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Ricardo Espinoza confident of upset victory over Danny Roman

Photo by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
14
May

Ricardo Espinoza may be the underdog going into his clash against Danny Roman, but he is not short of confidence he can pull off the upset victory.

The hard-hitting junior featherweight hopes to make the most of the opportunity Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The 12-round bout will precede the main event bout between WBC junior featherweight titleholder Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa.

Both fights will air live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, Espinoza weighed 121.6 pounds. Roman weighed in at the junior featherweight limit of 122 pounds.

Espinoza (25-3, 21 knockouts) last fought on August 15, defeating previously-unbeaten Brandon Valdes by unanimous decision. The fight took place eight months after a stay-busy fight in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico, knocking out Andres Garcia Guzman in the opening round. 

Saturday will mark Espinoza’s second fight at Dignity Health Sports Park. Espinoza squared off against John Riel Casimero in a world bantamweight title elimination bout in April 2019 in what turned out to be action fight between the two boxer-punchers. Casimero would hurt Espinoza in round 12, eventually stopping him moments later.

Casimero would eventually fight and knock out Zolani Tete of South Africa to become the WBO bantamweight titleholder. 

Espinoza believes the outcome made him a stronger fighter psychologically and the outcome would be different should he face Casimero again.

“I had a fight a month before the Casimero fight,” Espinoza told The Ring over the phone Tuesday. “I may not have the right amount of time to rest and physically prepare for the Casimero fight, but look how I preformed against him. Casimero was lucky that night because I was the more-effective fighter and I thought I would’ve won by decision had the fight not been stopped.”

Photo by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

The 23-year-old will take a major step-up in opposition from his previous fights when he squares off against Roman, who is a former unified world titleholder at 122 pounds. Roman would lose the IBF and WBA titles to Murodjon Akhmadaliev on January 30 of last year by split-decision.

Espinoza won his last fight by outboxing Valdes, but he is at his best when he stands in the pocket and exchanges combinations, which he hopes Roman does Saturday night. 

“I don’t know what to expect from him,” said Espinoza, who has recently fought on All Star Boxing cards over the last couple of years. “I believe I’m at my best when I take the initiative. I hope he does stand and trade with me in the center of the ring. That’s what I want. I admit I don’t box too much, but I like fighting in close.”

Espinoza likes hitting his studies the same way he hits his opponents. He is majoring in business administration La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), hoping to complete his education in the next year. 

“I’ve always maintained a good balance of training in the gym and studying for my classes,” said Espinoza. “After I’m done boxing, I want to get into investing. That’s what interests me.”

For now, Espinoza believes he can make noise in a very competitive junior featherweight division. A win over Roman will likely open more doors, including more-lucrative purses and fights on the same, if not bigger platforms.

Espinoza believes he can not only pull off the upset victory over Roman, but can also compete against the best in the division.

“This fight on Showtime against Danny Roman is what we’ve worked hard for. When we win, I know there will be several opportunities that will come to me. Fighting and beating an ex-champion like Roman will be the beginning. There are fights against (Luis) Nery, (Brandon) Figueroa, and other top fighters in the division.

“I believe I’m on the same level as these champions, more or less. I’m not going to say I’m the best. When the day comes when I face these fighters, including Roman, then we will see who is the better man.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring 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. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing