WBC title shot in Magdaleno’s future

Diego Magdaleno believed he would be fighting for a world title this year. After moving up in the WBC rankings, he might be right.

The unbeaten NABF super featherweight champion from Las Vegas last week was listed as the WBC’s No. 1 contender. That doesn’t mean Magdaleno (22-0, eight knockouts) immediately will get a mandatory title shot against champion Takahiro Aoh of Japan, but it means Aoh eventually will have to fight him.

“I think the big thing for me right now is to stay true to myself and keep training harder,” said Magdaleno, 25, who is ranked No. 2 by the WBA, No. 5 by the WBO and No. 10 by the IBF. “I’m not a guy who jumps for joy. When I got the news (about the WBC ranking), I celebrated by going on a six-mile run. That’s when I’m happiest – working in the gym or running to stay in shape.”

Magdaleno is rumored to be a candidate for a spot on Top Rank’s card July 14 at Cowboys Stadium, where Juan Manuel Marquez is expected to headline. But Top Rank president Todd du Boef said while Arlington, Texas, is an option for Magdaleno, he would prefer to keep him in Las Vegas for his next fight, possibly as the headliner on an Aug. 4 card at Texas Station.

“We need to keep him active and sharp,” du Boef said. “We’re looking at getting him a fight in July or August.”

Magdaleno last fought March 23, stopping Fernando Beltran in the seventh round of a 10-round NABF fight at Tucson, Ariz. Magdaleno had grown accustomed to fighting four or five times a year, so the lighter workload is a major adjustment.

“I’m so used to staying busy in the ring,” he said. “But my goal is to win a world title, and if that means fewer fights for me to get there, so be it.

“I’m just trying to work on things in the gym, polish everything up so when it comes time for me to fight, I’m ready to go. I don’t want any slippage. I’ve got to stay on point.”

■ JESSE’S NEXT FIGHT – Unbeaten super bantamweight Jesse Magdaleno, Diego’s younger brother, is training for a June 8 bout against Carlos Valcarcel at the Hard Rock Hotel.

It’s an important step for Magdaleno (8-0, five KOs) because it’s his first scheduled eight-round fight. He also will be on the ESPN-televised portion of the card, which features former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in the 10-round super middleweight main event against Scott Sigmon.

“I’m excited,” Magdaleno said. “It’s time to step up and take on a new challenge.”

Magdaleno is coming off a sensational first-round knockout of Nick Fast in Pomona, Calif., on April 28. Valcarcel is 14-4-4 with five KOs.

■ PETERSON HEARING – Lamont Peterson has been granted an opportunity to go before the Nevada Athletic Commission and explain the positive drug test that led to the cancellation of Saturday’s junior welterweight title fight against Amir Khan at Mandalay Bay.

Peterson, the WBA and IBF champ, tested positive April 12 for synthetic testosterone, which is a banned substance by the NAC. His “B” sample also came back positive, leading to the cancellation of the fight because it was unlikely he would be licensed by the NAC.

Peterson’s case is expected to be on the agenda for the NAC meeting tentatively scheduled June 13.

■ REMEMBERING RICE – Funeral services were Thursday for Greg Rice, who served as an inspector for the NAC in Northern Nevada for 11 years. Rice died May 11 in Reno after suffering a heart attack. He was 77.

Rice had trained fighters and worked with several pros, most notably James Toney. He coached the UNR boxing team for 22 years and worked for the commission from 2001 until his death. He is survived by his wife, Jan, and daughters Colleen and Shannon.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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