Jorge Linares to face Javier Prieto for vacant WBC Lightweight belt

December 29, 2014

Jorge Linares is one of those fighters who has yet to escape the dreaded "potential" label.  Still eight months shy of his 30th birthday, Linares (37-3, 24 KOs) is an athletically gifted athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and balance who many thought would be a top ten pound-for-pound fighter at this stage in his career.

On Tuesday, December 30 at the Metropolitan Gym in Tokyo, Japan, Linares has a chance to start meeting some of those lofty expectations, when he faces Mexico's Javier Prieto (24-7-2, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBC Lightweight World Championship in a 12-round bout.  Should Linares win, he will become the youngest Venezuelan to win world titles in three divisions.

Linares, a former featherweight and super featherweight world champion, had his career derail when he suffered consecutive losses to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson.  Against DeMarco, Linares was in control early before his opponent's pressure started a rally that eventually led to a knockout loss.

Since that time, Linares has been undefeated for more than two years, winning six consecutive bouts, including four by knockout.

The 27-year-old Barinas native and Tokyo resident defeated Nihito Arakawa (25-5-1, 16 KOs) via decision in a 2014 March title eliminator, and is currently ranked number one by the WBC. He kept busy by knocking out Ira Terry (26-13, 16 KOs) in two rounds in August. Now he's ready to take on the 27-year-old Prieto, who is unbeaten in his last 10 bouts and is ranked number two by the WBC.

Prieto is from Apatzingan, Michoac√°n, Mexico, and is the current WBC Silver Lightweight Champion.  He is eager to earn the WBC Lightweight World Championship and is coming off 12-round draws against Ivan Cano (22-6-2, 15 KOs) in May and September. This will be his first world title bout.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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