With just 2½ weeks to go until Miguel Berchelt is scheduled to defend his junior lightweight world title, he finally got an opponent on Tuesday.
Berchelt will defend his 130-pound belt against Carlo Magali of the Philippines on Feb. 10, Zanfer Promotions announced. The fight will take place at the Oasis Arena in Berchelt’s hometown of Cancun, Mexico, and will be televised on beIN Sports Espanol in the United States.
Berchelt was originally supposed to make his second title defense against former two-time junior bantamweight world titleholder and countryman Cristian Mijares, but unspecified issues with the contract arose between the promoters, causing the change in opponents. Berchelt took the change in stride.
“I’m ready for whoever,” Berchelt said. “I’m ready to make my second defense before my people, fulfilling my dream. I know that my challenger will come out with everything, like every Filipino, ready to die on the ring. But I’ll be ready for whatever he brings. The important thing is to win and provide a great show.”
The fight will be Berchelt’s first in his hometown since 2011.
Magali (23-9-3, 12 KOs), 31, will be fighting in his seventh country. Magali has won three bouts in a row, but he also will be taking a big step up in opposition level.
His most notable fight had a tragic outcome. In 2015, Magali traveled to Ingleburn, Australia, where he knocked out Davey Browne in the 12th round, and Browne died from brain injuries four days later.
“It’s a dream opportunity, which I could not turn down,” Magali said of landing the title shot. “Fortunately, I’m always in the gym, and I know who Berchelt is. He’s very good for my style, and we’re going to bring the world title back to the Philippines.”
Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs), 26, won the belt by 11th-round knockout of Francisco Vargas last January and retained it by lopsided decision over former titlist Takashi Miura in July.