Oscar Valdez defends against Emanuel Navarrete next
By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez will be defending his WBC super featherweight title next against Emanuel Navarrete, says Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. This is the fight that Arum has been talking about for last month, and it’s about to happen.
Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) will be making what could be his toughest career test in facing the former two-division world champion Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs).
This fight could prove to be a real war with both guys toe-to-toe for as long as it lasts.
It’s going to be interesting to see how well Navarrete performs at 130, as he’s fought much of his career in the 118 and 122-lb divisions.
The once-beaten Navarrete is a fighter in his prime at 26, and he won’t be weight drained in coming up from 126 to challenge the undefeated two-time Olympian Valdez for his WBC title in an ESPN-televised fight.
Navarrete has looked impressive since moving up to featherweight last October to capture the vacant WBO title. He’s coming off a 12 round unanimous decision win over Joet Gonzalez last October in the second defense of his title.
In Navarrete’s fight before that, he stopped the always tough Christopher Diaz in the 12th round last April. At 126, Navarrete isn’t quite as devastating a puncher as he was campaigning at super bantamweight from 2016 to 2020.
The 5’7″ Navarrete was overpowering everyone he faced at 122, twice defeating former WBO champion Isaac Dogboe in making six successful defenses of his title before vacating it in 2020 to move up to 126.
Unfortunately, Shakur Stevenson probably won’t be too pleased with hearing the news of Valdez defending against Navarrete next, as he’s been calling for Top Rank to put a unification fight between him and Oscar together next.
Stevenson defeated WBO 130-lb champion Jamel Herring by a tenth round knockout last October, and he’s been calling for the Valdez fight ever since.
Arum wants to match him against Vasily Lomachenko or Teofimo Lopez to keep Shakur busy rising to stardom.
Lomachenko would be the more realistic fight for Shakur because Teofimo is barely making at 135 as it is, and there’s no possibility of him melting down to 130 to fight Stevenson.
Valdez recently beat Robson Conceicao by a highly contested 12 round unanimous decision on September 10th in Tucson, Arizona.
Many boxing fans felt that Conceicao had done enough to earn the victory, but the judges saw Valdez as winning.
For Valdez to beat Navarrete, he’s going to have to raise his game to the level we saw in his win over Miguel Berchelt last February.
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