New flyweight champ Roman Gonzalez pays tribute to Alexis Arguello
Roman Gonzalez impressively ripped THE RING magazine and WBC flyweight titles from the grasp of Akira Yaegashi, scoring two knockdowns en route to a ninth TKO round victory, on Sept. 5.
Gonzalez (40-0, 34 knockouts) won his third world title in consecutive weight classes having previously reigned at junior flyweight and strawweight.
The 27-year-old boxer-puncher from Nicaragua, known as “Chocolatito” to his fans, is understandably bristling with pride at the achievement.
“The fight with Yaegashi was the fight of my dreams,” Gonzalez told RingTV.com through manager Carlos Blandon. “First, because it was the path to obtaining three world titles like my hero, Alexis Arguello, but also because I think Yaegashi is a true champion.
“(He was) very strong and fast and with a lot of respect among all the flyweights. He made four (title) defenses and since I was on his fight (card) on April 6, I really got to appreciate his greatness before getting the opportunity of fighting him.
“My happiness cannot be measured,” Gonzalez continued. “I thank God the most because without his power and strength. I will never have had reached such happiness with the victory if God was not in my heart and life.
“It was an extremely happy moment to bring Nicaragua a third world title and to become the second boxer (from Nicaragua) to achieve this.”
The humble champion was keen to pay tribute to Arguello, the fallen Nicaraguan legend who trained and mentored Gonzalez early in his career. Arguello, who committed suicide in 2009, won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight during 1970s and early ’80s.
It has always been Gonzalez’s goal to emulate the boxer-puncher style and accomplishments of Arguello, who finished his career with a 77-8 (62 KOs) record and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.
“It is a dream come true,” Gonzalez said of becoming a three-division champ. “But even if I win four world titles, I will never surpass my hero, mentor and friend. I know he is happy watching me from heaven.”
Gonzalez intends to visit Arguello’s grave to make a special presentation.
“I will visit Alexis tombstone and present him with the WBC title belt to make homage to him,” he told RingTV.com. “Without his skills and training I would not be where I am right now.”
Though he just won the 112-pound championship, it has already been announced that Gonzalez will make his first title defense in November.
Gonzalez said he enjoyed resting last week, and will be doing light workouts to stay in shape this week to maintain his physical condition from the Yaegashi fight to use as a base to begin his next training camp.
“My manager, Carlos Blandon just signed with Teiken Promotions to fight on Nov. 22,” said Gonzalez. “We still do not have a rival but the card is definite. I will start my sparring Oct. 10 most likely in Las Vegas.”
It has been strongly rumoured that his opponent would be former WBA 112-pound beltholder Luis Concepcion. However, Blandon moved to distance himself from those suggestions.
“I do not think that the Nov. 22 fight will be against Luis Concepcion,” said Blandon. “Apparently his manager said publicly that Luis Concepcion cannot make flyweight anymore, so we are waiting to see who the next rival will be.”
Gonzalez will receive THE RING magazine belt within the next few weeks. It’s something he’s eager to collect.
“I want to thank RING magazine for ranking me,” he said. “It is an unbelievable honor to be a part of such an important legacy.”
The Yaegashi win cemented Gonzalez place in Nicaraguan boxing folklore. Now he will look to continue to build on what he already has but as he says, no matter what, he’ll never eclipse the legendary status of Arguello.