Jaime Munguia has a new date with an old foe.
The former junior middleweight titlist is back on course to face Poland’s Maciej Sulecki, who accepted terms for the rescheduled affair. The bout will headline a June 19 DAZN telecast, airing live from Don Haskins Center on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso.
“Although there have been several changes, we are happy because things are back on track for Jaime Munguia’s return on June 19,” Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy said of the event. “I’m confident that he will deliver a tremendous performance against Maciej Sulecki and show everyone why he deserves an opportunity to become a two-division world champion.
The middleweight bout was previously due to take place April 24 at this very venue, only for Sulecki to withdraw almost immediately after the fight date was announced. The former middleweight title contender alleged an injury, coming days after expressing concern over the fight even taking place at all.
Munguia (36-0, 29KOs) and his team quickly secured a quality replacement foe in D’Mitrius Ballard, with the fight date moved one night earlier to April 23. It proved moot, as Ballard suffered a legitimate elbow injury during training camp less than two weeks prior to fight night. The tight window left Golden Boy and DAZN forced to bail on the event, though with the subsequent announcement that Munguia would return on June 19 while the hunt was on to finalize the opponent.
“I feel very excited to be returning on June 19,” said Munguia, who made five defenses of his WBO junior middleweight title within a 14-month span before moving up to middleweight. “I know it will be a tremendous fight against Maciej Sulecki. I think he is a great fighter, and I will make sure to deliver a great fight to all the fans in El Paso, Texas and to everyone who will be watching from home.”
Munguia fights for the third time at middleweight, having moved up following a 21-month title reign at junior middleweight which began with a 4th round knockout of Sadam Ali in May 2018. The active title reign officially came to an end with his vacating the title in Dec. 2019, having since claimed stoppage wins over Ireland’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Bahama’s Tureano Johnson, a 2008 Olympian whom Munguia stopped in the 7th round of their DAZN headliner last October in Indio, California.
Sulecki (29-2, 11KOs) is regarded as a perennial middleweight contender, with his lone two career defeats coming at the sport’s highest level. The 31-year-old Warsaw native dropped a 12-round decision to Daniel Jacobs in a title eliminator, as well as a lopsided decision to Demetrius Andrade in their June 2019 WBO middleweight title fight.
Just one fight has since come of his lone career title challenge, a 10-round shutout of Sasha Yengoyan last August in Suwalki, Poland. While the previous attempt at facing Munguia came on relatively short notice, Sulecki was pleased with the second chance opportunity—particularly regarding the upside with a win.
“There have been many changes, but I am happy that things will take place as planned,” said Maciej Sulecki. “I know that a victory against Jaime Munguia will put me on the path to challenge for a world title. That’s why securing this fight was very important to me.
“I feel great, and I am totally ready to show the world that I can compete against the best in the division.”
Among the other significant changes to the show is the evening’s chief support. Uzbekistan’s Bektemir ‘Bek the Bully’ Melikuziev (7-0, 6 KOs) will face veteran trialhorse Gabriel Rosado in a scheduled 12-round regional super middleweight title fight.
Melikuziev was due to face former light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev this past January in a major step up in competition—and weight—for the ambitious super middleweight. The event was canceled after Kovalev tested positive for a banned substance through random drug testing.
Golden Boy managed to secure a stay busy fight for Melikuziev on the undercard of a Feb. 13 DAZN show, stopping Morgan Fitch in the 3rd round.
Philadelphia’s Rosado (25-13-1, 14KOs) has fought just once since the pandemic, a disputed 12-round split decision versus Jacobs last November at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Two fights prior came a hard-fought points loss to Sulecki in their March 2019 shootout in Philly which saw both boxers hit the deck twice.
“[W]e’re very excited to have Bektemir Melikuziev face a real tough test against Gabriel Rosado,” notes De La Hoya. “If he can look impressive against Rosado, then a world title shot will be just around the corner.”
The remaining two bouts on the telecast also includes the evening’s lone title fight. Houston’s Marlen Esparza (9-1, 1KO) enters her first title challenge, as the 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist faces two-division and reigning WBC flyweight titlist Ibeth Zamora (32-6, 12KOs) of San Cristobal Huichochitlan, Mexico.
Opening the live stream, Las Vegas-based unbeaten welterweight Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (14-0-1, 9 KOs) meets Louisiana’s Brad “King” Solomon (29-3, 9 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round contest.
The following bouts are due to stream live on Golden Boy’s Facebook page:
Tampico’s Raul Curiel (9-0, 7 KOs) faces North Hollywood’s Ferdinand Keroyban (14-1, 9 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout;
Santa Ana, California’s Alexis “Lex” Rocha (16-1, 10 KOs) of Santa Ana, California meets Philippines’ James Bacon (26-4, 17 KOs) of Cebu, Philippines in a welterweight contest also scheduled for 10 rounds;
Ireland’s Aaron McKenna (11-0, 7 KOs) squares off with Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz (12-5, 12 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout;
Warsaw’s Fiodor Czerkaszyn (17-0, 11 KOs) will face an opponent to be announced in a 10-round middleweight fight;
Evan Sanchez (8-0, 6 KOs) of Parlier, California meets Del Rio, Texas native Hector Coronado (5-0, 4 KOs) in a six-round bout between unbeaten welterweight prospects;
Chicago-based junior middleweight prospect Chris “Milly” Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) steps up versus battle-tested Sanny Duversonne (11-3-2, 8 KOs) of Avon Park, Florida in a contest set for six rounds;
Coachella’s Manuel Flores (9-0, 6 KOs) of Coachella, California appears in the evening’s curtain raiser in a six-round super bantamweight clash versus a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Per a Golden Boy Promotions press release, tickets remain on sale at the original price points of $200, $100, $60 and $35 (plus service fees and other charges). Tickets—which will be sold in pods and groupings of 2, 3, 4 and 6 people only, in compliance with social distancing measures—are available online at http://www.utepspecialevents.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or over the phone by calling the UTEP Ticket Center at (915) 747-5234.
Fans who still have tickets from the previously scheduled April 24 event are able to repurpose their purchase for this event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox