Fans and writers alike seemed to focus far more on the prospect of Jaime Munguia eventually facing Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and other top middleweights than on his actual title defense versus Takeshi Inoue.

The brutal slugfest that came of their DAZN main event in Houston showed why the most important fight of your career is always the next one on your schedule.

Munguia struggled just to get down to the 154-pound limit, but nowhere nearly as much as he did over the course of his eventual 12-round win Saturday evening at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Final scores of 120-108 (twice) and 119-109 certainly didn’t serve justice to what took place in the ring. The wide scores aside, Munguia recognizes the level of hell he had to walk through in making the third defense of his super welterweight title.

“I think it was a great fight,” Munguia (32-0, 26KOs) said afterward. “Inoue was a great warrior, a very strong challenger but I was stronger and was able to get the win.”

As was the case in the unforgettable 12-round war between Xu Can and Jesus Rojas in the evening’s co-feature, action was quick out the gate and never relented.

Japan’s Inoue, fighting in the United States and anywhere outside of Asia for the first time in his career, immediately took the fight to the defending titlist, who seemed befuddled by his challenger’s early aggression. It wasn’t until round three when Mexico’s Munguia finally hit his stride—even if the judges saw otherwise.

A clash of heads left Inoue (13-1-1, 7KOs) with a cut over his left eye, which ultimately proved inconsequential. Far more damaging, however, was Munguia finding his offensive groove. Combinations to the body and then upstairs left Inoue briefly dazed but still with the wherewithal to ride out the storm and survive the round.

Munguia overestimated how badly his opponent was hurt, pressing the action in round four and looking to intensify his attack. Inoue turned the tide in a big way by the end of the round, scoring with an overhand right while Munguia was pinned against the ropes, a tactic which discouraged veteran trainer Roberto Alcazar who demanded between rounds to move the action to center ring.

In terms of ring action, Munguia appeared to pull away in the middle rounds, outworking Inoue and landing the much cleaner punches. Inoue’s refusal to back down won over an entirely new audience, also keeping the defending champion on his toes—though perhaps for good reason.

“I was surprised by him. He fought terrific,” Munguia admitted, though not without a disclaimer. “He also hit me a lot behind the head, but I was able to fight through it.”

Hardly known for his defensive prowess, Munguia used portions of rounds eight and nine to fight in reverse at times. The tactic wasn’t offered as means to retreat, but rather to keep Inoue out of his effective punching range long enough for Munguia to set up right hand shots from the outside.

There was no stopping the visiting challenger, however.

Inoue’s determination to bring the title back to Japan prompted a 10th round for the ages, one that will warrant year-end consideration. Just as Inoue appeared to have turned the tide, Munguia came roaring back, scoring with flush power shots upstairs to badly stun the

29-year old contender who somehow remained upright by round’s end.

It only made the championship rounds that much more fun to watch—even if the judges had long ago deemed the fight out of reach by that point.

Munguia had Inoue hurt on several occasions down the stretch, but could never seem to land that one finishing blow. It only provided his squat challenger with that much more confidence of one punch turning the fight back around, although the best he could manage in the final six minutes is matching the defending champion’s will.

The loss is Inoue’s first, although stateside platforms will undoubtedly want him back soon and often.

The same can be said of Munguia, who is seemingly incapable of a bad fight.

What he also seems incapable of at the moment, is posing a threat to any of the middleweights that many industry pundits attempted to pair him with prior to Saturday’s contest. In scoring the third defense of the title he claimed in a 4th round knockout of Sadam Ali last May, he remains among the best in a super welterweight division there for the taking—which is precisely the career direction he intends to take.

“There was no problem making weight. I have no problem fighting a few more times at 154, then moving up to 160,” Munguia insisted afterward.

Next up for the still unbeaten titlist is a likely mandatory defense versus Australia’s Dennis Hogan (28-1-1, 7KOs). If ordered to make that fight next, Golden Boy Promotions will look to push for a springtime defense, be it on or around the time of the May 4 Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs middleweight unification clash.

By Jake Donovan /

Photo by Tom Hogan

Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) discussed his busy plans for 2019 as he prepares to defend his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title against Japanese contender Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs) in a 12-round battle. The action will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and will be streamed live on DAZN – which is just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial. Fans in Houston can purchase tickets starting at just $25 at

The native of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico is working hard to make a successful third defense of his title in what will be his debut in Texas. Munguia is working under the expert tutelage of renowned trainer Robert Alcazar, who trained the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Edwin Valero and Jessie Vargas. Munguia is training in the Southern California area, where he combines a morning run at the mountains with an intense boxing session at a private gym in the afternoon.

Below is what Jaime Munguia had to say during a recent training session:

“We are preparing very well. I feel better and more motivated than ever before.
I’m stronger than ever, and I will do my best to give the best fights for the people on this new platform, DAZN.”

“I have worked hard to be in the main events like this. I think for me this is just the start. I want to make history. I was happy to be the co-main event of Canelo vs. GGG 2, and now that I’m headlining this event, I am more motivated.”

“Takeshi Inoue is a strong fighter. He comes forward. He doesn’t mind taking a punch in order to land one. We have to be careful with that and come very prepared. We have to be careful with his right hand as well. We’re going to come very well prepared on Jan. 26.”

“After this fight, it looks like I will have a WBO mandatory bout against Dennis Hogan. But I would still like to unify the titles at 154 pounds with the other champions. We will resolve anything that is put in front of us.”

“The plan is to move up to 160 pounds in about a year. We’re fine making weight now. I have no problems, but I feel I can move up and fight in other divisions. My body is such that I could even go up to 168 pounds.”

Munguia on the other fighters in his division:

“I thought the fight was a draw [regarding Jermell Charlo vs. Tony Harrison]. Charlo should have attacked more and not wait as much. That’s my opinion of the fight. Tony Harrison is a good fighter. He’s tough and has good skills. If he is put in front of us-or anyone for that matter-we will have to work.”

“[Jarrett] Hurd is a very big 154-pounder. I think he’s bigger than me. If a fight with him is presented to me, why not? We can unify the tittles or meet at 160 pounds.”

“I don’t know what to say about the political situation because we are on different platforms. We will see if a fight against them can happen. Perhaps not this year, but maybe we can meet them at 160 pounds.

“I’ve heard the things they’ve said about me. Maybe they don’t respect me or think I’m too young. They’ve said a lot. I will make them respect me on the day they step in the ring with me.”

Munguia on a potential fight against Canelo:

“I don’t think there is any pressure with being mentioned with names like Canelo and Golovkin. I like this. It’s fun. I’m happy to be in fights like this and to see that we are advancing. So, the truth is we are happy.

“I am conscious of what I am doing. I think I can move up to 160 pounds and fight any of the two. It’s a risk because there will always be risks. Those are the two best fighters in the world. We would have to be very careful and come very well prepared. I don’t think it would happen soon, so we have to see what the future holds for us.”

Munguia vs. Inoue is a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Zanfer Promotions. Rojas vs. Can is a 12-round fight for the WBA Featherweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Universal Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and will be streamed live on DAZN.

Tickets for Munguia vs. Inoue are on sale now and are priced at $150, $100, $60, $40 and $25 plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges. Tickets can be purchased online at and by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX. Tickets will also be available at the Toyota Center Box Office.

NEW YORK – Jamie Munguia has joined Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN.

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya announced early Sunday morning that Mexico’s Munguia has entered a co-promotional agreement between his company and Zanfer Promotions. Zanfer has worked with the 22-year-old Munguia throughout his five-year pro career.

Munguia will make his Golden Boy/DAZN debut January 26 at Toyota Center in Houston. He’ll headline a card that night against Japan’s Takeshi Inoue, who’ll challenge Munguia for his WBO junior middleweight title.

munguia-cook-fight (16)

The 29-year-old Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs), while unbeaten, is untested against top opposition.

“We’re happy to announce that we signed a multi-fight deal with Munguia and Zanfer Promotions,” De La Hoya said during the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding post-fight press conference at Madison Square Garden. “So we wanna thank our partners, Zanfer Promotions.”

For Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs), this Golden Boy/DAZN deal helps keep him in position to land a shot at Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs), who knocked out England’s Fielding (27-2, 15 KOs) in the third round Saturday night. The Tijuana native would have to move up from 154 pounds to 160 to secure that high-profile opportunity, but he is more than willing to do that.

“Too early now,” De La Hoya said regarding Munguia possibly boxing Alvarez. “He’s obviously fighting at 154. As you see, Canelo’s fighting at 160 or 168. But yes, you’re right, Munguia is a monster.”

Munguia emerged as a potential star when he overwhelmed Sadam Ali in their WBO 154-pound championship match May 12. A late replacement for an ill Liam Smith, the hard-hitting, rugged Munguia knocked down Brooklyn’s Ali four times on his way to a fourth-round technical knockout victory at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.

Munguia has since defended his title against England’s Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs), a former WBO champion who then was the mandatory challenger for Munguia’s championship. Munguia dropped Smith in the sixth round and beat him by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder July 21 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

A motivated Munguia returned less than two months later to demolish Brandon Cook on the Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin undercard. Munguia stopped Canada’s Cook (20-2, 13 KOs) in the third round September 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Photo by HBO Boxing

By Keith Idec, senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.–134680

WBO Convention Awards / Special Recognitions at Gala

Tonight was the 31st WBO Convention Awards Gala at the Hotel El Panama in Panama City.

WBO Fight of the Year
Sho Kimura vs. Kosei Tanaka

WBO Female Fight of Year
Arely Muciño vs. Maria Salinas

WBO Female Fighter of the Year and Super Champion
Amanda Serrano

KO of The Year
Ángel ‘Tito’ Acosta v. Abraham Rodriguez

WBO Fighter of The Year
Terence Crawford

Upset of The Year
Eleider Alvarez TKO’s Sergey Kovalev

Special Recognition

1. Brian ‘Bo Mac’ McIntyre – Gordy Volkman Award for Outstanding Trainer

2. Eddie Hearn – The New Generation Award for Outstanding Promotions During 2018

3. Masayuki Ito v. Christopher “Pitufo” Díaz – for Outstanding Fight

4. Crawford, Montiel y Tanaka – Triple Crown Award for Winning WBO World Titles in Three Weight Divisions

5. Kosei Tanaka – Super Champion Belt – For Winning WBO World Titles in Three Weight Divisions

6. Promoter of The Year US – Bob Arum

7. Promoter of The Year Europe – Frank Warren

8. De La Hoya – Trailblazer Award for Ground Breaking Fight Series Transmitted Via Facebook Watch

9. Special recognition to Rosa Volante First female WBO World Champion

10. Special recognition Ahikiko Honda promoter Japan

11. Raja Amasheh First Female Fighter World Champion of The Middle East

12. Dariusz Michalczewski 22 titles defenses at Light Heavyweight Division

13. Ivan Calderón – Commitment to the Youth Boxing Program. WBO Two division Champion

14. Acelino Freites – WBOI Two division World Champion

15. Arthur Grigorian – Former WBO World Lightweight Champion who defended his word title 17 times

16. Jaime Munguia – Devasting Knockout Puncher

Panamá – Como parte de la Trigésima-Primera Convención de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB), hoy se estuvo celebrando en el Hotel El Panamá, la reunion del ‘Comité de Campeonato y Clasificaciones’ del organismo mundial.

Puntos destacados:

El campeón mundial peso Mini Mosca (105 libras) Vic Saludar (18-3, 10 KOs) de las Filipinas, pronto sabrá contra quién defenderá su título mundial.

Para el viernes, 7 de diciembre en Puerto Rico, el campeón de la NABO, Wilfredo ‘Bimbito’ Méndez (11-1, 4 KOs) de Puerto Rico y clasificado #7 por la OMB, regresará al cuadrilátero contra el clasificado número 1 de la OMB, Robert Paradero (17-0, 11 KOs), de Filipinas en un combate que la OMB acaba de anunciar para establecer al retador mandatorio de Saludar.

El clasificado #1 por la OMB en el peso junior mediano Dennis Hogan (27-1-1, 7 KOs), ha sido aprobado por unanimidad para ser nombrado el retador mandatorio del invicto campeón de la OMB Jaime Munguia, de México. Primero Hogan tendrá que ganar su próxima pelea que será el 15 de diciembre en Australia. Su oponente lo será Jaime Weetch (12-2, 5 KOs).

El invicto campeón mundial de la OMB en las 122 libras Isaac Dogboe defenderá su cetro ante el clasificado #2 Emanuel Navarette para el sábado, 8 de diciembre.

Dicho combate fue declarado como defensa mandatoria. Un movimiento que le da a Dogboe más flexibilidad con respecto a la defensa del título, suponiendo que le gane a Navarette.

Con la pelea declarada como defensa mandatoria, Dogboe tendrá nueve meses después de la pelea contra Navarette antes de que la OMB le solicite que haga una defensa mandatoria. Esto abre el posible escenario para que Dogboe pueda defender su título en Ghana para el año 2019, escenario que su equipo de trabajo ha comentado por mucho tiempo.

En las 115 libras, los filipinos Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20 KOs) y Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KOs) pelearon el mes pasado en una pelea por el título mundial vacante de la OMB, pero el duelo terminó en empate.

La OMB aprobó que Nietes se enfrentará al clasificado #3 Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13 KOs) de Japón, por el título mundial vacante de la OMB y Palicte se medirá al cuarto clasificado José ‘Chiquiro’ Martínez (20-0-2, 13 KOs) de Puerto Rico, en una pelea eliminatoria donde el ganador obtendrá la posición obligatoria por el título mundial.

Otro pleito que fue aprobado es en los pesos cruceros entre Maksim Vlasov (42-2, 25 KOs) de Russia y Krzysztof Glowacki (30-1, 19 KOs) de Polonia, por el título interino de la OMB, esto como parte de la ‘World Boxing Super Series’, a celebrarse el 10 de noviembre en Chicago.

Por otro lado, el representante de la Comisión de Boxeo de Japón Tsuyoshi Yasukochi, le pidió a la OMB que la próxima Convención sea celebrada en Tokyo, Japón. El pedido fue aprobado por la OMB mediante los miembros del Comité Ejecutivo y escogieron a Puerto Rico como segunda opción en caso de que se cancele.

Exciting WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KO’s) of Tijuana, Mexico is set to make his pay per view debut this Saturday as he will take on Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) of Toronto, Canada. Munguia will be featured in the co-main event to the anticipated rematch between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin live on HBO Pay Per View.

“This is a big opportunity to be on this card and most importantly fighting on this Mexican holiday weekend. It’s special for every Mexican fighter to fight on this weekend. I am ready to give everyone a great fight,” Jaime Munguia told®.

Coming off a tough unanimous decision win over Liam Smith of England in July, Munguia went the distance twelve rounds for the first time in his career. Munguia successfully defended his WBO title for the first time he won over Sadam Ali.

“I learned a lot in the last fight. I learned not to get desperate. I was expecting less of him but he came well prepared. It was a good experience,” Munguia commented on his last fight.

The 21-year-old had some flaws in the fight but also displayed his potential and definite room for improvement.

“I had some flaws that I noticed. We have been working on correcting those mistakes,” Munguia explained.

