Alberto Machado, Rey Vargas to defend their world titles on same card

Boxing


Junior lightweight world titleholder Alberto Machado and junior featherweight world titlist Rey Vargas will defend their belts on the same card next month, Golden Boy Promotions announced Friday.

Machado will make his third defense when he faces Andrew Cancio in the main event and Vargas will make his fourth defense against Franklin Manzanilla in the co-feature on Feb. 9 (DAZN) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, where Golden Boy regularly puts on shows.

Machado (21-0, 17 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Puerto Rico who is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, is coming off an impressive first-round knockout of Yuandale Evans on Oct. 27 and is eager to get back to work.

“I am very hungry to go to Los Angeles and start camp for Andrew Cancio,” said Machado, who is co-promoted by Golden Boy and Miguel Cotto Promotions. “Cancio is a great warrior with good experience and will come very hungry, but I will prepare myself responsibly as he is a great challenge for my career. A victory over him will take me further to what I want to achieve in this sport. This will be the third defense of my title, and now I am going in with more experience. I look forward to retaining my championship and returning to Puerto Rico as a world champion.”

Cancio (19-4-2, 14 KOs), 30, of Ventura, California, who recently re-signed with Golden Boy, will be a huge underdog but will get the chance in front of a home region crowd. He has won two fights in a row since a ninth-round knockout of Joseph Diaz Jr. in September 2016.

“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to fight for a world title,” Cancio said. “I’ve watched many of Alberto Machado’s fights and know how great of a fighter he is. However, I’ve already started training and will be well prepared on Feb. 9 to win the world title in front of my fans at Fantasy Springs who have always been so very supportive.”

Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs), 28, of Mexico, has been out of action since May, when he won a unanimous decision against Azat Hovhannisyan, because of a shoulder injury that required surgery and a bout of pneumonia.

“Franklin Manzanilla is a complete fighter,” Vargas said. “He’s tough and goes forward, but he also knows how to box. He’s a strong fighter, and he showed that by defeating Julio Ceja in four rounds to earn the right to fight for a world title. Manzanilla also hits hard. I’ve seen this, and his record indicates that as well. However, I also believe he has some deficiencies in his defense, and that’s what we’re going to try to take advantage of in this fight. Lastly, I invite all the people to watch this fight because it’s going to be a war, and God willing I will walk away with my hand raised high.”

Manzanilla (18-4, 17 KOs), 30, of Venezuela, stopped Ceja in his last fight in May to put himself in position for the title fight. The fight with Vargas will be Manzanilla’s first in the United States.

“I’m training very hard to be well prepared,” Manzanilla said. “However, we still haven’t even begun the hard stages of preparation that will have us in excellent condition to give everything in the ring. Rey Vargas is a great fighter who is always well prepared for his fights. He throws a lot of punches, which means we have to be double prepared for this bout. It’s going to be a great fight, and I invite everyone to watch it because they will witness a great upset and will get to know Franklin Manzanilla, a fighter who is preparing physically and mentally to become the new world champion.”

Diaz (27-1, 14 KOs), 26, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, will face Charles Huerta (20-5, 12 KOs), 32, of Paramount, California, in a 10-round junior lightweight fight on the undercard. Diaz, who lost a decision to featherweight world titlist Gary Russell Jr. in May, has won his only fight since but is moving up to 130 pounds to test out the weight division.



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