War at Fantasy Springs

Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura On Another Collision Course


By Igor Frank

I was ringside at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas when Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura stole the show from Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Miguel Cotto. They staged a breathtaking battle with a dramatic ending which was later named the Fight of the Year in 2015.

Vargas and Miura are set to co- headline an HBO televised boxing show on January 28th, 2017 from Fantasy Springs Hotel and Casino in Indio, California. Francisco Vargas (23-0-2,17 KOs) will defend WBC World super featherweight title that he peeled from Miura in 2015 against little known Mexican knock out machine, Miguel Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs). Japanese warrior Takashi Miura (30-3-2, 23 KOs) is set to face off against Mexican veteran, Miguel Roman (56-11,43 KOs) in a co-feature.

Is this a prelude to a rematch? It certainly looks that way.

Vargas padded his Fight of the Year in 2015 with another Fight of the Year in 2016. It was an encore performance against fellow Mexican slugger, Orlando Salido. Both staged an epic battle in front of a pumped up crowd at the Stub Hub Center also known as War Grounds. A savage back and forth brawl ended in a draw which was a fitting conclusion and allowed Vargas to keep his championship belt. That belt, the WBC world title in super featherweight division, will be on the line when Vargas squares off against Berchelt.  With 27 knockouts in his professional dossier Berchelt brings enough fire power to this encounter to make it very intriguing.

“Boxing fans know what to expect every time I step into the ring – and that is a war,” said Vargas, 32:”I am aware of my opponents knock out power, but he’s never faced a true world champion, and I am confident I will come out on top.”

His opponent, Berchelt, who is seven years Vargas’s junior has other ideas. He said “I am going to shock the boxing world on January 28th. This is the opportunity I have been looking forward to.”

Former Mexican Olympian “El Bandito” Vargas has demonstrated his ability to box, but it wasn’t his boxing skills that captured the hearts of his fans. It was his super human determination to win and unyielding fighting spirit that captured our imagination. Following two savage brawls where Vargas seemingly left a part of him in the ring, and considering that his style of fighting is not conducive to longevity, is the 32 year old champion ready to be dethroned by a younger and fresher challenger? The answer will have to wait till January 28th.


Takashi Miura rebounded from his devastating knockout loss to Vargas with a nice knockout win over Philippine contender Jimmy Borbon.

“I was very disappointed when I lost to Vargas,” said Miura:” but I have re-dedicated myself and am excited to begin my journey towards winning back my title.”

The Japanese warrior is aching for redemption. He can’t sleep at night thinking about it.

Remembering that memorable November night in Las Vegas I understand why. After a very rough start Miura took control of the fight by landing clean, hard shots that hurt and busted up Vargas. Miura dropped Vargas at the end of the fourth with a straight left hand. After eight rounds it looked like the Mexican challenger was done. Bloody with the eyes swollen and almost shut, Vargas came out for the 9th stanza and landed another devastating right hand that ended the night for Miura.

If only Miura would have caught that right hand the outcome of the fight would have been different. At least the Japanese warrior is dying to find out. Standing in his way to a much coveted rematch is a Mexican veteran Miguel Roman (56-11, 43 KOs) who has scored more knockouts than Miura has pro fights.

Would this cold January night in the desert go according to the script? I can’t wait to find out.


Contact Igor Frank at axident@pacbell.net or via Twitter (Fightmonger)