Since becoming world champion, Munguia’s stock has risen. Last year in December, I was fortunate to cover his U.S debut on the Mikey Roman vs. Orlando Salido non-televised undercard from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as he would go on to score a knockout over Paul Valenzuela. Four months later his name was mentioned as a potential opponent for Gennady Golovkin to replace “Canelo” Alvarez, after Canelo’s clenbuterol scandal. The Nevada State Athletic Commission would deny Munguia the opportunity and as the old saying goes.

“Things happen for a reason and I still thank the Nevada State Athletic Commission for denying me that fight,” Munguia said.

For Munguia, the rejection can be the best thing that happened as he would later get the opportunity at the title against Sadam Ali, going on to annihilate the 2008 U.S Olympian and winning the world title on the big HBO stage.

“This year has been the biggest of my career so far. But the reality is that I cannot lose focus because everybody wants my title and everybody’s after me,” The champ said.

Now he gets the opportunity on a much more major platform on HBO Pay Per View.

“It’s an honor to be on this pay per view card. I’m very happy to be able to participate in this big event full of stars,”

Following his win over Smith, Munguia went right back to the gym working with his trainer Robert Alcazar along with his father Jaime Munguia Sr. Mr. Munguia was also a boxer fighting briefly as a heavyweight. The duo wrapped training camp in Southern California in preparation for Cook.

“I’m ready. I have trained really, really hard. I need to focus a lot. I’ve been training in L.A. for my last two bouts. Following my last fight, I went right back to the gym in Tijuana. The collaboration between my father and Robert has been good,” Munguia on his preparation.

His Canadian opponent Brandon Cook is coming off two straight knockout wins since suffering his only defeat to undefeated Kanat Islam (25-0, 20 KOs).

“Brandon Cook is a really good opponent, a really strong opponent. He has a lot of experience and is a strong and tough opposition,” Munguia said.

All eyes and focus this Saturday will be on the anticipated rematch between Canelo and Golovkin as many households will be hosting fight parties with families and friends gathered to watch. While sports bars and pubs will also be hosting. Prior to the big fight, many casual viewers will get to watch Munguia for the first time as the young champion will look to make a statement.

“This is a huge opportunity and I have an obligation to show people what I’m about,” Munguia stated. “I’m excited and I can’t wait, and I’m ready for Saturday.”

Follow Miguel Maravilla on Twitter @MigMaravilla

Photo by Stacey Verbeek

Breakout Mexican star Jaime Munguia, who will make his second defense of his WBO junior middleweight world title on the September 15 GGG-Canelo PPV telecast against rugged Canadian contender Brandon Cook, spoke about the fight with reporters.

[On being the GGG-Canelo co-feature] I’m very happy to be able to participate in this big event full of stars. I’m happy, also, that I get to participate on the show date. I’m ready. I have trained really, really hard. I need to focus a lot. I’m excited and I can’t wait, and I’m ready for Saturday, next Saturday’s fight.

[On his opponent] Brandon Cook is a really good opponent, a really strong opponent. He has a lot of experience and is a strong and tough opposition. I need to be very careful with him because I’ve seen a couple of fights, and he looks when he’s hurt, he’s the most dangerous. I need to really focus on the fight and really be at my best on Saturday.

[On fighting on such a big card] I don’t have any pressure, extra pressure. I’m very relaxed. I know that I cannot have those things, pressure, because I need to do my job. That’s what I need to do. I need to focus on my job and my fast and my training, and the rest will take care of itself.

[On his approach to the fight] I learned a lot in the last fight. I learned not to get desperate, and in training camp, and what I trained in, and I’m basically with the mindset to go in and do my job, and that’s it. There is nothing extra. There is no pressure, just do my job, what I do every day in the gym, and I always feel relaxed. This is nothing new for me. It’s a fight between me and Brandon and nothing else.

The rest of the card, it’s different. I cannot have any control over what happens in the main event or the other cards. I just need to do exactly what I’m doing in training camp, and that’s it.

WBO Jr Middleweight World Champion Jaime Munguia added to Canelo-GGG

Fans at T-Mobile Arena and millions watching at home will be treated to a stacked undercard featuring current world champions and returning contenders in support of the Sepember 15 fight between Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBC/WBA/IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0, 34 KOs). The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

“This historic rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can only be supported by an equally great undercard,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “That’s why some of the best champions and contenders from all over the world will be featured on this event of international proportions, while some of our brightest prospects will have the opportunity of a lifetime on this undercard so they can one day headline events of this magnitude.”

In the co-main event, breakout Mexican star Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) will make the second defense of his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title against rugged Canadian contender Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round battle.

“I’m very motivated to be in such an important card,” said Munguia. “It will be the most important boxing event of the year. For me it is an honor to be on this card supporting Canelo Alvarez, who is also Mexican, on a date that is so special for Mexico, for me and for all of the people. We will do our best to please the public. I promise to not disappoint, so don’t miss my fight and don’t miss Canelo vs. GGG 2.”

Cook said, “It’s always been a dream for me to fight for a world title. To be on the biggest fight card of the year with two of my favorite fighters is a dream come true. Jaime Munguia is an exciting, young, up-and-coming fighter. He has great punching power in both hands. I’m going to do everything possible to bring that world title back home to Canada. I can’t thank Golden Boy Promotions enough for giving me this opportunity. I have a great team behind me and we will be ready September 15. I’m coming to fight.”

Fernando Beltran, CEO of Zanfer Promotions, said, “It can’t get any bigger for boxing than a Pay-Per-View fight in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day. That’s where Jaime Munguia is fighting and that’s where he deserves to fight. He always shows his best on the biggest stages and during biggest moments, so be ready for a spectacular performance from Munguia”

Undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO Champion Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) of Cartagena, Colombiawill defend her titles in a 10-round welterweight fight.–131085

On Saturday night in Las Vegas, WBO Jr. Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (30-0) passed his toughest test as a professional in his first title defense. Munguia defeated Liam Smith (26-2-1) via unanimous decision in an HBO main event and while he landed several big shots, he took his fair share as well.

When it was all said and done the 21-year-old Tijuana, Mexico native said that he learned a lot from the experience and that the fight will only make him better.

“I felt really good. I came in very prepared and I don’t have any excuses. I faced a strong opponent who came in and gave it 100%. What happened, happened and thankfully we got the win. We will get back in the gym and work on fixing our mistakes,” Munguia told after the fight.

Munguia has already fought four times this year but isn’t looking at taking a break anytime soon. He said that he hopes he can get right back in the ring and defend his title in the very near future.

“I don’t know when I will be back in the ring but I will get back in the gym as soon as possible so that when they tell me they have a fight for me I will be ready,” Munguia stated.

Prior to the announcement of the fight, Munguia’s promoter Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions was hoping to stage his fighter’s first title defense in his hometown in an optional defense.

Those plans were put on hold when the WBO ordered him to face Smith who was was the WBO’s mandatory challenger. Munguia said that he is still very interested in a homecoming fight.

“I would love to fight at home in Tijuana or anywhere else in Mexico in front of his people. A lot of people have supported me and followed me and I would like the chance to fight in front of them,” explained Munguia.

By Ryan Burton

Send questions or comments to You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter–130261

HBO Sports returns to the vibrant junior middleweight division when one of 2018’s breakout stars defends his WBO crown for the first time on HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: JAIME MUNGUIA VS. LIAM SMITH AND ALBERTO MACHADO VS. RAFAEL MENSAH, presented SATURDAY, JULY 21 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.

The HBO Sports team will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Two months ago, Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) made an impressive HBO debut, scoring a resounding fourth-round KO of junior middleweight titleholder Sadam Ali. Now, the 25-year-old native of Tijuana, Baja Calif, Mexico defends his title against the UK’s formidable Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs), 29, in a 12-round clash that promises to produce fireworks.

