Boxing


Veteran Rogers Mtagwa Next For Juan Manuel Lopez

by James Slater - Less than three months on from his last fight, WBO super-bantamweight champion and possible megastar of the future Juan Manuel Lopez will be back in action. Back on June 27th, "Juanma" retained his world title and unbeaten record as he stopped the tricky Olivier Lontchi after 9 completed rounds, and on September 26th at Madison Square Garden, New York the 26-year-old southpaw will meet tough campaigner Rogers Mtagwa - the Tanzanian-born 30-year-old..

Keeping busy as he takes on all comers whist at the same time further building his name as he works his way towards his first super-fight (likely to be against fellow unbeaten, Yuriorkis Gamboa - the interim WBA featherweight champ who shares the September 26th card in New York), Lopez continues to thrill the fans.

What kind of fight can Lopez expect from the 26-12-2(18) warrior known as "The Tiger?"

Though his record is nothing to write home about with 12 losses, Mtagwa is a very durable fighter who has only even been stopped twice in a twelve year pro career. Making his debut at super-bantamweight or thereabouts, the 30-year-old has had most of his bouts up at featherweight. Winner of his last three, Mtagwa will be hoping to keep the momentum going in September. He faces an uphill task of the highest order.

Clearly out-pointed by the decent yet not-too special Billy Dib back in November of 2007, the Tanzanian who lives in Philadelphia was also stopped after 5-rounds against Orlando Salido the year before that (Mtagwa's other stoppage loss came via 8th-round TKO against Valdemir Pereira in January of 2004). Against the lethal-hitting Puerto Rican, Mtagwa will have to box the fight of his life to win.

Barring a huge upset, it won't happen. Lopez is being groomed for true superstardom and the 26-year-old who is 26-0(24) can seemingly do it all. Far from just a big puncher, Lopez is fast, he can box and he has superb conditioning and stamina. Shooting for the big fight against the equally impressive Gamboa up at 126-pounds, "Juanma" will not allow Mtagwa - a former holder of the NABF belt at featherweight - to spoil things.

As is always the case when Lopez is in action, a 1st-round KO cannot be ruled out in September. Yes, his next challenger is tough, but Lopez is that powerful that one mistake from any opponent and they can be taken out clean.

Making the fifth defence of the WBO strap he won in devastating fashion against Daniel Ponce de Leon back in June of last year, Lopez will get the job done inside six rounds. Hopefully, Gamboa, who faces an as yet TBA on the bill, will win also.

Article posted on 13.07.2009



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