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Emanuel Navarrete battles Ruben Villa on Oct.9 for vacant WBO 126-lb title

Emanuel Navarrete boxing photo

By Kenneth Friedman: Emanuel Navarrete will be fighting Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO featherweight title in a little over a month from now on October 9 at ‘The Bubble’ in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The former WBO 122-lb champion Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) has planned on taking on #1 WBO contender Jessie Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant 126lb strap, but he wasn’t happy with the purse amount, according to ESPN.

Magdaleno, 28, would have received $100,000 compared to $150,000 for Navarrete. That’s not a lot of money for either guy given the risk involved. Magdaleno was originally offered more than the $100K, according to ESPN. It’s unclear whether his purse amount was reduced due to the absence of a crowd for the fight.

Boxing fans wanted to see Navarrete and Magdaleno get it on for the vacant WBO 126lb belt, but now they’re going to have to settle for seeing Navarrete-Villa. That’s not quite as interesting, unfortunately, as the 23-year-old Villa is a finesse fighter with a 27.78% KO rate during his four-year pro career.

Magdaleno held the WBO 122lb title from 2016 to 2018 before losing to Isaac Dogboe. He moved up to 126 in 2019, and he’s looked impressive in winning his last three fights. Navarrete and Magdaleno are still destined to fight each other soon. As long as Navarrete wins the vacant WBO belt, he and Magdaleno will be on a crash course to meet up son.

Emanuel Navarrete boxing photo

Shakur Stevenson recently vacated the WBO featherweight title to move up to 130 to go after the belts in that division. A fight between him and Navarrete or Magdaleno would have been interesting for the boxing public.

It’s still possible that we could see Stevenson mix it up with Magdaleno and Navarrete at some point, but they’ll need to move up to super-featherweight to make those fights happen.

Villa is ranked #3 with the World Boxing Organization at 126, and he’s coming off of a 10 round unanimous decision win over Alexi Collado on January 31 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The 25-year-old Navarrete is a devastating puncher with a high work rate and colossal size. Navarrete has twice beaten Isaac Dogboe, and he’s moved down his competition with ease during his eight-year pro career.

Emanuel vacated his WBO 122-lb title earlier this year after defining it successfully five times against lesser opposition. Top Rank kept Navarrete busy since winning the WBO belt, but they haven’t put him in with any of the other champions.

Hopefully, now that Navarrete has moved up to 126, he’ll fight better opponents so he can increase his popularity. Ideally, Top Rank should be matching Navarrete against these types of fighters:

  • Josh Warrington
  • Kid Galahad
  • Jessie Magdaleno
  • Gary Russell Jr
  • Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  • Can Xu




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