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Julio Cesar Martinez, Cristofer Rosales to fight for vacant world title

Flyweights Julio Cesar Martinez and Cristofer Rosales will square off for a vacant world title on Dec. 20, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said on Friday.

The fight will take place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix and serve as the co-feature for the DAZN card scheduled to be headlined by the super middleweight bout between former middleweight world titleholders Daniel Jacobs and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. -- although because of Chavez's suspension in Nevada he may not be allowed to fight, in which case Gabriel Rosado would step in to face Jacobs.

"This is a great fight for a big night and a real opportunity for our latest signing, Julio Cesar Martinez, to shine on a huge stage," Hearn said. "Julio is an exciting talent and such a powerful puncher at 112 pounds. We believe that he can dominate the division in 2020, but Cristofer is a great fighter in his own right and will be determined to regain his title."

Martinez (14-1, 11 KOs), 24, of Mexico, challenged Charlie Edwards for his flyweight belt on Aug. 31 in London and dominated. The fight was initially ruled a third-round knockout win for Martinez but changed to a no-contest minutes later after a replay review, because Martinez had landed a punch while Edwards was down.

But rather than fight Martinez in a mandated rematch, Edwards elected to vacate the title and move up in weight. So Martinez was ordered to face former titleholder Rosales for the vacant belt.

"We're going to fight against a (former) world champion. We know it's dangerous, that he's a very good fighter, but the whole team has had a great camp," said Martinez, who is part of the Canelo Alvarez stable. "We're bringing the title back to Mexico."

Rosales (29-4, 20 KOs), 25, of Nicaragua, won a 112-pound world title by ninth-round knockout of Daigo Higa on his turf in Japan in April 2018 and made one successful defense, a fourth-round knockout of Ireland's Paddy Barnes, before losing it by unanimous decision to Edwards last December. Rosales has won his only fight since.

"Martinez is a very strong fighter who likes to fight going forward," Rosales said. "He is also very focused and determined. I am confident to regain my title and bring it back to Nicaragua. I am prepared and ready. I will give everything I got."