Box or brawl, Miguel Berchelt says he’s eager to face Miura
WBC world junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt was not born into prominence or money. In terms of boxing pedigree, he was not even born in a boxing hotbed in Mexico, such as Sinaloa or Jalisco.
The road Berchelt has had to travel from his birthplace of Cancun to world titleholder is nothing short of remarkable.
That journey is nowhere near its end, but he wants to unify all the 130-pound world title belts before moving up in weight.
Berchelt will face former junior lightweight titleholder Takashi Miura Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The 12-round bout will headline a three-bout ‘Boxing After Dark’ telecast on HBO (9:50 p.m. ET / 6:50 p.m. PT).
The clash between Berchelt and Miura has been one of the more anticipated fights of 2017 and has the potential to be a candidate for ‘Fight of the Year’ due in part to their aggressive, high-volume punching styles.
The 25-year-old Berchelt will be making the first defense of the WBC title, which Miura lost to Francisco Vargas in 2015. In his last bout, on January 28, Berchelt stopped Vargas in Round 11 in one of the best action fights of 2017.
Berchelt (31-1, 28 knockouts) has won his last 10 fights, all by knockout, since being stopped by Luis Florez back in March 2014.
While the WBC mandated Miura fight the winner of the Berchelt-Vargas fight, Berchelt welcomes the challenge of face a dangerous and hard-hitting foe.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Berchelt told RingTV.com over the phone on Wednesday. “I know that Miura is a strong fighter who is a southpaw. He likes to come forward and is dangerous with that left hand. He’s a great fighter and it’s a great opportunity for me to display what I know I’m capable of.”
That does not mean Berchelt may or may not be in a rock ’em-sock ’em type of fight, as fight fans are expecting a war against Miura.
“I have to be smart in the ring,” said Berchelt, who is promoted by Zanfer Promotions. “I know I have to outbox him, but I could brawl with him if I need to.”
Berchelt has become a household name for boxing fans outside of Mexico. He has fought on a number of TV Azteca telecasts in Mexico, but his dream of fighting on a U.S. telecast came true when the Vargas fight was broadcast on HBO.
His dream of becoming a world titleholder started from humble beginnings. After a modest amateur career, Berchelt felt the time was right to turn pro, which was on his 19th birthday.
“I became the second world champion to come from (the Mexican state of) Quintana Roo. It is honor to be a WBC world champion.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to become a world champion like Julio Cesar Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Ricardo ‘Finito’ Lopez. All of them are WBC champions. I’ve always wanted my name to be amongst the great champions. I’m just trying to fulfill those goals.”
For a first-time world title defense, Berchelt may be in deep against Miura, a dangerous puncher. But with the way Berchelt’s personal life and boxing career has gone, he would not shy away from any challenge.
“I want to fight the best in my division. After the Miura fight, I hope unifying against the other belt holders is a possibility. I just want to make the most of these opportunities.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing