By Mark Vester
According to Fernando Montiel, he was crowned the full WBO bantamweight champion when Gerry Penalosa moved up on April 25 to challenge WBO super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez. It was initially thought Montiel, the interim-champion, would fight Eric Morel for the "full" vacant title. Instead, Montiel tells ESTO that he plans to make the first defense of the full title against Morel on June 27 in Atlantic City.
"I feel great. It's an honor to have entered the group Mexican champions, expecially Julio Cesar Chavez, who won titles in three different weight divisions," Montiel said. "It was not easy to achieve. All of this meant a lot of sacrifice, and I was going hard. Now things are better for my career."
He knows the first defense of the title will be a tough one.
"Morel was a former world champion, experienced, skillful. My strength is going to push me along with my training, to win by knockout. We must have a good game plan," Montiel said.
If everything goes as expected, Montiel wants to unify with Vic Darchinyan, who challenges for the IBF bantamweight title in July when he takes on Joseph Agbeko.
"Darchinyan will fight for a world title and if we both win, I want a unification fight against him. At 118 pounds I feel stronger and I feel like I have more skill in the ring," Montiel said.
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