Jaime Munguia knew he was due to step up in class.
That hasn’t stopped him from going about his business as he would for any other pro fight.
The unbeaten middleweight contender and former WBO junior middleweight titlist is locked in for his upcoming crossroads bout versus former title challenger Sergey Derevyanchenko, The two will meet in a scheduled 10-round bout above the middleweight limit atop a June 10 DAZN show from Toyota Arena in Ontario, California,
“Derevyanchenko is a tough fighter. He is someone who has gone to the ring and gone the distance with high profile fighters,” Munguia acknowledged during a recent open media workout at his training camp in Big Bear, California. “No one has been able to knock him [out] and I think this fight and a victory against Derevyanchenko will show everyone that I am ready for any challenge.”
Munguia (41-0, 33KOs) has caught criticism for the bulk of his competition he has faced since the end of his 154-pound title run and throughout his middleweight campaign. The 26-year-old Tijuana native was dragged through the mud after failing to enforce his mandatory challenger status with both the WBC and WBO, a move that has left fights on the table with Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade and—perhaps to a lesser degree—Janibek Alimkhanuly.
There was a concerted effort to secure a relevant name for his first fight of 2023 given the title fights and eliminators he previously bypassed.
Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10KOs) has long served as a top contender though his willingness to constantly face the best came at a cost. All four of his career losses came in a five fight span, including three separate middleweight title shots where he came up short versus Daniel Jacobs in their October 2018 IBF title fight between stabelmates, Gennadiy Golovkin for the same IBF belt in October 2019 and a September 2020 crack at Charlo’s WBC title.
A ten-round defeat to Carlos Adames in December 2021 ruined established plans for a Munguia-Derevyanchenko fight last year. Derevyanchenko has since returned to the win column with a ten-round decision over Joshua Conley last July 30. Still, of his four losses only the defeat to Charlo was convincing. He was competitive in losses to Jacobs and Adames, while some contend that he was unlucky to not get the nod versus Golovkin in their Fight of the Year-level slugfest.
The industry will likely treat the June 10 DAZN main event as a measuring stick performance for Munguia, though he sees it as just another night at the office.
“I am not very worried about what has happened in other fights that Derevyanchenko has been involved in,” insisted Munguia. “I do not feel pressure about knocking him out, but I do know that I am going to deliver a convincing victory. I know that I am going to go into the ring and do what I have to do to win.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox