Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions will co-promote a potential early candidate for the 2019 Fight of the Year, when world title challenger “Mighty” Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20 KOs) takes on unbeaten Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (20-0-2, 13 KOs) in a World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior bantamweight title eliminator on Thursday, January 31, at Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, California.
Palicte vs.Martinez will headline a soon-to-be-announced card in the 12-round main event, held on the Thursday night of Super Bowl week, in the Oak Ballroom. Viejas Casino & Resort is located 35 miles outside of San Diego.
The winner of the Palicte vs. Martinez title eliminator will become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the New Year’s Eve match in China for the vacant WBO Junior Bantamweight World Championship, between No. 1 contender Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KOs) and No. 3-rated Kazuito Ioka (23-1, 13 KOs).
Palicte and Martinez will continue a Philippines-Puerto Rico boxing rivalry that dates back many years, perhaps, highlighted by the 2009 showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, in which the fabulous Filipino defeated the Puerto Rican warrior by way of a 12th round technical knockout. It marks the first time Jones and Cotto, two of the greatest boxers of all-time, will be in opposite corners, in terms of competing fighters they promote, respectively, Palicte and Martinez.
“Having our new partnership with Viejas Casino & Resort allows us to host these great fights,” Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions CEO/Co-founder Keith Veltre remarked. “Having a Roy Jones Jr. and Miguel Cotto fighter face-off makes this fight even more exciting. 2019 is going to be the biggest and most active year for RJJ Boxing.”
“This is the type of fight that changes your career,” Hall of Famer/promoterCotto said. “We know ‘Chiquiro’ Martinez is ready for the challenge and it will be an exciting fight. Promoting this fight, together with Roy Jones, Jr., will be great for boxing. We really look forward to start 2019 with a great fight like Martinez vs. Palicte.”
“All of us at Viejas are excited to be working with Roy Jones, Jr. and look forward to this amazing event,” added Jimmy Wild, GM Viejas Casino & Resort.
Palicte (WBO No. 2) heads the latest wave of world-class Filipino boxers, who is coming off a controversial 12-round split draw with his fellow countryman, 3-division world champion Nietes, for the vacant WBO Junior bantamweight title this past September in Inglewood, California. Many at ringside felt that Palicte should have won the Filipino showdown, based on his relentless pressure and considerably higher activity rate, throwing 300-plus more punches than Nietes.
Palicte is also ranked No. 9 in independent world ratings by The Ring magazine.
“I want to thank God for this great opportunity,” Martinez commented. “Thank you, Miguel Cotto and the WBO. I feel excited because this is the most important fight of my career with a high-level boxer as Palicte. I will train really hard to be in the best condition. We are really focusing on getting the big win on January 31st.”