First came the negotiations for a catchweight bout with Daniel Jacobs. Then Michael Zerafa chimed in to say he’d been offered the fight.
Now, Jaime Munguia’s next opponent has been revealed: Jimmy “Kilrain” Kelly, whom he’ll face at Anaheim’s Honda Center on June 11th.
You may recall Kelly (26-2, 10 KO) from his 2015 mauling at the hands of Liam Smith or his 2018 decision loss to Dennis Hogan. He spent most of the intervening time beating opponents with losing records, often in six-rounders, but secured his biggest career achievement this past February: a majority decision upset over a rusty, aging Kanat Islam.
It was enough to get him a top-10 spot in the WBO rankings, but he’s arguably Munguia’s (39-0, 30 KO) worst opponent since moving up from 154. I genuinely do not understand how this many so-called professionals can take an exciting, hard-punching young Mexican and completely squander every ounce of his star potential. Hell, he has a very winnable WBC final eliminator against Carlos Adames on the table right now and his team won’t pull the trigger.
Maybe Oscar’s rant about “letting” Canelo fight Bivol was a glimpse into the mindset at play.
“I am very excited to return to Anaheim and fight in front of all the fans against a high-quality English rival like Kelly,” said Munguia. “It won’t be an easy night, but we are preparing very hard. This new edition of Mexico vs England will be very exciting for all fight fans, and I am convinced that I will pass this test and be on my way to a world title soon!”
“As a child, I dreamt of fighting in America, that dream came true when I beat the undefeated Kanat Islam,” said Kelly. “Munguia is the number one guy at 160 lbs. To be the best, you need to beat the top fighters in the world. June 11 can’t come quick enough. Munguia is in for the fight of his life.”