Ghana’s Jessie Manyo Plange is closing in on what could be a career-defining bout.
BoxingAfrica.com has learned that Plange (21-1, 17 KOs) is set to face Nicaragua’s Melvin Lopez (25-1, 16 KOS) Saturday, June 19, in a WBA bantamweight title eliminator in Las Vegas.
Headlining that card will be undefeated WBA and IBF World Bantamweight Champion Naoya Inoue defending his belts against Michael Dasmarinas of Philippines.
Plange’s promoter, Greg Cohen, and Top Rank Promotions are in the final stages of negotiations with both fighters looking forward to putting pen to paper.
“I have been training for a long time, hoping for the right time to come and I believe this is the time for me to land a title shot,” Plange told BoxingAfrica.com.
“This will be the first time for me to come close to fighting for the world title and I can’t wait to take it. I must first go past Lopez to get the chance and I am ready for that.”
A win over Lopez guarantees Plange, a nine-year professional, a world title shot. He has been busy preparing for his next bout since last December, when he won a unanimous decision over Alexis Boureima Kabore in Nigeria.
Earlier reports suggested that Plange could face legendary Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux but Rigondeaux is now slated to face WBO World Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero on August 14 instead. Casimero was last seen stopping Ghana’s Duke Micah in three rounds.
Plange hopes the bring some measure of respect back for his home nation. The 33-year-old could find himself in a huge bout versus pound-for-pound entrant Inoue should the Japanese boxer-puncher successfully defend his belts against Dasmarinas. Plange is no stranger to Dasmarinas; the two fought to a disputed draw back in September 2018—a bout many feel Plange won.
“Inoue is a dangerous fighter and I respect him for what he has achieved in the sport,” Plange noted. “But I don’t fear him because I know what I am capable of doing in the ring.
“What I am focused on now is to get my next opponent off my way so I can think of slugging it out with Inoue.”
Plange’s trainer, Lartekwei Lartey, believes his boxer is destined to become Ghana’s next world champion.
“He is in good shape and wants to focus on Lopez first before thinking of a possible clash with Inoue,” said Lartey in an interview with BoxingAfrica.com.
“We are preparing very well for the bout in June and I believe my fighter has what it takes to deal with both Lopez and Inoue.”
The plan is for Team Plange to do the bulk of their training in Ghana before relocating to the US for the final stages.
“I am looking at arriving in the US in early June so I can acclimatize to the weather before the fight,” said Plange.
“I have watched most of Lopez’s fights and I don’t think fighting him will be a problem. My mind is prepared to win and I am ready to continue having the best of preparations for the bout.”