Former WBO lightweight titleholder Raymundo Beltran had an up and down 2018.
He fought hard to secure a green card in a battle that is still ongoing. He fought hard to fulfill his dream of winning a world title, outscoring fellow veteran Paulus Moses over 12 rounds. He fought hard but fell short in his first defense against Jose Pedraza who beat him by unanimous decision.
Beltran, who is currently rated No. 8 by The Ring at 135 pounds, now looks to rebuild against the unbeaten Hiroki Okada in a 10-round junior welterweight contest at the Save Mart Arena, Fresno, California on Sunday.
“We have this opportunity at 140 pounds, but we’re still open to see what opportunities we get at 140 or 135,” said Beltran (35-8-1, 21 knockouts) in an interview with The Ring. “Whatever opportunity comes first, we’ll do it.
“It’s going to be a tough test for me at 140. [Okada’s] a very confident fighter, but we’re ready. I don’t know much about him. I’m more aware about my myself and focus on what I can do and create a plan to beat him.”
Okada (19-0, 11 KOs) turned professional in his native Japan in 2011. He won a national title in 2014 and made six successful defenses before vacating to further his world title ambitions.
Last year the 29-year-old from Tokyo signed with Top Rank and edged Cristian Rafael Coria by 10-round split decision. Facing Beltran will be a step up, but victory would push him one step closer to a world title fight.
Beltran-Okada is chief support to the main event featuring WBC 140-pound titlist Jose Ramirez who faces Jose Zepeda in his second title defense.
Ramirez is the obvious fight for the winner, but Beltran isn’t setting his sights on anyone in particular.
“I’m focused on this fight,” he said. “Every fighter dreams about being a world champion. [I want] any title, any opportunity, I don’t care; it can be Ramirez or one of the other champions. I just want to win this fight and then we’ll see what is next.”
The former titleholder turns 38 in July and could be forgiven for looking for easier ways to make a living.
“I haven’t accomplished my goals yet and that’s what keeps me going,” said Beltran. “I want to get another world title and fight a big name like [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, or make a fight that people can remember for years.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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