The rumored Jan. 11 fight between Jaime Munguia and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan is now official, with Golden Boy announcing the bout this afternoon. The fight will headline a DAZN-streamed show at San Antonio’s Alamodome, and will also be Munguia’s official move to 160 pounds after five defenses of the WBO junior middleweight title.
The 23-year-old Munguia (34-0, 27 KO) was looking like a real breakout star in 2018, when he came halfway out of nowhere to thrash Sadam Ali and win that WBO 154-pound belt, followed by a successful defense against former titleholder Liam Smith.
The defense over Smith probably remains his best to date, though, and the competition has been scaled back some since then. Brandon Cook and Takeshi Inoue didn’t present much resistance, but lightly-regarded mandatory challenger Dennis Hogan did in April of this year, and if that fight hadn’t been in Monterrey, it may well have turned out differently. Munguia won a controversial majority decision and struggled with the veteran craft of Hogan.
To be fair to Munguia, he took that performance at least somewhat to heart, hiring a new trainer in Erik Morales for his return on Sept. 14 against Patrick Allotey, who wasn’t a real contender. Allotey gave Munguia a few looks in the first round, but Munguia’s power and volume overwhelmed the overmatched Ghanaian in short order, and Munguia stopped him in four.
“Jaime Munguia is developing into a big star in this sport, so we’re happy that our strategic partnership with Zanfer Promotions has been able to continually deliver great fights featuring this young talent,” said Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya. “At the same time, ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan is an exciting puncher with a lot of experience, so Munguia will have to come very well prepared with all that he’s been learning under trainer Erik Morales. It also goes without saying that their styles are guaranteed to make for a fun fight for as long as it lasts.”
O’Sullivan (30-3, 21 KO) is a 35-year-old veteran from Cork, Ireland, and has had a solid career without ever really breaking through at a higher level. The three best opponents he’s faced — Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr, and David Lemieux — have all beaten him handily, and his best win probably came in 2017 against Antoine Douglas.
But what O’Sullivan does always do is come to fight, and he talks a good game ahead of time, too. He’s a charismatic guy with more gift of gab than most boxers of the modern age. If Munguia can fight at 160 and is what Golden Boy hope him to be at the new weight, then he should lose, but Munguia isn’t exactly invulnerable.
“For me it’s a dream come true to fight the undefeated champion of the world and the number one ranked fighter in the world,” said O’Sullivan. “It makes it even better that he’s Mexican. I grew up watching the great Mexican champions and to get the opportunity to fight Jaime is an honor. I will leave no stone unturned in my preparation for this fight. I can’t recall feeling more motivated by any other fight in my career thus far. I believe this fight will be a war that the fans will talk about for many years to come.”
“I feel very happy to be starting the year 2020 with a great fight at a great place like San Antonio, Texas,” said Munguia. “ have fought in Houston, Texas before, where the people there treated me very well. I think that San Antonio won’t be any different. We’re going to deliver a great fight against a tough fighter in Gary O’Sullivan. He’s great and he’s strong, but we’re going to come very well prepared. We plan to do an excellent job and make it very clear who is the best in the ring.”