Tickets will be on sale tomorrow, April 2nd, for a card that will putting the WBC Super Featherweight and WBO Super Bantamweight titles on the line at the Tucson Convention Center Arena, May 11th.
“We’re all looking forward to this card. Berchelt-Vargas and Navarrete-Dogboe were incredible action fights the first time around, and the rematches will provide fireworks,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “This is surely one of the great fight cards of 2019, and there is no better place for it to take place than the incredible city of Tucson. The fight fans there are passionate, knowledgeable and will sell the building out.”
WBC Super Featherweight Championship of the World: Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt
In January of 2017, Francisco Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) and Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31 KOs) fought an absolute war in front of HBO cameras with the WBC title on the line. The first go-around was a fight that avid boxing fans remember quite well. Vargas and Berchelt took each other all the way to into the championship rounds before Berchelt finally was able to notch the KO victory and take the iconic, green title belt away from Vargas. Had it not been for the KO, the judges would have scored the bout 95-95, 96-94, 96-94 (majority decision) for Berchelt.
Berchelt has defend his title successfully four times in the last two years. Three of the four title defenses have come by TKO. The first of the four was by UD. Berchelt has fought in 27 rounds of title defending action since he KO’d the belt from around Vargas’ waist. Berchelt’s previous four opponents have a combined record of 178-28-3.
“Francisco Vargas is a great Mexican warrior, just like I am,” Berchelt said. “I am training at my best to prove once again that I am not only better than him, but that I am the best 130-pounder in the world.”
Having faced quality opposition as a champion, dispatching two of his previous four opponents by the third round, a third in the 9th, Berchelt looks as if he has made easy work of contenders since his first title defense.
Vargas will be the toughest test to Berchelts reign atop the Super Featherweight division when they meet in the Old Pueblo on May 11th.
“I have no doubt that 2019 will be my big comeback year,” Vargas said. “The three wise men came bearing gifts, and one of them is my highly awaited rematch against Miguel Berchelt on May 11. Like I said before our first fight, Mexicans never back down, and I will show that once again in the ring.”
Since suffering the only defeat on his record at the hands of Berchelt, Vargas has fought twice to earn his way back into title contention. Winning both, one by technical decision and the other by a corner stoppage, Vargas has fought in a total of 15 rounds in the ring before coming his meeting with Berchelt at the TCC.
Avid boxing fans know Vargas’ fight history however.
Vargas held the WBC Super Featherweight crown for two years prior to suffering his first loss to Berchelt. Vargas has fought the likes of the legendary Orlando Salido to a majority draw. Salido is the only man to have defeated Vasyl Lomachenko. Granted, Salido was in the twilight of his career when Vargas and Salido fought but Salido was also considered by many to be winding his career down when he defeated Lomachenko. Salido has not been active in a year and a half.
No doubt Tucson’s fight savvy fans will appreciate this bout. Berchelt is listed as the number one Super Featherweight in the world. Vargas is ranked fourth globally. Respectively, they are each ranked the first and second best fighters from Mexico in the division. The first meeting between these two was a complete war. There’s no reason to believe Berchelt/Vargas II will be any different.
“The first fight between Francisco Vargas and Miguel Berchelt was a war,” said Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “Vargas came up short that night, but it’s been his only loss. Since then, he’s gotten a lot better by training with Joel Diaz, so I’m even more confident now that Vargas will get his belt back. Golden Boy Promotions is committed to making the best fights, and we’re happy to be working with Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions to make another classic battle.”
WBO Junior Featherweight Championship of the World: Emanuel Navarrete vs Isaac Dogboe
Isaac Dogboe (20-1, 14 KOs) elbowed his way and made room himself in the boxing world’s “cool kids table,” by bursting onto the scene and dominating Jessie Magdaleno in April of 2018 to earn the WBO Junior Featherweight crown. Magdaleno was 25-0 at the time and is still considered by many as one of the best fighters in all of boxing, having ascended into superstardom.
When Dogboe stepped into the ring with Magdaleno as a mandatory challenger, things looked immediately as if Magdaleno was in for an easy night defending his title when he put Dogboe on the canvas in the first round. Once Dogboe made the standing eight count, the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia witnessed one of the greatest in-fight turn arounds in the last decade.
Knocking Magdaleno down in the 5th and twice in the 11th, the final time being a true KO, Dogboe won the WBO belt and astonished the boxing world. After Dogboe dispatched of Hidenori Otake 2:18 into the first round of his first title defense at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, the boxing industry as a whole felt they were witnessing the emergence of the next boxing great. Potentially the greatest Ghanaian boxer ever, some thought.
Emanuel Navarrete (26-1, 22 KOs) went into his December 2018 showdown with Dogboe at Madison Square Garden and thoroughly put all talk of Dogboe being the darling of the 130 lb division on ice. Navarrete spent the entire night, with the exception of perhaps two rounds, completely pummeling Dogboe’s face into a bloody mess and earned a unanimous decision to take the WBO Jr Featherweight belt from Dogboe. Dogboe, who had looked spectacular throughout his career up to that point, ran into a buzz saw and had never looked so mediocre.
Boxing fans now debate over whether Dogboe was exposed that night against Navarrete, or if Navarrete has come out of Mexico City and emerged as one of the next true champions in his own right.
“I am ready to show the world that our first fight was no accident,” Navarrete said. “I am the better fighter, and I will show that again. Dogboe made a mistake in taking this rematch.”
“Look, in my last fight, I wasn’t fit. I underestimated Emanuel Navarrete,” Dogboe said. “But you know something, at my lowest, he couldn’t knock me out. This fight, May 11, it’s a guarantee: Isaac Dogboe is here to set the record straight. Tucson, it’s going down. You don’t want to miss this fight. It’s a fight people are going to be talking about for a very, very long time. A fit Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe is a dangerous Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe. May 11, I’m coming for my title!”
ALSO OF NOTE:
Tucson’s own Manny Guajardo (4-0) has confirmed through via Facebook that he will be fighting in an undercard bout on May 11th at the TCC. Guajardo has quickly captured the attention of many notable boxing journalists. Guajardo could most definately have a bright future ahead of him.
Berchelt-Vargas 2 and Navarrete-Dogboe 2 will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The undercard will stream live starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy Promotions, tickets for this world championship event priced at $102, $77, $52 and $27 go on sale Tuesday, April. 2 at 12 p.m. ET/10 a.m. MST. Tickets may be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet, online at www.Ticketmaster.com , by phone at (800) 745-3000, or by visiting the Tucson Convention Center ticket office.