Power-punching junior middleweight world titleholder Jaime Munguia will make his third defense, against mandatory challenger Takeshi Inoue, on Jan. 26 in the first fight of a new multiyear co-promotional deal Munguia and Zanfer Promotions signed with Golden Boy, the company announced on Monday.
Munguia and Inoue will meet at the Toyota Center in Houston in the main event of the first non-Canelo Alvarez card of the five-year deal Golden Boy signed with streaming service DAZN in October.
The card will also feature secondary featherweight world titlist Jesus Rojas defending against Xu Can in the co-feature.
Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs), 22, of Mexico, won the title by destructive fourth-round knockout of Sadam Ali in May as a late replacement. Munguia outpointed Liam Smith in a mandatory defense in July and then crushed Brandon Cook in the third round in September on the Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin II undercard.
After that fight, Golden Boy worked out a long-term partnership on Munguia's career with Zanfer.
"Jaime Munguia's stock rose as he headlined three of our cards last year, and he will only become an even bigger star because he is planning for a very busy 2019 on DAZN," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. "This event will also showcase some of our best talent as we continue to build the next generation of main event fighters."
Zanfer CEO Fernando Beltran had other options for Munguia, but Golden Boy came with a significant offer thanks to the money it has from its DAZN deal.
"It is an honor for Zanfer to have a strategic alliance with Golden Boy Promotions to continue to build Jaime's career," Beltran said. "It will be an unforgettable one."
Munguia was selected to headline the first Golden Boy card on DAZN of 2019 because the date falls just outside the 30-day free subscription window DAZN offered ahead of Alvarez's fight with Rocky Fielding this past Saturday. The companies hope that members of Alvarez's Mexican fan base who subscribed will keep their subscriptions in order to watch Munguia, Mexico's most exciting young titleholder and a fighter who figures to eventually move up to middleweight and get a shot at Alvarez.
"I'm thankful and happy with how my career went in 2018, but I'm hungrier and more excited than ever," Munguia said. "I want to prove myself against the best. Takeshi Inoue is a warrior. Japanese fighters leave everything in the ring, and Inoue is no exception. His style will complement mine and will make for a great fight. I will put on a show for all my fans and thank you again for all your support."
Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs), 29, has fought all but one of his bouts in his native Japan, with one in Thailand. He will challenge Munguia as a relative unknown with no notable opponents on his record but is excited for the biggest fight, by far, of his career.
"I am pleased to be able to challenge for a world title. It is a dream come true," Inoue said. "I have experience fighting abroad, and I am excited and confident that I will win this fight. Munguia is a powerful fighter with heavy hands, endurance and technique. To prepare for a fighter like this, I have trained hard and in depth on technique and endurance. I have sparred long, hard rounds, so that I will be able to win even if it goes to a decision. I am highly motivated and mentally focused. Boxing fans can expect a great fight."
Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs), 31, of Puerto Rico, won an interim title by seventh-round knockout of Claudio Marrero in September 2017 and was eventually elevated to a full titleholder. He made his first defense against Joseph Diaz Jr. on Aug. 11 and lost a unanimous decision. However, Rojas still has the title because Diaz was overweight for the fight.
Can (15-2, 2 KOs), 24, of China, who will be fighting in the United States for the second time in a row, has won 12 consecutive fights since a defeat in 2014.