Reymundo Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) will this weekend look to stave off the challenge of former world champion Jose Pedraza (24-1-0, 12 KOs) in surroundings where he will find home comforts.
Mexican native Beltran lived for many years in Phoenix will defend his WBO crown in neighbouring Glendale, Arizona on a fight card which will also feature Isaac Dogboe’s title defence against Hidenori Okate as a co-feature.
“I’m living the dream,” said Beltran “It feels great to be a world champion. I am very motivated to defend my title, and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home”
“Pedraza is a very skilful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us, but I’m not just fighting for the belt, I’m also fighting to keep it in Phoenix and my birthplace of Los Mochis, Mexico. This belt represents my family’s future, and it’s going nowhere”
Beltran took the vacant title in his decision win over Paulus Moses in February, gaining a title which he was controversially robbed of in his draw with Ricky Burns in Scotland before his second attempt was more one-sided in his decision loss to Terence Crawford.
Jose Pedraza took his world title at the first time of asking at Super Featherweight, decisioning Andrey Klimov before defending the title against Edner Cherry and the UK’s Stephen Smith before coming up short in his stoppage loss to Gervonta Davis in January 2017.
Since then a move to Lightweight was sought with wins over Jose Luis Rodriguez and Antonio Moran meaning a smooth transition, opening the door for a shot at the title and Reymundo Beltran this weekend.
The Co-Feature will see the return of Ghanian born, London resident Isaac Dogboe (19-0-0 13 KOs) who exploded into the consensus of boxing fans in his incredible stoppage win over Jesse Magdaleno which at the time was quite the upset (If you weren’t in the know of the talents of Dogboe)
He had held the Interim title up until that moment, beating Cesar Juarez in his country of birth but it was the win over Magdaleno which gained him the reputation as one of the lightweights best coinciding with the fact that the win ensured his name into the Ghanian record books as the countries youngest ever world champion.
Presented with the stiff task for his first defence in Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs) who is coming into the contest on the back of a nine fight winning streak, Dogboe is undeterred by the challenge.
“I am not taking anything away from Hidenori Otake, but I will knock him out … there’s no doubt it,” Dogboe told KweséESPN
“I know he is a fighter avoided by many champions, but the thing with us [Team Dogboe] is that the champions others are willing to avoid are the people we want to fight.
“He hasn’t lost a fight in four years; nine fights in four years, five of them coming by way of knockout. The guy is a compact fighter, a very strong fighter, and we are not taking him lightly, but everything is going on smoothly. I feel great.
“I am calm and only thinking of how to execute the fight plan because come August 25, we will be out there to set Arizona ablaze.”
“Otake is a strong, credible fighter and, like I said, many champions have been running away from him. We believe there’s a real challenge — he stands in the way of me having my unification fight with other world champions — but regardless of what comes up, we will get through it and come out with victory.
Otake defended his OPBF Super Bantamweight crown in March against Brian Lobetania and it’s been a long time since the Japnese fighter has tasted defeat, the last coming against Scott Quigg way back in 2014, this will be just the second time that he has competed outside the comforts of Japan.
“I’ve watched Dogboe’s last three fights and noticed how he likes to always assert himself by coming forward. I’ll watch and control the distance.”
“I understand that this is my last chance at a title shot. I don’t feel any pressure about this fact but am instead motivated.”