It’s official, Ghana’s Rafael Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) will bid to become Ghana’s next boxing world champion when he challenges WBA super featherweight champion, Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) of Puerto Rico at a new venue of Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California and a new date of July 21, 2018.
The duo will put both their unbeaten records on the line in the co-main event along with WBO junior middleweight champion, Jaime Munguia’s title defence against Liam Smith next month after months of negotiations and failed purse bids.
Mensah, represented by Don King Promotions has been in talks with Golden Boy Promotions acting on behalf of Machado and Miguel Cotto Promotions since the WBA ordered the mandatory defence against the Ghanaian boxer at the end of last year. The purse bid however was postponed several times because the two camps could not agree a deal until mid-May when Golden Boy CEO, Eric Gomez confirmed they had reached a deal with Don King for the fight between Machado and Mensah, adding that the paperwork was in the process of being completed. New York or Los Angeles were proposed as possible venues for the clash and New York appeared to have got the nod two weeks ago on a date of June 30 but Los Angeles has now been selected to stage the show expected to be televised on HBO.
It will be the first defence of the title Machado won via a round 8 TKO of Jezreel Corrales last October but the first on American soil for Mensah who previously held the West Africa Boxing Union and WBA Pan-African lightweight belts whilst fighting out of Ghana and us currently number one contender in the WBA super featherweight ratings.
” This fight has taken to long to happen, it’s frustrating but I remain strong and ready. All I ask my fans back home in Ghana and around the world is to support me with their prayers. I am bringing the title home,” Mensah told this writer from his US base.
“Ghana stand up, Africa stand up. We thank everyone for their support and words of encouragement. Raphael is fighting with a heavy heart and will win this title,” Nelson Azzur, advisor to Mensah added.