By Jake Donovan
Angel Moreno is literally 1,000 miles from home this weekend but still managed to bring along plenty of friends for his first career title fight.
The 35-year old from Madrid, Spain will enjoy a healthy-sized support section in Saturday’s challenge of defending flyweight titlist Charlie Edwards at Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick, London, England.
The bout—which will be carried live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the United States—marks his third career lone trip, with the previous treks resulting in his lone two career losses. That hasn’t prevented adoring fans from wanting to be along for the ride.
“When I was looking at the ticket manifest, I saw that Angel Moreno has sold over 200 tickets,” promoter Eddie Hearn revealed prior to the weigh-in on Friday. “When you heard (cheers) earlier, that was when (Moreno) walked into the room.”
Both of the defeats suffered by Moreno (19-2-2, 6KOs) came in the hosting country of his opponent. He dropped a July ’15 12-round decision to Ukraine’s Artem Dalakian—who currently holds a flyweight title—and nine months later suffered a defeat in France to local favorite Thomas Masson.
Six wins have followed, all at home and against nondescript competition. Still, he enters his first title fight with a rabid supporting cast, which points to a growing trend—fans coming both from Spain and within the growing population of 125,000 or so Spanish-born citizens in the United Kingdom.
“I think it’s a bit of both,” Hearn observes. “We noticed it as well when Sergio Garcia fought Ted Cheeseman,” Hearn points out of the super welterweight title fight which topped an O2 Arena bill this past February. “There were pockets of Spanish (fans) in attendance, with Garcia selling upwards of 150 tickets.
“These guys, they’re part of (former World middleweight champion) Sergio Martinez’s Maravilla Box and there’s a buzz over there. Look, I don’t think Charlie Edwards is bringing 200 fans with him to Spain.”
Edwards (14-1-1, 10KOs) makes the first defense of the flyweight title he claimed in his second bid at a major strap. The 26-year old Brit ended 2018 with a bang, scoring a minor upset in a 12-round win over exiting titlist Cristofer Rosales last December. His previous bid to win a title resulted in a Sept. '16 knockout loss to John Riel Casimero.
In addition to Moreno entering his first title fight, the bout also marks his first in the UK.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox