Guillermo Rigondeaux’s hopes of a second divisional title and his most active ring campaign in seven years are put on hold.
The reigning lineal junior featherweight titlist will be limited to a spectator this weekend, as his scheduled bout versus Venezuela’s Liborio Solis has been postponed. Visa issues prevented Solis from entering the United States in time to fight this Saturday’s edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox, as the two were due to collide for a bantamweight title in the chief support at Toyota Center in Ontario, California.
Representatives from Premier Boxing Champions confirmed the development to BoxingScene.com, although not yet in a position to confirm how the balance of the broadcast will play out. El Nuevo Herald’s Jorge Ebro was the first to break the news of the postponement.
Rigondeaux (19-1, 13KOs) hoped to get in a third fight in 2019, which would’ve marked the first time since 2012—his first year as a major titlist—he would have accomplished the feat. The 39-year old southpaw also sought to drop down to the bantamweight division for the first time since capturing the second of two Olympic Gold medals for his native Cuba, in hopes of capturing a second divisional crown.
PBC brass are currently working on plans to restore that dream for the 1st quarter of 2020.
Solis (30-5-1, 14KOs)—a former junior bantamweight titlist now based out of Panama—believed to have all of his travel documentation in order, but ran into an unavoidable delay which prevented the 37-year old from traveling to the United States, where he would have fought for the first time in his 19-year career.
Rigondeaux will now end 2019 on the heels of a pair of knockout wins, including a come-from-behind 8th round stoppage of former 122-pound titlist Julio Ceja this past June in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout came five months after a 1st round knockout of Giovanni Delgado, a bout which ended a 13-month hiatus while also marking his PBC debut.
The Cuban southpaw—who has been based out of Miami since turning pro in 2009—has reigned as the lineal junior featherweight champion since an April 2013 win over Nonito Donaire. Seven defenses have followed, along with two fights outside the division—including a one-sided stoppage at the hands of Vasiliy Lomachenko in their Dec. 2017 clash in which Rigondeaux moved up two weight classes for a fight marking the first time ever a pair of two-time Olympic Gold medalists met in the pro ranks.
Two wins have followed before deciding to drop down in weight in hopes of adding another belt to his collection, though it will now have to kick off his 2020 campaign,
The remainder of Saturday’s Fox card remains intact. The main event pits bitter rivals Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo in a rematch to their Fox headliner on this weekend one year ago, when Harrison scored an upset points win to end Charlo’s 154-pound title reign along with his days as an unbeaten boxer.
Their rematch was due to headline the same June card on which Rigondeaux last fought, only for Harrison (28-2, 21KOs) to suffer an injury in forcing a postponement. Charlo (32-1, 16KOs) went through with a fight with late replacement Jorge Cota, whom he knocked out in three rounds.
Four more bouts are currently scheduled for TV between Fox prime and the preceding FS1 telecast. Efe Ajagba (11-0, 9KOs) faces Iago Kiladze (26-4-1, 18KOs) in a scheduled 10-round heavyweight bout which is due to open the Fox telecast.
The current FS1 lineup pits Hugo Centeno, Jr. (27-3, 14 KOs) and Juan Macías Montiel (21-4, 21 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout. Karlos Balderas (9-0, 8KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian and current lightweight prosect faces René Téllez Giron (13-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round bout, while Raymond Guajardo (4-0, 3 KOs) meets Donnis Reed (3-4, 2 KOs) in a junior middleweight swing bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox