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Miguel Berchelt-Francisco Vargas title rematch set for March 23 on ESPN

Berchelt (left) batters Francisco Vargas en route to stopping the previously unbeaten WBC 130-pound titleholder. Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas are going to trade haymakers one more time.

The junior lightweight title rematch will be staged March 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told The Ring. The 130-pound bout will headline an ESPN show.

When they met in January 2017, Berchelt scored an 11th-round knockout of Vargas in a hellacious fight between Mexicans to grab the title. Now, it’s Berchelt who will enter the ring as champion. He’s made four successful defenses — most recently with a ninth-round TKO of Mickey Roman — of the WBC title.

Berchelt (35-1, 31 knockouts) will be favored to triumph again, and if he does, the 27-year-old will be on short list of viable candidates to face pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko later this year. Berchelt is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 130 pounds.

Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) has won two fights in a row since the defeat to Berchelt. The 34-year-old scored a technical decision over Stephen Smith in December 2017; he stopped Rod Salka in Round 6 in April.

Berchelt was barely ahead on the scorecards when he stopped Vargas in the penultimate round (96-94, 95-95, 96-94). His pressure overwhelmed Vargas, who was cut over both eyes and also over the bridge of his nose.

Twenty-six months later, Vargas will have a chance to reclaim what was once his.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger