Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez Set To Make Move Up To Bantamweight

February 24, 2024
3 months

Four-weight world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez has revealed that he is set to make a move up to bantamweight, although no opponent has yet been named.

Chocolatito is one of the greatest and most decorated fighters in history having won world titles at minimumweight, light-flyweight, flyweight, and super-flyweight. The Nicaraguan had a major role in getting attention on boxing’s lighter divisions, and he has headlined several pay-per-view shows in the United States and around the world.

However, the 36-year-old has not fought since a majority-decision defeat to Juan Francisco Estrada in December 2022. It was Chocolatito’s second narrow loss to Estrada in his past three fights; then the WBA super-flyweight champion, Gonzalez lost a split decision in a unified title fight with WBC belt holder Estrada in March 2022. On either side of those bouts, Chocolatito defeated Julio Cesar Martinez to win the vacant WBC Diamond super-flyweight belt.

Despite those recent losses, Gonzalez remains a legend of the sport and his move up to bantamweight will provide even more excitement to a thriving division.

“There is nothing concrete, but I will have a fight at 118 lbs, but no opponent yet,” Gonzalez told BoxingScene via a translator while attending an event Loeffler’s 360 Promotions in Santa Ynez, California.

Chocolatito (51-4-0 41 KO) earned his first world title almost 16 years ago when he beat Japan’s Yutaka Niida to claim his WBA minimumweight belt in September 2008. After three successful title defenses, Gonzalez made the move up to light-flyweight and became a two-weight world champion in September 2011 with a points win over Manuel Vargas to claim the WBA strap.

After defending the title four times, Chocolatito stepped up again and became the WBC flyweight world champion in September 2014 with a ninth-round stoppage of Akira Yaegashi. He defended the title four times before winning a world title in a fourth weight division, beating Carlos Cuadras to claim the WBC super-flyweight title in September 2016.

Chocolatito then suffered his first defeat in his 47th fight – a majority-decision loss to Wisaksil Wangek in March 2017 – and then lost the immediate rematch by getting knocked out in the fourth round.

Gonzalez soon bounced back and became world champion again with a stunning performance against the previously unbeaten Kal Yafai, stopping the British fighter in the ninth round of their February 2020 bout to win the WBA super-flyweight belt.

Who Could Chocolatito Fight At Bantamweight?

Given his age, experience, and global profile, it’s unlikely Chocolatito is planning to make a gradual climb up the bantamweight rankings, so fight fans should expect him to step immediately into a big fight.

There will surely be no shortage of interest from promoters keen to get the Nicaraguan great into the ring with one of the reigning champions.

Australian Jason Maloney, holder of the WBO title, would make for an intriguing fight, as would Japan’s Takama Inoue, who this weekend defended his WBA belt with an impressive ninth-round stoppage of Jerwin Ancajas.

However, it would surely be title fights with either Puerto Rico’s IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez or Mexican WBC holder Alejandro Santiago that would generate the most interest, particularly from fight fans in Central America.

Elsewhere, the likes of Junto Nakatani, Antonio Vargas, and Sho Ishida would also provide fascinating fights for Chocolatito, although it would be unlikely any of these contenders would want to jeopardize their own title ambitions by taking a risky bout against the four-weight world champion.