The Fight Night Guide brings you a brief preview of every upcoming weekend’s most relevant fights compiled by the writing staff of Zona de Boxeo and The Sweet Science, with all the basic information you need to know to check out the action and to know what to expect from every fighter. Follow us every week at #FNG @TSSboxingnews @Morillaboxing
Editor’s Note: We’re going to deviate from our usual chronological rundown and lead off with the last fight of the weekend. For folks in the United States, it goes early Sunday morning (8 a.m. ET, 5 a.m. PT) and can be seen live on ESPN 2 or ESPN Deportes (and live streamed on the ESPN App) with a replay scheduled Sunday night at 11 p.m. ET.
Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, April 15
Ryota Murata vs Emanuel Blandamura, 12 rounds, WBA middleweight title
Gold medalist in London 2012, Japan’s Murata (13-1-0, 10 KOs) turned professional the next year, and will make his first defense of his title belt against Italy’s “Sioux” Blandamura (27-2-0, 5 KOs), currently ranked eighth in the WBA rankings at 160. The 32-year old champ (pictured on the right in his 2016 fight with George Tahdooahnippah) obtained his title in a rematch against Cameroon-born French-based former titlist Hassan N´Dam N´Jikam back in October, when N’Dam refused to answer the bell for the eighth round after receiving a terrific beating. N’Dam had captured the vacant belt in their previous encounter by way of split decision in a score that was so blatantly inaccurate that two of the judges were suspended for six months and the WBA ordered an immediate rematch. The 38-year old Blandamura owns four consecutive wins, his most recent being against his countryman Alessandro Goddi back in June, where the EBU title belt was at play. – J.J.Alvarez
What to look for in this fight: A victory by Murata is almost guaranteed here, since Blandamura has almost no international experience and has, a priori, no tools that would pose a significant danger to the heavy-hitting local fighter.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, April 13
Marcela Acuña vs Daniela Bermúdez, 10 rounds, IBF female super bantamweight title
The venerable veteran “Tigress” Acuña (46-6-1, 19 KOs) will be exposing her 122-pound title for the second time, on this occasion against her compatriot “Pretty Girl” Bermudez (22-3-3, 6 KOs), who is riding a 6-0-1 streak in her last seven outings. A champion once again since December 2016 when she defeated then-unbeaten Yesica Marcos by stoppage in the tenth round, Acuña owns a nine-win streak along with her legendary career as Argentine female boxing’s first-ever licensed fighter. The 28-year old Bermudez will be making a jump in weight and in experience by taking on the 41-year old Acuña. The younger fighter is coming off a WBO bantamweight title defense against Soledad Frias back in October in Argentina. – J.J. Álvarez
Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Saturday, April 14
Jose Felix Jr. vs Marcos Villasana, vacant FECARBOX lightweight title
A typical clash between Mexican warriors, one of them a proven, battle-hardened fighter like “Josesito” Félix (36-2-1, 28 KOs), and on the other hand Villasana Jr. (21-6-0, 12 KOs), a solid journeyman aiming to getting rid of that label to become a factor in the local scene. Felix Jr., 25, stopped Jairo Lopez in four rounds in his most recent outing, to recover from his unanimous decision loss against Jonathan Maicelo in El Paso, Texas, 10 months earlier. Villasana Jr., 26 años, is riding a 6-win streak, the most recent one being against Jorge Luis Rodríguez in Acapulco, with a regional lightweight title belt at play. – J.J. Álvarez
Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, April 15
Daigo Higa vs Cristofer Rosales, 12 rounds, WBC flyweight title
With demolishing power in his hands, Higa (15-0-0, 15 KOs) will expose his 112-pound belt for the third time, on this occasion against Nicaragua’s Rosales (26-3-0, 17 KOs), a fellow punching power coming off a three-win streak, the latest one by stoppage against Alexander Taylor back in November. At 22 years of age, Higa has already stopped many top-level opponents, with his latest victim being Mexico’s Moisés “Moi” Fuentes back in February, in his second defense of his belt. (On the same card as Murata-Blandamura; see above)– J.J. Álvarez
What to look for in this fight: Even though it’s only been two months since his last fight, Higa has said that he will storm out of the gates to seek the knock-out win over Rosales. And if he manages to do so he will be his country’s top dog ever, breaking a current triple-tie with Tsuyoshi Hamada and Akinori Watanabe in the 15-consecutive stoppage category. As the ample favorite to win this bout, Higa should be able to achieve that goal with yet another highlight-reel KO win.
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