SANDY — Chris Fernandez has what Allen Litzau wants — a world championship title.
Litzau, the 30-year-old Minnesota boxer, said he's put in the time, made the sacrifices and has the skill to take the WBU's welterweight world championship belt from Fernandez, the Highland High graduate.
"I'm fighting for my first world title, and I'm bringing it home to Minnesota," said Litzau, 30, who will face Fernandez Saturday night at 10 p.m. at the South Towne Expo Center in Utah's first world-championship boxing bout since 1978. "I've worked too long not to. I'm doing my thing, and this is my time to shine."
Fernandez and Litzau weighed in — along with the 16 other fighters who will compete in Saturday night's event — at Lumpy's South Friday afternoon. The fights feature a lot of local boxers and the bouts begin at 8 p.m.
Fernandez, known as "Kid Kayo," won the title in May and said, like Litzau, he feels like he's earned the 10-pound gold belt. The 37-year-old father of three said he's grateful to be facing a tough opponent in his hometown.
"I'm totally blessed," he said. "The feeling I feel right now is unexplainable to be able to bring something like this home to the city of Salt Lake City, which I love. It's a great feeling."
After the two weighed in and posed for pictures, they exchanged a few verbal barbs that ended when Fernandez predicted the fight would end in the third round.
"You're going in three," he said to Litzau, who's known as "The American Boy."
The two boxers battling for the world championship were the most colorful, while the majority of athletes weighed in, posed for pictures and declined to talk in front of the crowd of boxing fans.
Litzau is a talented fighter who was offered the title fight just a few weeks ago. He has a record of 13 wins, seven by knockout, and seven losses, five of which were by knockouts. Fernandez has a record of 20-15-1, and 12 of his wins are by knockout.
Litzau said he's fought for smaller belts, but has waited for this moment all his life. He and his brother are the third generation of Litzau brothers to box together. He's a religious man who doesn't drink or smoke and he said that's the reason he's able to compete at such a high level at age 30.
"I put the work in and I've got God on my side," he said. "I've been boxing since I was 12. This is the biggest moment for me. ... I'm taking that belt back home and that's a promise."
Tickets are available at SmithTix.com or at the door. The title fight will also be broadcast live by KUTV on a cable channel.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: adonsports
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company