The co-feature spotlights Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) defending his super featherweight title against No. 1 contender Rafael Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) in a 12-round battle. Machado, 27, hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Mensah, also 27, is a native of Accra, Ghana, and has 12 more pro bouts than the champ.

This doubleheader marks the 39th consecutive year that HBO Boxing has televised a fight card from Las Vegas.

Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos–130110

WBO Jr. Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico is set for his first title defense against former world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of England this Saturday at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. Munguia will look impress once again. “I’m very excited for this fight and very motivated to be fighting on HBO again,” Munguia said.

The 21-year-old started the year as a virtual unknown. He quietly made his U.S. debut last December in Las Vegas on the Micky Roman-Orlando Salido non-televised undercard stopping Paul Valenzuela Jr. in two rounds. Munguia went on to win his next two fights in Mexico by knockout.

Then things got interesting.

When the highly anticipated rematch between Canelo and Golovkin fell apart shortly before the scheduled May 5 date, “GGG” was left without an opponent. One of the names prominently mentioned for Golovkin was Jaime Munguia.

Fortunately for Munguia the Nevada State Athletic Commission denied the young Mexican prospect a shot at Golovkin. “Things happen for a reason but I don’t understand how the commission was able to approve Connor McGregor’s fight against Mayweather. Nevertheless, the potential fight against Gennady Golovkin really got my name out there. It allowed me to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m grateful for that.

“I got the call to fight Sadam Ali with only two weeks’ notice. I knew my advantage was my reach and my power. I knew that he was a smaller fighter.” Munguia disposed of 2008 U.S Olympian Sadam Ali in four rounds to claim Ali’s WBO 154lb world title.

Munguia is trained by Oscar De La Hoya’s former trainer Robert Alcazar, who guided De La Hoya to multiple world titles. The duo trained in southern California in preparation for the Englishman and former champion Smith.

“We had a sensational training camp. We have a great team,” Munguia stated. “I feel good we had a good camp. So I feel very good, I’m coming into this fight one hundred percent,”

His opponent Smith since being stopped by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez back in September of 2016 has won three straight fights and is coming off back to back wins over Liam Williams. Smith was originally scheduled to take on Sadam Ali, but he withdrew from the May 12 fight due to a skin condition from an allergic reaction that forced him to pull out.

“I think that the only advantage that Liam Smith has is that he’s fought in big events before. But I have many fights under my belt. I have a lot of experience,” Munguia commented. “Him pulling out of the fight gave me the opportunity.”

Munguia has already expressed interest in a potential unification bout in the stacked and talented super welterweight division. Rival champions include WBC champ Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) and unified WBA/IBF champ Jarret Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs)

“I would love to have a unify my titles in my weight class with Charlo or Hurd but I prefer Hurd.” Munguia concluded. “I feel very motivated now that I’m a world champion. Everyone is going to talk about me after this fight. This will open up more opportunities. After this fight everyone will compare me to Canelo and Golvokin. I want to be a great champion and a legend.”

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

Photo by Hogan Photos

Jaime Munguia

Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs), the newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, will make the first defense of his title against former world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event Saturday, July 21 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. The fight will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Munguia is a dangerous 21-year-old puncher who has ended 25 of his fights by stunning knockout. Munguia has only fought twice in the United States, the second of which was for a last-minute title opportunity against Sadam “World Kid” Ali in May. Munguia used his enormous height and reach advantages to drop Ali several times before a thunderous left hook ended matters in the fourth round. The newly-crowned champion is excited to defend his new belt.

“I’m very excited and thankful with everyone that made this possible,” said Jaime Munguia.”I invite the fans to go and see me live or to tune in on HBO. I will defend my WBO title with pride and honor. See you in Vegas!”

Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title. Smith then lost the title against Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in an impressive show of heart. Smith has had three victories since, and after pulling out of his May 12 fight against Sadam Ali due to an illness, he is more than ready to regain the title that was once his.

“To go to Vegas and fight for a world title is every fighter’s dream,” said Liam Smith.”But it’s only an extra incentive to my main motivation – getting that WBO world junior middleweight title back around my waist.Munguia is obviously a dangerous puncher and I’ll have to be wary of him early on, but he’s never fought someone as good as me and a fully-fledged 154lb fighter. I can’t afford to look an inch past Munguia though. He’s world champion for a reason and with such a high knockout percentage, I’m going to have to be my best ever. Unfortunately for Munguia, that’s what I’ll be.”

“I’m proud and excited that this Mexican Kid from Tijuana [Munguia], who’s the hottest fighter in boxing today, will once again fight on July 21 against the tough Liam Smith,” said Fernando Beltran, CEO of Zanfer Promotions. “I know he will prevail again in spectacular fashion like he always does.”

“Liam Smith was very confident of beating Sadam Ali, but unfortunately the allergic reaction he suffered temporarily sidelined his plans,” said Frank Warren.”Munguia looked impressive beating the former champion, but Liam actually feels he is a better stylistic match up for him than Ali would have been.I’m very confident Liam will be recapturing the WBO Junior Middleweight Title and bringing it back to the UK.”

“When Jaime Munguia made his HBO debut this past May, he put the division on notice with a spectacular knockout and captured a 154-pound title”, said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “He looks to keep the momentum going on July 21 as he takes on his mandatory challenger Liam Smith, who hopes to take the title back to his native UK.”–129349

LIAM SMITH will challenge WBO Jr. Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas on July 21.

The bout gives Smith the chance to win back the world title that he lost to Canelo Alvarez. The belt would be picked up by all-time great Miguel Cotto. He lost his final fight, and the WBO Jr. Middleweight title, to Sadam Ali. Due to a sudden allergic reaction, Liam was forced to pull out of a clash with Sadam Ali earlier this year. That gave unheralded replacement Munguia the chance to step in and shock Ali, scoring a significant upset and displaying intimidating power.

Now Smith gets his world title shot. He is expected to collide with Munguia in entertaining style.

“That fight’s on,” promoter Frank Warren told Boxing News.

“It’s a tough fight. This guy, he’s the next big thing for them. He’s a big puncher, there’s no doubt about that. But as I always said, in boxing it’s not just about who’s the biggest puncher.”

By John Dennen / Photo by Matt Heasley / Hogan Photos

WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) is looking forward to a mandatory showdown with former champion Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of the UK.

Munguia captured the title earlier this month, with a four round thrashing of Sadam Ali in Verona, New York. The young Mexican puncher sent Ali down four times before the contest was waved off.

Smith previously held the WBO title – until he lost the belt to Canelo Alvarez in September 2016. Since then, he’s won three fights including a final eliminator against Liam Williams.

According to Munguia, the fight is being targeted for two dates in the month of July.

“We are going to fight on July 21 or 28. I already started running this week, I have a good rhythm to fight and I do not want to waste it. I think that next week we will return to the gym in a stronger way, this week has been crazy,” Munguia told ESPN Deportes.

“Regarding Liam Smith, I feel he is a fighter who does not have a big name, but he is a very experienced fighter who fought with the best of the division, including Canelo Alvarez. But I think I have what it takes to beat him. I always put in a good preparation physical and mentally. I’m sure that it will be a great fight.”

Munguia is hoping to emulate the success of his two Mexican idols, Julio Cesar Chavez and Juan Manuel Marquez.

“Julio Cesar Chavez, I love his way of fighting, his aggressiveness, he did not stop throwing punches for the entire three minutes of each round, and for the entire twelve rounds of the fight. Marquez is also a good counter-puncher, and there are many more. But I want to continue my journey in my own way, so that someday the children are saying that they want to be like me,” Munguia said.

By Miguel Rivera / BoxingScene — Quotes by ESPNDeportes — Photo by Matt Heasley / Hogan Photos