By Keith Idec

Takashi Miura had done his part.

The former WBC super featherweight champion knocked out Mexico’s Miguel Roman in the 12th round of their fight January 28 in Indio, California. All that was left for Miura to secure his shot at redemption later that night was for Francisco Vargas to successfully defend the WBC 130-pound championship he won from Vargas in their incredible clash 14 months earlier.

Once the main event of HBO’s doubleheader began, however, Miguel Berchelt destroyed Vargas and Miura’s opportunity to avenge his defeat in the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fight of the Year” for 2015. Mexico’s Berchelt, then an underdog unknown to American fight fans, battered and bloodied Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs) throughout their main event on his way to a merciful 11th-round stoppage at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort.

“I thought Vargas would put on a better fight,” Miura told through a translator. “But it is what it is.”

Japan’s Miura (31-3-2, 24 KOs) still will get his chance to win back the WBC super featherweight title Saturday night, but against Berchelt (31-1, 28 KOs). Their 12-round fight will headline HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader from The Forum in Inglewood, California (9:50 p.m. ET).

“I thought [Berchelt] was a great fighter and a strong fighter,” Miura said. “As much as I wanted that revenge on Vargas, I think for me it’s fulfilling to beat the champion who actually beat Vargas. To be able to beat that fighter, it would be very fulfilling.”

The 33-year-old southpaw from Tokyo was devastated when he lost his title to Vargas in their thrilling, bloody battle in November 2015. Miura was winning that fight on two of the three scorecards when Vargas came back to drop him and stop him in the ninth round at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

“It was probably the most depressing feeling that I ever had up to this point in my life,” Miura said. “I can’t imagine anything being more important in the foreseeable future for me [than winning back the title]. This is very important. … I look forward to putting on a great fight and bringing the belt home.”

HBO will televise two scheduled 12-round bouts before the Berchelt-Miura match Saturday night.

Miami’s Sullivan Barrera (19-1, 14 KOs), a former Olympian for Cuba, and Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) are set to meet in an intriguing light heavyweight fight. And Panama’s Jezreel Corrales (21-1, 8 KOs, 1 NC) is scheduled to defend his WBA world super featherweight championship against Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos (24-12, 14 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.