Miguel Berchelt returns with a KO win, successfully defends WBC junior lightweight title
Miguel Berchelt succesfully defended his WBC junior lightweight title a second time, after blowing out Maxwell Awuku in the third round, on Saturday night. The fight was the main event of a Zanfer Promotions card televised on beIN Español from the Plaza del Toros in Cancun, Mexico.
Coming off a seven-month layoff due to an injured right hand, Berchelt, 33-1 (29), showed no signs of ring rust in his homecoming and left no reservations about the health of his power punch. His right hand is what started Awuku’s downfall midway through the third round, when it caught the Ghanaian’s chin for the fight’s first knockdown. Thirty seconds later, Awuku, willing to engage, desperately tried to turn the tables by landing his power left but Berchelt’s short shots sent him to his knees, after a flurry against the ropes. Berchelt went for the kill before the round ended and, by backing Awuku to the ropes once again with his right, referee Hector Afu stepped in to call it a night at the 2:46 mark.
Awuku, 44-4-1 (30), was the third opponent announced for Berchelt on this date and, on two weeks notice, made his North American debut. He wasn’t even in the WBC junior lightweight rankings but, in the first couple of rounds, helped create a solid action fight, with very little clinching or entanglement. The southpaw kept up with Berchelt’s fine footwork around the ring but once he felt a clean sting from “El Alacran,” he fell apart.
Berchelt, 26, looked sharp in his return and is one of the top guys currently in the junior lightweight class that might soon lose two-division champion Vasyl Lomachenko to the lightweight division. Kenichi Ogawa (IBF) and Alberto Machado (WBA) are the remaining titleholders at 130 pounds but Miguel “Mickey” Roman, who stopped Aristedes Perez in four, on the same evening in Juarez, may be Berchelt’s next mandatory opponent set by the WBC.
In the televised undercard, Jaime Munguia knocked out Jose Paz with a tremendous body shot in the third round to remain undefeated. The junior middleweight contest was scheduled for ten.
A young Tijuana prospect nearing contention, Munguia, 21, gave another example of his punching power in his latest outing and has now knocked out 17 of his last 18 opponents. Munguia dazed Paz with a right hand just before the fateful body shot in the third and, with his Argentinean counterpart stuck in the mud, unleashed a textbook left hook to the gut. Paz, 21-7-1 (12), immediately fell to his knees in pain and, even with the bell signifying the end of the round looming, took the 10-count on bended knee. The fight was officially stopped at the 2:59 mark of the third.
Munguia, 27-0 (23), won a WBC regional junior middleweight trinket with the victory and is surely to move up in the WBC rankings after cracking the Top 15 last month.
In a return bout from his first defeat, junior welterweight Pedro Campa, 28-1 (19), earned a unanimous decision win over Ivan Alvarez, 27-9 (19).