In 2017, Ronny Rios (32-3, 16 KOs) competed for the WBC World Super Bantamweight title against current champion Rey Vargas, who won the bout by unanimous decision and has now gone on to defend the title four more times since then.
Many may have counted Rios out as being a legitimate title contender after another loss the following year.
However, Rios had other plans.
That last loss came in 2018, but since then, Rios has compiled a three-fight win streak that included a surprising and spectacular knockout of the highly-touted prospect, Diego De La Hoya, in a bout that crowned him as the NABF Super Bantamweight champion.
Rios does not want to stop there. In a recent phone interview with Round By Round Boxing, he informed us that a world title is what is next for him.
“I was told that I’m the mandatory for Brandon Figueroa,” said Rios. “So that’s the fight that we want.”
The WBA ordered the bout between the two back in March. Figueroa is coming off of a closely contested split-decision victory in a bout that elevated him from interim champion to full WBA World Super Bantamweight champion.
Rios said he’s stayed fit and is ready to fight whenever. He expects it to be in July or August, but is willing to give Figueroa the time he needs to train so that he can see the best version of him.
“We have been training since this pandemic started,” said Rios. “We turned our garage into a full on gym.”
Rios says he’s able to do all the things he would for a normal training camp including sparring in aims of getting ready for his second chance at a world title.
While the focus now is on Figueroa, a rematch with Rey Vargas never strays far from his mind.
“When people ask me who I want, that’s the guy,” said Rios in regards to Vargas.
Rios also mentioned that Vargas has also expressed interest in a rematch, but both fighters agree it has to make sense. For Rios, capturing a world title is his direct path to a rematch.
“What makes more sense than a unification bout,” said Rios.
And, while titles are the primary goal, the desire to be the best and compete against the best fighters is what drives Rios to compete.
“I’m more old school. I want the best fighters,” said Rios. “I want to see how I stack up.”
He reiterated that money is not what drives him either, but the competition.
“I’m never looking for the best pay check,” said Rios. “I’m looking to challenge myself.”
Ronny Rios is certainly a throwback fighter, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in his upcoming title fight amidst his resurgence.
Additionally, beyond boxing in these times of turmoil and uncertainty, Rios provided this message.
“I hope during these tough times we can come together regardless of race, gender, and religion,” said Rios. “Not only in the United States, but across the globe.”
Surely, a sentiment shared by many.