According to the Mexican sports newspaper Record, Hozumi Hasegawa will be back in action November 26 against Juan Carlos Burgos. The fight will take place in Tokyo, and according to the report, will be for the WBC featherweight title, although it is unclear what exactly the WBC is doing with Elio Rojas to make that title available. This marks a jump of two weight classes for Hasegawa, and further improves an already stacked division.
Not long ago, Hasegawa was starting to enter a number of top ten pound for pound lists after making eleven consecutive title defenses of his bantamweight strap and running off a string of impressive early knockouts against decent competition. He lost this distinction, as well as his title, after getting knocked out be Fernando Montiel in April in a fight where Hasegawa suffered a broken jaw.
Burgos is one of the current hopes for a new Mexican star. The 22-year old has accumulated a 25-0 record against decent competition, including winning a title eliminator against Ricardo Castillo, although this would be a huge step up in class for Burgos. According to the reports, Burgos had been set to face Jhonny Gonzalez, but the WBC stripped Gonzalez of the right because he chose to fight for the vacant IBO title in today's bout against Jackson Asiku.
Featherweight has quickly become one of the strongest weight classes out there after being a virtual wasteland only a year or two ago. Within the past year, Juan Manuel Lopez, Celestino Caballero, Rafael Marquez, Hozumi Hasegawa, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Jhonny Gonzalez have all joined the ranks of the division, and fighters like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Burgos, Mikey Garcia and Antonio Escalante Jr. have all risen to prominence. And while the shell game being played by the sanctioning bodies is annoying, it is setting up a very interesting landscape where a lot of these top guys could be forced to fight each other.
After such a major injury, one has to give Hasegawa credit for jumping right back into the thick of things and not taking an easier warmup fight, especially since he making a significant move in weight. He had been seeking a rematch against Montiel, but as it became apparent that Montiel was not interested, his team focused elsewhere. In terms of style and size, Burgos is as tough of a matchup as almost anyone Hasegawa faced during his previous title run.