Tuesday, November 29, 2022  |


Guillermo Rigondeaux: ‘Let’s do it, Leo Santa Cruz’


RING junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux wants to fight WBC counterpart Leo Santa Cruz so badly, he insists he can be ready on short notice.

In fact, Rigondeaux said he can dispatch Hisashi Amagasa on New Year’s Eve and be ready to unify against Santa Cruz on Jan. 17 if necessary.

A 34-year-old southpaw who also holds the WBA and WBO titles, Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 knockouts) will face Amagasa (28-4-2, 19 KOs) before the latter’s partisan fans at the Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Osaka, Japan.

Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBC 122-pound title on Jan. 17 against an opponent to be determined on the undercard of a Showtime-televised heavyweight bout between WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Having declared his preference for bouts opposite RING No. 2-ranked Santa Cruz, RING No. 1-rated IBF beltholder Carl Frampton or RING No. 3 Scott Quigg, all of whom are undefeated, Rigondeaux contends he would be ready to take on Santa Cruz after vanquishing Amagasa.

“I would love to fight Leo Santa Cruz on Jan. 17,” said Rigondeaux, “but he is scared to fight me.”

In his last fight in September, Santa Cruz dropped and stopped Manuel Roman in the second round on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana.

Prior to facing Roman, the 26-year-old Santa Cruz already had called out Rigondeaux during an interview with RingTV.com in August.

“I read that [Rigondeaux] thinks that fighters are running away from him and that he said that he thought that I was scared to fight him. But I want to prove that I’m not scared to fight nobody. I’m here to fight the best and if he is the best, then why not fight him? Like I’ve said, he has a hard style and everything,” said Santa Cruz at the time.

“Hopefully, next year, we can get a fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux and we can have a helluva fight and a helluva war out there. We know that it would be a great fight and a hard fight for me but I might lose but we’ll win if we give the fans what they want. If they want it, then I’m here for a Guillermo Rigondeaux fight. So let’s make that fight happenÔǪWhenever we fight Rigondeaux, we’ll be ready to fight boxers who move a lot. We know that fight is going to happen sooner or later, so we want to be ready for different styles.”

Rigondeaux is ready to accept the challenge of Santa Cruz.

“He knows I am fighting Dec. 31, so he thought he would get away with calling me out,” said Rigondeaux. “I am a professional at the top of my game and I am always ready to fight. Lets do it, Leo Santa Cruz.”

Rigondeaux was last in the ring for a first-round knockout of Sod Kokietgym on a Top Rank Promotions card in Macau, China in July, ending a 36-0-1 unbeaten streak for Kokietgym.

Amagasa, 29, has won 13 consecutive fights, seven by knockout, including stoppages in his past three bouts. Amagasa is coming off a 12th round technical knockout of Ryo Takenaka in October.

Amagasa last suffered defeat by unanimous decision to Ryol Li Lee in June 2010 but avenged that loss by unanimous decision in October 2013.