Jaime Munguia (28-0, 24 KOs), the undefeated 154-pound contender of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, will step in to challenge Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. in a 12-round battle for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title on Saturday, May 12 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The co-main event will feature Rey Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs) and Azat "Crazy A" Hovhannisyan (14-2, 11 KOs) in a 12-round clash for the WBC Super Bantamweight World Title. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM ET/PT.
Munguia will replace Liam “Beefy” Smith, who was forced to pull out of the fight against Ali due to an illness. This 21-year-old puncher has ended 24 of his fights by knockout and will look to take advantage of his first world title opportunity as he returns to the United States for only the second time in his career.
“I want to thank everyone involved, but above all I thank Sadam Ali for the opportunity,” said Jaime Munguia. “Though all the criticisms made about me have motivated me to be where I am, I will show that they were all wrong. I will crown myself as world champion on May 12.”
Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, was unfazed by the change. The 29-year-old champion silenced his doubters by defeating Miguel Cotto via unanimous decision in Dec. 2017 to win the title he currently holds. Ali will look to defend his title in a battle against a young contender.
“I’m determined to defend my title for the first time on May 12,” said Sadam Ali. “It doesn’t matter who, and it doesn’t matter how. Jaime Munguia will have the opportunity of a lifetime when he fights me, but I’m walking away with my hand up in victory and the belt around my waist.”