Mexican power-puncher Miguel Berchelt will put his WBC junior lightweight title on the line against late substitute Maxwell Awuku at the Plaza de Toros, Cancun, on Saturday.
Berchelt, who is rated No. 2 by THE RING at 130 pounds, will be making the second defense of the title he won from Francisco Vargas last year. In his most recent outing, in July, Berchelt scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Takashi Miura.
Both of those fights took place in America and now the defending titleholder is eager for a homecoming bout.
“For me it is a dream come true to fight in my hometown as a world champion,” Berchelt told RingTV.com through promoter Mario Abraham. “I do not have a problem with the change of opponent. I think his style, going forward all the time, is good for my kind of boxing and the people will enjoy a great show.”
Berchelt (32-1, 28 knockouts) had been set to face experienced countryman Cristian Mijares only for that fight to be cancelled in late-January for promotional reasons. Undistinguished contender Carlo Magali stepped in but he was quickly removed when there were issues with the Philippine boxing commission.
The 26-year-old Berchelt had prepared diligently for Mijares southpaw style, but time was running out fast and just finding an opponent was the priority. However, as luck would have it, his brain trust was able to secure another left-hander in Awuku (44-3-1, 30 KOs) at just over one week’s notice.
Berchelt has been readying himself for this title defense since late September. Displaying discipline, he stayed clear of family and friends over the holidays, training almost 2,500 miles away from his Cancun home in Hermosillo, Sonora.
“La Alacran” (The Scorpion) had been tabbed to defend against former two-weight world champion Orlando Salido in December. Those plans were curtailed due to injury and then Berchelt looked on as Salido lost to replacement Miguel Roman.
“I had a little fracture in the [Takashi] Miura fight, in my right hand,” said Berchelt. “I had a cast for six weeks and then started my rehab. I felt okay, but when I started to hit hard with my right hand, I felt pain.
“The doctors told me to have more time without hitting anything and more sessions of rehab. I was not ready for December, but now I feel 100 percent.”
Mario Abraham, President of Maxboxing Promotions, who co-promote Berchelt with Zanfer Promotions, was keen to bring a title defense to southern Mexico.
“It is something we were thinking since he became a world champion; a title defense in Cancún or Merida, Yucatán, his other hometown,” said Abraham. ” Now we have the conditions to do it in Cancún, with the support of sponsors and the authorities, and I think it will be a great night.
“The fight will be at Cancún Plaza de Toros (Bullfight Plaza) for almost 6,000 people and we expect to be sold out.”
Berchelt is confident of victory against Awuku and has his eye on the other big names at junior lightweight.
“After this fight I want to come back to the U.S.A. to defend against my mandatory, Miguel Roman,” he explained. “Then I would love to unify against one of the other 130-pound champions, [Vasyl] Lomachenko, [Alberto] Machado or [Kenichi] Ogawa.”
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing