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Roman Gonzalez ready for world title shot in February

Roman Gonzalez

By Dan Ambrose: Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KOs) won his first fight in 15 months last Monday in beating Diomel Diocos 14-6-3, 4 KOs) by a 2nd round knockout at the Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Although the 32-year-old former four division world champion ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez looked good in the fight, it was still just his 2nd round in the last two years since 2017.

Gonzalez is now ready to challenge one of the following super flyweight world champions in February 2020:

  • Kazuto Ioka – WBO
  • Khalid Yafai – WBA
  • Juan Francisco Estrada – WBC

Chocolatito’s options for world title shot

Khalid Yafai

2008 Olympian Yafai (26-0, 15 KOs) has a mandatory due in the first half of 2020, and he’ll likely be defending against Andrew Moloney. The 30-year-old Yafai has wanted a fight against Chocolatito for a while now, and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing has wanted that fight as well. A win for Yafai over Gonzalez would greatly increase his popularity in the UK, even though Chocolatito is no longer in his prime. Just fighting Gonzalez would attract a huge amount of interest in the UK, and it would make Yafai a lot of money.

You have to believe that Khalid’s promoter Hearn will work extra hard to get the World Boxing Association to give him permission to make the fight with Gonzalez, because this might be their only chance. If Gonzalez loses his next fight or if he win a world title, he might not ever face Yafai.

Kazuto Ioka

WBO champion Ioka (24-2 14 KOs) has a fight scheduled this month against#1 WBO Jeyvier Cintron (11-0, 5 KOs), and it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to return to the ring quickly to face Gonzalez in February.

That would be a quick turnaround for Ioka, and there’s no telling whether he’ll even win that fight. Cintron, 24, is an excellent fighter, and there’s a good chance he beats the 30-year-old Ioka.

Just last December, Ioka lost to Donnie Nietes by a 12 round split decision. Ioka came back quickly to capture the vacant WBO 115-lb title in beating Aston Palicte by a 10th round knockout last June. Nietes had vacated the WBO belt in oder to move up to 118.

Juan Francisco Estrada

Gonzalez’s best chance of fighting for a world title would be against the 29-year-old WBC super flyweight champion Estrada (40-3, 27 KOs), because he doesn’t have a fight scheduled right now. Moreover, Estrada has a loss to Chocolatito from 2012 when he was beaten by a close 12 round decision. A rematch between the two would be huge, and it’s one that Estrada’s promoter Hearn would be eager to make.

Estrada has won 14 out of his last 15 fights since his loss to Chocolatito in 2012. The only defeat that Estrada has on his record since 2012 was a 12 round decision loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last year. Estrada came back and avenged the loss recently in beating Rungvisai by a 12 round unanimous decision last April. Rungvisai is the same fighter that TWICE beat Gonzalez in 2017.

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