Junior featherweight contender Cesar Juarez has arrived in Accra, Ghana, hoping that when he leaves the African nation next week for the long flight back to Mexico that he will need an extra bag to transport a title belt.
Juarez is in Accra on business. He is scheduled to face hometown fighter Isaac Dogboe for a vacant interim 122-pound world title on Saturday (beIN Sports Espanol) at the Bukom Boxing Arena in the first notable boxing match of 2018.
"I know what this fight means to me and what a great opportunity this is to realize my dream of becoming a world champion," Juarez said. "I will take full advantage of this opportunity and bring back the championship to Mexico and to everyone that has always believed in me. I will leave everything in the ring to win this fight."
Juarez had been due for a mandatory fight against world titleholder Jessie Magdaleno on Nov. 11 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, on the undercard of a Top Rank ESPN card. However, Magdaleno pulled out claiming that he had a wrist injury.
So the interim title bout was sanctioned and Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs), of Las Vegas, will be obligated to eventually face the Juarez-Dogboe winner, though Magdaleno could first fight on the March 10 Top Rank ESPN card.
For Juarez (20-5, 15 KOs), 26, the fight with Dogboe will be his second chance to fight for a title. In December 2015, he gave then-junior featherweight world titlist Nonito Donaire a very tough fight but ultimately lost a unanimous decision in one of that year's most exciting fights.
Juarez said whether he had to go to Fresno or Accra, he would go anywhere in the world for the opportunity to fight for a title.
"I have proven in my career that I will fight anyone anywhere, anytime, and while I get ducked all the time, I have no problem going to my opponent's home to fight," Juarez said. "I have the preparation, the talent and the heart to beat anyone in my division, and I will prove it against Dogboe.
"This is nothing new for me. I was never in the hands of a promoter that protected me, so I know that I have to go in there and look for the knockout from the first bell to the last as I want no surprises with a bad decision. I am ready for war, and that's what I want to deliver to the fans, a fight that they will remember for a long time."
Dogboe (17-0, 11 KOs), 23, has knocked out three of his past four opponents but will be facing the most notable foe of his pro career, which began in 2013.