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Dennis Contreras will resume underdog role on Saturday in Italy

Dennis Contreras. Photo credit: Pablo Lozano Reyes

Dennis Contreras assumes his familiar role of being the underdog Saturday night. 

Contreras will face unbeaten Michael Magnesi in a 12-round junior featherweight bout at the Palasport in Civitavecchia, Italy.

The 29-year-old Contreras (24-11-1, 22 knockouts), who resides from the boxing hotbed of Guadalajara, Mexico, fell short in his last fight on August 27, losing by unanimous decision in a close fight to former junior featherweight contender Cesar Juarez. 

Prior to the loss to Juarez, Contreras put together an impressive string of victories against prospects and unbeaten fighters. He snapped a five-bout winless streak in May 2019, defeating unbeaten prospect Fernando Garcia by majority decision. Contreras returned to action 15 months later, stopping hard-hitting Belmar Preciado in the fifth round.

Contreras continued his successful run in back-to-back fights, winning by knockout against previously-unbeaten Carlos Flores and fringe contender Hairon Socarras. Despite the loss to Juarez, promoter Tuto Zabala believes Contreras could become a legit contender at 126 pounds. 

“Contreras has a great opportunity against Magnesi for the IBO title,” Zabala told The Ring earlier this week. “He’s been anxious to challenge for a title since he signed with us and this opportunity came to him so he could look for bigger things (later) in his career. He hits hard, is in great shape, and is hungry for a win.”

Now that Contreras is likely a few wins away from contending in a deep division, he believes his experience as an underdog from previous fights is what gives him that drive and determination to bring out his best. Despite the result of the Juarez fight, Contreras is confident he can come out victorious Saturday night.

“I like these challenges because it demonstrates that we are in the big leagues (of boxing),” Contreras told The Ring Thursday morning. “And winning this fight will bring greater challenges and bigger purses and that is what we want. And look for a world title shot from any of the four sanctioning bodies.”

Magnesi (20-0, 12 KOs), who resides in Cave, Italy, stopped Eugene Lagos of the Philippines in the third round of his last bout on November 11. It was also his United States debut.

The 27-year-old Magnesi has stopped his last seven opponents. He is co-promoted by Lou DiBella and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing