Houston's night of fights

Boxing phenom Jaime Munguia puts his title on the line at Toyota Center

Jaime Munguia. Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Productions.

World championship boxing makes a rare stop in Houston on tonight with a pair of world title defenses on the line at Toyota Center. The card is packed with 14 fighters, but the star of the show is 22 year old Mexican phenom Jaime Munguia, who puts his World Boxing Organization junior middleweight title on the line in a defense against Takeshi Inoue.

Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) has stormed onto the championship boxing scene in the past 18 months. He was just 21 years old when he claimed the WBO title via a violent 4th round knockout of Sadam Ali in May of last year. Ali was scheduled to fight Liam Smith in thebout, but Munguia stepped in as a late replacement when Smith pulled out with an injury. Munguia dominated the action, scoring four knockdowns before the referee called a halt to the action in the fourth round. Following his impressive performance to win the title, Munguia won a unanimous decision against the aforementioned Liam Smith, and followed that up with a knockout of Brandon Cook in the 3rd round as the co-feature to the second Canelo/Golovkin fight. Munguia's pressure style will remind fight fans of a more unpolished Golovkin, stalking opponents, working behind the jab and landing thudding shots to the head and body.

Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs) has an undefeated record but is taking a big step up in competition. It will be his first fight outside of Asia, with 13 of 14 previous bouts coming in his native Japan. The betting odds reflect Inoue's unknown status; Munguia is a -9000 favorite to win the fight.

With such strong odds in his favor, Munguia's goal won't be just to win but to look good doing so. Promoter Oscar de la Hoya will look to continue Munguia's meteoric rise, and another early knockout will likely be what will continue that path forward. Inoue is not known as a puncher, so I would expect Munguia to be willing to take risks in order to close the show early. If you're headed to the Toyota Center don't be late to your seat, because the fireworks from Munguia are likely to start as soon as the opening bell rings.

UNDERCARD REPORT

The co-feature is another world championship matchup with Jesus Rojas defending his World Boxing Association featherweight title against Xu Can. Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs) lost his last fight to Joseph Diaz but retained his belt because Diaz failed to make weight. Xu (15-2, 2 KO) has won his last 12 fights, but has only scored one knockout in that period.
Also on the undercard is 20 year old prospect Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KOs.) He steps in what is to be a showcase fight with Jesus Valdez (23-4, 12 KOs.)

GET IN DAZN

If you're not headed out to Toyota Center, the fights will be streamed live on the app DAZN. The app (pronounced Da' Zone) is a subscription based service specializing in live boxing with plans of moving into other sports in the coming years. The service is $9.99 per month but a one month free trial is available. In recent months fighters like Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, and Jesse Vargas have signed contracts to fight on DAZN. The app also holds the rights to the World Boxing Super Series tournaments.

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