Tuesday, November 29, 2022  |


Guillermo Rigondeaux wants unification vs. Leo Santa Cruz, Kiko Martinez

Guillermo Rigondeaux (R) fighting then-RING jr. featherweight champion Nonito Donaire in April 2013. Photo by Naoki Fukuda.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (R) fighting then-RING jr. featherweight champion Nonito Donaire in April 2013. Photo by Naoki Fukuda.


RING junior featherweight champion Gullermo Rigondeaux has his sights on unification bouts with Leo Santa Cruz or Kiko Martinez should he get beyond Saturday’s defense with Sod Kokietgym in Macau, China.

Also the holder of the WBA and WBO belts, Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 knockouts), 33, is coming off back-to-back unanimous decisions over Nonito Donaire in April 2013 and Joseph Agbeko in December. Rigondeaux won the RING and WBO titles in the Donaire fight and the WBA title against Ricardo Cordoba in late 2010, his seventh pro bout.

“I would like for my next fight to be a unification of titles, by fighting either the 122 WBC champ Santa Cruz, or the 122 IBF champ Kiko Martinez,” said Rigondeaux. “Of course, most are hesitant to fight me. But once I get the opportunity to win another belt, I will see my options to possibly move up in weight.”

Rigondeaux-Kokietgym is on the undercard of a Top Rank show whose main event features two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (4-0, 1 KOs), in his first 10-rounder, against bantamweight rival Luis De La Rosa (23-3-1, 13 KOs). Shiming-De La Rosa will be televised on HBO2 via same-day delay starting at 5 p.m. ET/PT., along with a super middleweight bout between Gilberto Ramirez and Junior Talipeau.

Rigondeaux-Kokietgym, meanwhile, will be televised separately on UniMas on same-day delay beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

“I see this fight overseas as an opportunity to reach a whole other spectrum of sports fans and of all of boxing, and to let them become fans of me,” said Rigondeaux, who is currently rated No. 7 on THE RING’s pound for pound list. “It would be an honor for them to fall in love with the sport through them watching one of my fights live here in their home country.”

Kokietgym (63-2-1, 28 KOs), 37, has had only two fights of note in his long career, losses to Daniel Ponce de Leon in 2005 and 2006. Ponce de Leon won the vacant WBO 122-pound title in the first fight and successfully defended it in the second.

Kokietgym is 36-0-1 since that second fight but has faced obscure opponents only in his home country of Thailand during that stretch. He typically has gone between one and three months between fights, while this will mark the end of a nine and a half-month layoff, the longest gap in his career.

“We have prepared with my team just like any other fight. We never underestimate an opponent, and come Saturday night, it will show,” said Rigondeaux. “This fight is a chance for me to reach out to those on this side of the world and convert them to boxing fans, especially those that are my fans already.”


Notes: Quotes provided by Alex Bornote in association with Top Rank