ONTARIO, Calif. – Sergiy Derevyanchenko walked into enemy territory and almost stole the show Saturday night by nearly beating Jaime Munguia.
Of the 7,647 fans who packed the Toyota Arena, almost all of them were there to see the Tijuana, Mexico native beat the Ukrainian.
What ensued, however, was a surprising and seesaw super middleweight slugfest that will land on the shortlist for the fight of the year contender once the year comes to an end.
Up a point on two of the three judge’s scorecards, the three-time title challenger Derevyanchenko had the fight slip through his hands when he suffered a 12th-round knockdown due to a body shot.
“I feel good. I feel great. I think it was a close fight. I think I won. I was controlling every round. I won [at least] eight rounds. I want the rematch,” Derevyanchenko said in his post-fight press conference. “I saw he was tired [later in the fight]. But he's a tough fighter. He recovered and came back. I'm not sad, really, because I know I won the fight. I felt that I won because the crowd was cheering for me. I respect that. I fight for the people.”
Derevyanchenko (14-5, 10 KOs) made it clear from the onset that he wasn’t going to just simply fold against Munguia (42-0, 33 KOs), going tit for tat with the former 154-pound champion, masterfully countering and pushing the pace as needed.
But in a script that has become far too similar for Derevyanchenko, he was on the wrong end of yet another close decision.
“The game plan was being followed accordingly until the very moment he got knocked down. I thought he pulled it out,” said Derevyanchenko trainer Andre Rozier. “He had really banked a lot of rounds. It was a fantastic fight. It was close but my charge was definitely the victor. I'm very proud of him. He's had nothing but tough ones. He seems to be the bridesmaid instead of the bride because we don't seem to be on the side of the decision we'd like to be. But nonetheless, he's like the people's champ, and I am truly proud of what he did.”
The 37-year-old Derevyanchenko dropped to 2-5 in his last seven fights dating back to 2018, but he made it clear that he will continue fighting.
Derevyanchenko has previously lost a split decision to Daniel Jacobs in 2018, a highly competitive barnburner and unanimous decision to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2019, and a majority decision to Carlos Adames in 2021. Derevyanchenko also held his own and won a handful of rounds against Jermall Charlo in 2020.
Derevyanchenko said Munguia’s power did not stack up to his previous opponents.
“Seriously, Golovkin and Charlo are stronger punchers,” said Derevyanchenko.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.