By Jake Donovan
Jaime Munguia is officially ready to follow up his breakout 2018 ring campaign with an even bigger year in the 12 months ahead.
The unbeaten super welterweight titlist from Mexico and his challenger, Japan’s Takeshi Inoue both made weight for their title fight, which takes place Saturday evening live on DAZN USA from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Munguia (31-0, 26KOs) checked in at a slender 153.2 pounds, while Inoue (13-0-1, 7KOs) came in at a ripped 153.6 pounds.
Saturday’s headliner will mark the third defense of the super welterweight title for Munguia, who claimed the belt just eight months ago in a brutal 4th round knockout of Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali. His previous two defenses came within the first four months of his title win, turning away the challenges of Liam Smith and Brandon Cook in remaining an unbeaten titlist.
Admittedly, he's flying in blind heading into this weekend's main event.
There isn’t a lot we know about him, there’s not really a lot of film on his career," Munguia told DAZN's Ak and Barak following the weigh-in. "We’re just going to rely on experience to get the job done. I;’m doing it for all of my Mexican fans."
Inoue (13-0-1, 7KOs) enters his first career title fight, along with making his stateside debut. The 29-year old contender has fought exclusively in Japan throughout his 4 ½ year career, most recently in a 12-round decision win over countryman Yuki Nonaka last April.
In the co-feature, Jesus Rojas will make the first defense of his secondary featherweight title versus China’s Xu Can.
Both fighters made weight, although the defending champ had to strip down to his birthday suit to hit the 126-pound limit on the dot. China’s Can (15-2, 2KOs weighed 125.6 pounds for his first career title fight.
Puerto Rico’s Rojas (26-2-2, 19KOs) will make the first official defense of his secondary featherweight title which he claimed in a Sept. ’17 knockout of Claudio Marrero. Just one fight has followed since that career-best moment, having to settle for a non-title fight—and a loss—in falling short versus Joseph Diaz.
Their clash last August was played with house money, due to Diaz coming in over the limit and thus leaving Rojas as reigning titlist despite losing a 12-round decision.
Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11KOs) breathed a sigh of relief after making weight for his scheduled 10-round battle with Mexico’s Jesus Valdez. Not that he was worried about hitting the 144-pound contracted limit; more so that he made it further along than was the case the last time he was scheduled to fight.
The unbeaten knockout artist from Dallas tipped the scales at 143.2 pounds for Saturday’s preliminary battle with Valdez, who weighed in at 142 pounds. Ortiz wasn’t even given a chance to step on the scales in a scheduled December bout at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, as he was denied a license due to having Lasik surgery two months prior which spooked the New York Stat Athletic Commission.