Alberto Machado’s February 9th title defense against Andrew Cancio in Indio will be joined by a second championship bout, this one pitting WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas against Venezuelan puncher Franklin Manzanilla.
Manzanilla (18-4, 17 KO) had yet to face a strong opponent before stepping in as cannon fodder for top contender Julio Ceja, who had briefly held the interim title. He wound up springing one of the year’s bigger upsets, smashing Ceja’s nose to the point where the fight was called after four.
Vargas (32-0, 22 KO), has not fought since a competitive decision over Azat Hovhannisyan last May, dealing with shoulder surgery and a subsequent bout with pneumonia. This will be the fourth defense of his title, which he won with a majority decision over Gavin McDonnell in 2017.
Whoever wins this will likely go on to face interim champion Tomoki Kameda, who defeated Abigail Medina for the belt late last year.