Diego Magdaleno finally got his wish. The unbeaten Las Vegan will get to fight for a world title, and he doesn’t mind going halfway around the world for the opportunity.
Magdaleno will fight WBO super featherweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez in a 12-round bout April 6 at The Venetian Macau Resort.
Magdaleno, 26, is 23-0 with nine knockouts. Martinez, 30, from Puerto Rico, is 26-1-2 with 16 KOs. He won the vacant belt in September with a split decision over Miguel Beltran Jr. at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Top Rank card also will feature a title fight between WBO flyweight champ Brian Viloria and Juan Francisco Estrada, as well as the professional debut of Chinese junior flyweight Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
“Everyone’s excited,” Magdaleno said. “I’ve been so disappointed so many times before. But now the contract has been signed, I’m going to get my chance and I’m going to bring that belt home to Vegas.”
Magdaleno has pursued a world title shot since winning the NABF belt in 2011, and his path to a fight against Martinez contained some road blocks.
On Jan. 19, Martinez retained his title in a 12-round draw against Juan Carlos Burgos in New York. Burgos protested the result to the WBO, demanding a rematch. The WBO said no, clearing the way for Magdaleno, the No. 1 contender.
“With boxing’s politics, you never know,” Magdaleno said. “But Mr. (Bob) Arum promised me there wasn’t going to be a rematch and I would get my shot, and he was right.”
Magdaleno said he is glad the fight is at a neutral site, rather than in Puerto Rico.
“I think it’s a level playing field,” he said. “But if he insisted on fighting in Puerto Rico, I still would’ve taken the fight.”
Magdaleno last fought Aug. 4, stopping Antonio Davis in the fourth round of a 10-round bout at Texas Station. His ring absence reached eight months because of a left hand injury that forced Magdaleno to pull out of a Dec. 7 fight against Adailton De Jesus.
Magdaleno, back to full-contact training at Barry’s Boxing, said he’ll be ready to go 12 rounds with Martinez.
“I’ve been staying in shape the whole time,” he said. “My hand feels great, and there’s no issues. I’m anxious to get to work.”
Magdaleno initially was going to fight a 10-round tuneup on the undercard of the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch March 30 at Mandalay Bay. He’ll happily bypass that bout for a chance to realize his lifelong dream in his first fight outside the United States.
“It’s a whole new experience,” Magdaleno said. “But I’m willing to go anywhere in order to win a (world) title. I’m going to go in there, be the smarter fighter, outbox him and take his belt.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.