By Francisco Salazar
Francisco Vargas will defend his WBC 130-pound title against Miguel Berchelt on January 28, Zanfer Promotions liaison Sean Gibbons confirmed to Boxingscene.com Friday morning.
“The fight is on,” said Gibbons in an email.
The 12 round bout will take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
"Boxing fans know what to expect every time I step in to the ring - and that is a war," Vargas said. "I am aware of my opponent's knockout power, but he's never faced a true world champion, and I am confident I will come out on top."
That fight will be paired with the 10 round bout between junior lightweight contenders Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman. Both will air live on HBO.
The Vargas-Berchelt clash could produce an early candidate for 2017’s ‘Fight of the Year.’ Both fighters’ styles complement one another as both throw multiple combinations and will not have difficulty finding each other in the ring.
"I am excited to return to the United States and fight in such an exciting bout with Mickey Roman," Miura said. "I was very disappointed when I lost to Vargas, but I have rededicated myself and am excited to begin my journey towards winning back my title."
"I am performing better than ever in my career, and I am looking forward to showing my skills against Miura," said Roman, who comes into the bout riding an impressive 18-fight winning streak. "My goal has always been to be a world champion and I am hopeful that after I win this fight, I can get another title shot."
Vargas (23-0-2, 17 knockouts) has not fought since June 4, when he fought to a draw against Orlando Salido in an epic bout many boxing scribes consider to be the best of 2016. Vargas needed time to recover from the brutal bout, but also because of multiple cuts suffered in the Salido fight.
Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs), who is promoted by Zanfer, was in line to challenge then-WBO junior featherweight titleholder Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez before Martinez fought Vasyl Lomachenko in June.
Berchelt, who has won his last nine bouts, holds an interim world title at 130 pounds and is not ranked by the WBC.
Miura (30-3-2, 23 KOs) lost the WBC title to Vargas in an epic bout on Nov. 21 of last year in Las Vegas. He returned to the ring on May 7, knocking out overmatched Jimmy Borbon in the opening round.
The 31-year-old Roman (56-11, 43 KOs), who resides in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, is unbeaten in his 18 bouts, a span of over four years.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing