Rafael Espinoza: “This Is My Time and I Want To Unify The Belts”

Will El Divino Move On To a Unification?

Rafael Espinoza looks to become a unified featherweight champion
Rafael Espinoza wants to prove he's the best at featherweight (credit: Zanfer Promotions, Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Rafael Espinoza Ready To Prove He’s Top Dog at Featherweight


One of boxing’s more intriguing stories is the ascendency of featherweight Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza (25-0, 21 KOs). He’s gone from someone unknown to even the most ardent of fight fans to becoming the WBO champion. Now, he wants to prove he’s the man to beat in the division.

MAKING HIS CASE

Espinoza made the first defense of the WBO strap with a fourth-round stoppage over Sergio Chirino on June 21 in Las Vegas. The champion scored three knockdowns in what was a dominant performance. After the contest, the 30-year-old from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico discussed his future ambitions at 126.

(Translated from Spanish) “This is my time; this is Divino’s time, and I want to unify all the belts.”

Gigantic for the division at 6’1”, the WBO champion is an imposing figure. Espinoza has an excellent jab and good overall boxing skills. But he’s someone who likes to bring the fight to his opponents. Against Chirino, El Divino also showed solid defense, good ring generalship, and the power to hurt you with either hand. He also has a natural charm and easy-going manner outside of the ring that can make him a fan favorite.

You can see that he fights with supreme confidence. It will be a tall order for anyone at 126 to take down the pride of Guadalajara.

WHAT’S LIKELY NEXT

Espinoza won the title in December 2023 with a majority decision victory over Robeisy Ramirez. If Ramirez is successful in his upcoming fight against Brandon Benitez on June 29, the expectation is that there will be a rematch between Espinoza and Ramirez this fall.

No one among the current crop of featherweights has established themselves as the division’s centerpiece and cash cow. Whether it takes beating Ramirez again or anyone who steps in the ring with him, El Divino believes he is that emerging star.

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About Mike W.2033 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.