilated Vanes Martirosyan in two rounds.
Meanwhile, Munguia went on to become a major breakout star of 2018. Shortly after knocking out Ali to win the title in their HBO-televised headliner in May, the 6’0” super welterweight made two high-profile defenses.
First was his decision win over former titlist Liam Smith in his second straight HBO headliner in July, less than eight weeks after winning the belt. Less than two months later came a 3rd round knockout of Brandon Cook in Las Vegas, as the chief support to the reschedule Alvarez-Golovkin rematch, in which Alvarez won a 12 round decision atop an HBO Pay-Per-View which sold more than 1.1 million units.
Efforts to squeeze in a 5th fight on the year would’ve had Munguia back on HBO, as there were talks of his headlining the network’s final-ever card. His handlers instead decided that it was too ambitious a move, with the preference of starting fresh in a 2019 campaign they hope to be equally as active while growing even more as an emerging boxing superstar.
Awaiting him will be Japan’s Inoue (13-0-1, 7KOs), who makes his stateside debut ahead of his first title challenge. The bout will also represent his first outside of Asia and just the second time away from his home country, the lone exception coming in a Sept. ’16 stay-busy win on a club show in Thailand.
Inoue has fought just once in 2018, scoring a 12-round decision over countryman Yuki Nonaka in their title elimination bout this past April in Tokyo, Japan.
Mexico’s Munguia fights for the sixth time in the United States, all coming in his past seven starts. His upcoming title defense will mark his first trip to Texas, with his previous stateside appearances coming in Las Vegas and upstate New York.