Japan's Takashi Miura set aside his depression 18 months ago and began working to reclaim the World Boxing Council super featherweight crown. On Saturday night, his chance finally arrives.
The 33-year-old southpaw faces Mexico's Miguel Berchelt in a championship clash headlining a card that also features World Boxing Association super featherweight champion Jezreel Corrales, a Panamanian southpaw, facing Mexico's Robinson Castellanos at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Miura, 31-3 with two drawn and 24 knockouts, held the title for more than two years before losing to Mexico's Francisco Vargas in November 2015.
"After my last loss, I became depressed for a couple of months. I thought I wouldn't be able to come back to the level that I once was," Miura said. "However, boxing is everything to me, and I couldn't just walk away."
Miura knocked out Filipino Jimmy Borbon in May 2016 and Mexico's Miguel Roman last January in comeback bouts to earn his next title chance.
"I have more heart than Berchelt," Miura said. "I want this more than I want anything. I'm expecting a war because I know he won't want to give up his belt that easy."
Berchelt, 31-1 with 28 knockouts, makes the first defense of the crown he took from Vargas by knockout last January on the same card with Miura.
"Miura has gone to war many times in his career and I am expecting nothing less in this fight," Berchelt said. "I want to prove that winning this belt was no fluke and defending it against a warrior like Miura is the perfect opportunity to do that."
It has been more than five years since Berchelt went the distance in a fight, including 17 early stoppages and his lone defeat, in 2014 to Luis Florez. Berchelt, 25, has won 10 consecutive fights since then.
Miura wants to reclaim the crown and focus on facing rival champions, something he has never done.
"If I'm able to get the belt back and the opportunity is there, I would want to unify the belts in the super featherweight division," Miura said. "Our division is known for a lot of wars."
Next on his hit list could be the undercard winner between WBA champion Corrales, 21-1 with eight knockouts entering his US debut, and challenger Castellanos, 24-12 with 14 knockouts.
Corrales makes the second defense of the crown he took from Japan's Takashi Uchiyama 15 months ago by knockout in Tokyo. Corrales kept the crown with a split-decision victory in a rematch last December at Tokyo.
"He will come forward to attack me," Corrales said. "He will try to overwhelm me and he will try to throw punches to knock me out. But that's why they call me 'El Invisible' - I won't let him catch me."
Castellanos, 35, stopped Cuban two-time world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa two months ago to earn his first world title bout.