No matter what comes after this weekend, all that Jaime Munguia asks is that it happens a lot sooner the amount of time he’s been asked to spend between his last fight and the next one.
The unbeaten former junior middleweight titlist—once known as among the sport’s most active top fighters—returns to the ring for the first time in nearly eight months. His DAZN headliner this Saturday is just his second bout overall since January 2020, a far cry from the jam packed WBO junior middleweight title reign he enjoyed with six title fights crammed into a 16-month window.
“That is definitely my goal, to return to that type of activity,” Munguia told BoxingScene.com ahead of this weekend’s bout versus Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta. When I moved to middleweight, the plan was to get experience at the weight and then challenge for the world title. I would still love the chance to fight for that second (divisional) title, but I don’t feel pressured to make that move or whether or not I am ready for it.
"I just want to keep getting experience at middleweight like I was able to do as junior middleweight champion. It came from fighting often.”
Their bout headlines a special Saturday afternoon edition of boxing on DAZN, airing live beginning 2:0 from Don Haskins Center on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Tijuana’s Munguia (36-0, 27KOs) will at least gain the experience of facing a former title challenger, even if he will serve as a big favorite heading into the bout. The undefeated 24-year-old was forced to accept the challenge of Szeremeta (21-1, 5KOs), a late replacement for countryman and fellow former title challenger Maciej Sulecki who withdrew due to undisclosed reasons.
Munguia and Sulecki (29-2, 11KOs) were previously due to collide on April 24, only for Sulecki to pull out of the fight after allegedly suffering an injury at the start of training camp. The sequence spawned a series of events ultimately leading to Munguia enduring an eight-week delay on his next fight, already on the heels of going more than nine months between stoppage wins over Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan last January and Tureano Johnson last October.
The gap in those two bouts was largely attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, which is no longer the issue it once was. Saturday’s show will have fans in attendance, and comes as part of a healthy boxing schedule which features at least five televised cards in North America.
A win on Saturday will allow Munguia to remain highly ranked among middleweight contenders, in fact in the top five of all four major sanctioning bodies. Munguia is currently the number-one contender for WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (31-0, 22KOs) and WBO titlist Demetrius Andrade (30-0, 18KOs), both of whom are two-division titlists.
The mid-range goal for Munguia is to match that status, hopefully along with a return to viewers catching him on TV every three or so months.
“I grew stronger during my junior middleweight championship reign; it came from my promoters (Zanfer Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions) keeping me active,” notes Munguia. “I would love to be able to return to that, no matter who I fight—whether it’s for the world title or versus more contenders to continue to build experience.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox