By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO Oriental flyweight champion Richie Mepranum will fight for the vacant WBO title relinquished by Argentina’s Omar Narvaez (31-0-2, 19 KO’s) who moved up in weight and will face Everth Briceno ( 32-5-1, 26 KO’s) on May 15 for the vacant super flyweight title.
Manny Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz informed us that Mepranum’s title fight will be on June 12 with the likely site being Guadalajara, Mexico. Koncz was not certain who the opponent will be but indications are it could be No. 1 rated Jesus Jimenez, the 26 year old southpaw from Mexico who has a record of 28-5 with 20 knockouts.
The other top rated fighters are Rafael Lozano (24-3, 13 KO’s) of Spain who is ranked No. 2 and South Africa’s Zolani Tete (13-0, 11 KO’s) who is No. 3 in the ratings ahead of Mepranum who is No. 9.
Koncz said the fight will be a joint undertaking of MP Promotions and well-known Mexican promoter / manager Fernando Beltran.
Mepranum who won the WBO Oriental title on June 14, 2008 with a twelve round unanimous decision over Juma Fundi in Maasim, Sarangani province where Pacquiao was recently elected congressman.
He has had three fights in the US since then, making his debut with a six round unanimous decision over Cesar Lopez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on December 6, 2008 followed by a split decision win over Ernie Marquez on November 14, 2009 also at the MGM Grand.
Mepranum’s most impressive showing was when he completely out-boxed undefeated and heavily favored 21 year old Mexican Hernan Marquez (27-0, 20 KO’s) on the eve of the Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey WBO welterweight title fight in Dallas, Texas.
The skilled 22 year old southpaw stunned the previously undefeated “Tyson” Marquez and used his slickness to outhustle the aggressive Marquez who was ranked No. 5 by the WBC, No. 6 by the WBA , No. 9 by the WBO and No. 12 by the IBF in a unanimous and comfortable ten round decision in the main event at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, Texas.
Marquez was making his US debut while Mepranum who has fought in the US a couple of time simply out-boxed the aggressive Marquez with all three judges scoring the fight for the Filipino by margins of 99-91, 98-92 and 96.94.
Koncz told us that flashy southpaw Eden Sonsona (21-5, 7 KO’s), the Philippine bantamweight champion will also see action in a ten round bout on the undercard of the WBO featherweight title fight between challenger Bernabe Concepcion (28-3-1, 15 KO’s) and undefeated champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez (28-0, 25 KO’s) in Puerto Rico on July 10. Koncz said he still didn’t know who Sonsona’s opponent would be.
Koncz said Sonsona would leave for US with Concepcion on May 28 to continue training at the Wild Card Gym of Freddie Roach.