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Jaime Munguia and Gary O’Sullivan ready for Jan. 11 battle in San Antonio

The fighters met up in San Antonio for a press conference to formally announce their fight.

Ron Cortes-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Former WBO junior middleweight titleholder Jaime Munguia had a breakthrough 2018 followed by a rockier 2019, and now he heads into 2020 ready to kick things off on Jan. 11 with new challenges in a new weight class, moving up to 160 pounds to face Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in San Antonio, live on DAZN.

Munguia (34-0, 27 KO) and O’Sullivan (30-3, 21 KO) met up on Tuesday in San Antonio to formally announce the fight.

“I’m excited to be moving up to 160 lbs. where they say that some of the most important fighters in boxing are. I have a very tough fighter in front of me, Gary O’Sullivan who’s very tough. If I want those bigger fights then I have to demonstrate that I’m worthy of that against this guy, so I have to do my best in order to rise up in the rankings. I look forward to delivering a great fight for Mexico.”

“Jaime Munguia is a great fighter, I’m very motivated by this challenge; he’s a young world champion, undefeated,” said O’Sullivan. “For many, this is the stuff of dreams to come to his own backyard and fight the undefeated champion of the world. I’ve never felt the more motivated in my whole career. I look forward to putting on a show for Jan. 11. I’m going to prepare very hard for this fight, harder than ever, and come Jan. 11 I’ll be ready for war.”

Munguia’s trainer Erik Morales, who will be cornering the young star for the second time, admits that Munguia still has work to do.

“It’s a great honor to be training Jaime Munguia because he’s the new face of boxing, he’s a very young talented fighter,” Morales said. “He gives everything in the ring, and he concentrates 100 percent at what he does. For me it’s also a big challenge because he is a novice who has to work on a lot of things and we have to prepare for a very tough opponent. We have to make a lot of fixes and changes; the goal is to one day fight big fights against big fighters and we have a lot of things to work on before that.”

O’Sullivan’s trainer Paschal “Packy” Collins says he and Spike have been watching Munguia closely for a while now, figuring they may someday get a crack at the young Mexican star. Collins also spoke about Munguia’s controversial win in April of this year over Dennis Hogan.

“Dennis pushed him close and if the fight wasn’t in Mexico, if Jaime wasn’t the champ, maybe Dennis would have gotten the decision that night,” Collins said. “What it did do was it showed some flaws in in Jaime Munguia. I’m not going to sit here and trash talk because he’s a young fighter, for a guy his age to have so many fights at war level, it’s mind boggling. What Jaime shows me is that he’s strong, he’s very fit when he fights, he comes for it and loves a tear up. For a trainer, it makes it easier to come up with tactics to fight someone like Jaime.

Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez believes the fight can serve as a valuable step for Munguia toward the bigger names at 160.

“It’s a new division for Jaime Munguia as he vacated his title and moved up to middleweight,” he said. “He wants to challenge all the big champions like Canelo, Golovkin, so it’s going to be a very exciting time for him. It all starts with Spike O’Sullivan who is a very tough customer himself, and he wants to upset Munguia and prove that he belongs. This fight will be a classic Mexico vs Ireland war.”

Zanfer’s Fernando Beltran, who co-promotes Munguia with Golden Boy, also believes the fight will bring action for the fans.

“We respect O’Sullivan a lot, we have seen him fight before, he went the distance with Billy Joe Saunders and knows how to fight,” Beltran said. “He’s a very a great fighter. It’s going to be an interesting fight between both guys. We’re bringing two fighters who come to fight. Their faces will be different after they walk out of the ring. These guys are really going to come to each other, and we know we’re going to see a sensational bout of boxing. That really motivates me. We know this is a very big step because if Jaime wants to be in the top middleweight, he needs to pass this test.”

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