Jaime Munguia’s new fight date and opponent now comes complete with a confirmed supporting cast.
Seven fights will grace the undercard of the April 23 show at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. Headlining the event live on DAZN, Tijuana’s Munguia faces unbeaten D’Mitrius Ballard (20-0-1, 13KOs), who replaces an injured Maciej Sulecki in the scheduled 12-round middleweight affair.
Topping the televised undercard, heavyweight prospect Arslanbek ‘The Lion’ Makhmudov (11-0, 11KOs) looks to extend his perfect knockout-to-win ratio. The 6’5 ½” Montreal-based Russian faces Dominican Republic’s Nagy Aguilera (21-10, 14KOs) in a scheduled 10-round regional title fight.
“The Lion is coming to destroy everyone in the heavyweight division,” simply stated Makhmudov, who is coming off of a 1st round knockout win over Dillon Carman last October in Shawinigan, Canada.
The bout will mark his first in the United States.
“Arslanbek Makhmudov is perhaps the most dangerous fighter in the heavyweight division,” Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy said of the heavyweight prospect. “We are very proud to be working with our partners at Eye of The Tiger Management as we enter a new phase in Makhmudov’s career, one which will see him become a world champion and dominate the biggest names of this weight class.”
Aguilera faces an extreme uphill battle but is game for the challenge and is coming off of a win. The 34-year-old Dominican journeyman—now based out Newburgh, New York—scored a six-round decision victory over Terrell Jamal Woods last November in his first fight since 2017 and enters this fight with upset on his mind.
''The time off really helped me heal,” Aguilera of his three-year absence prior to returning last fall. “People don't know I had a lot of injuries in my career but no excuses. I always showed up to fight. I am coming to win. I’m not coming to lay down.''
The evening’s lone title fight sees Mexico’s Ibeth Zamora (32-6, 12KOs) put her WBC flyweight belt on the line versus 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (9-1, 1KOs).
"I am so excited for this world title defense against Marlen Esparza,” said Zamora, a two-division titlist who aims to make the third defense of the flyweight title she won in May 2018. “It will be my first fight in the United States, so this is a great chance to show everybody what I am capable of by fighting on a massive stage on a Golden Boy event live on DAZN.
“I´m proud to bring my title and defend it against a fighter with Esparza’s experience. I am fully confident that my skills will help me come out on top, and I will prove to everybody why I am the WBC reigning flyweight champion and the best in the division.”
Esparza enters her first career title fight riding a two-fight win streak. The Houston native overcame a Nov. 2019 points loss to Seniesa Estrada (20-0, 8KOs; now a strawweight champion) to outpoint previously unbeaten Sulem Urbina last October, also in supporting capacity to Munguia’s last ring appearance in a 7th round stoppage of Tureano Johnson.
Most recently, Esparza earned a six-round decision win over Shelly Barnett this past March in a bantamweight fight. The 31-year-old contender took the fight to remain active as well as support her 2012 U.S. Olympic teammate Claressa Shields in her first Pay-Per-View headliner.
Now comes the chance to join the two-time Olympic Gold medalist and three-division champion in winning a major title in the pro ranks.
“I’m excited,” said Esparza. “It has been a dream and vision of mine to fight representing the WBC. I want people to see another great fight. I’m proud to be on the stage again with a great fighter, and I know there are a limited amount of major women’s fights, so I’m honored to have this opportunity.
“I am training hard and I am bringing my best. I can't wait for the opening bell!”
Rounding out the four-fight DAZN main telecast, Las Vegas’ Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (14-0-1, 9 KOs) faces Philippines’ James Bacon (26-4, 17 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight clash.
Per Golden Boy Promotions, the following five bouts will air live on the company’s official Facebook page:
Ferdinand Kerobyan (14-0-1, 9 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. versus Brad Solomon (29-3, 9 KOs) of Douglasville, Georgia in a scheduled 10-round welterweight contest;
Irish prospect Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (11-0, 7 KOs) versus Carlos Ortiz (12-5, 12 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico in an eight-round middleweight affair;
Unbeaten welterweight Evan Sanchez (8-0, 6 KOs) returns in a six-round bout versus an opponent to be named;
Chicago’s Chris “Milly” Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) faces Florida’s Sanny Duversonne (11-3-2, 8 KOs) in a six-round junior middleweight fight;
Baltimore’s Yahu Blackwell (3-1, 2 KOs) faces an opponent to be determined in a scheduled six-round heavyweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox