Jaime Munguia is ready to return to work, regardless of circumstance.
The former junior middleweight titlist from Tijuana has spent months both mentally and physically preparing for his first fight back from the pandemic. The opportunity comes in a middleweight non-title fight versus Bahama’s Tureano Johnson, headlining a DAZN stream on October 30 from a crowdless Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
“It will definitely feel different, not having my fans there to cheer me on,” Munguia told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve really enjoyed the support I’ve gained through the years and as I became world champion. But I’m still motivated because I know that the fans who won’t be able to attend due to the pandemic will be home watching me on TV.
“I know they want to be there, but they will still find ways to support me. That’s what motivates me, even with having to fight in an empty arena.”
Munguia (35-0, 28KOs) was last seen making his middleweight debut earlier this year, scoring an 11th round knockout of Ireland’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan this past January in San Antonio. The bout came four months after lodging the fifth and final defense of his junior middleweight title, when he stopped Patrick Allotey in the 4th round of the headliner of a Mexican Independence Day-themed show last September in Carson, California.
The original plan for 2020 was to grow fully acclimated to the middleweight division and possibly challenge for a major title by the end of the year. Instead, the sport as a whole shut down for nearly three months, with Golden Boy Promotions—who co-promotes Munguia along with Zanfer Promotions—returning to the fold with an event in July.
External issues have proved challenging for DAZN in assigning fight dates, but have finally settled in on that front. Munguia’s clash with Johnson (21-2-1, 15KOs)—a veteran middleweight contender whom represented The Bahamas in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—kicks off a healthy fall stretch for the sports streaming service.
The hope for all involved is for that momentum to carry over into the new year, where Munguia plans to remain far more active while establishing his presence in one of boxing’s most storied weight divisions. That goal will remain in place whether in front of a packed house or behind closed doors.
“We are ready to be able to fight under any circumstances,” vows Munguia. “I want to continue to get experience at middleweight and be ready for when those opportunities become available to challenge for another world title.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox