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Oscar Valdez vs. Emanuel Navarrete on Feb.3rd for vacant WBO 130-lb title

Image: Oscar Valdez vs. Emanuel Navarrete on Feb.3rd for vacant WBO 130-lb title

By Brian Webber: Oscar Valdez and Emanuel Navarrete will battle for the vacant WBO super featherweight title on Friday, February 3rd, on ESPN at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Navarrete, 27, will be moving up in weight from the 126-b division, where he currently holds the WBO featherweight belt.

In the co-feature bout, Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza will fight unbeaten Arnold Barboza Jr in the 140-lb division.

The former two-division world champion Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) and ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) will fight for the WBO 130-lb title that former champion Shakur Stevenson lost on the scales on September 23 for what was supposed to be a title defense against Robson Conceição. Stevenson came in at 131.6 lbs.

Although Shakur still won the fight, he lost his WBC & WBO 130-lb titles due to him coming in over the limit.

“The Oscar Valdez-Emanuel Navarrete fight for the vacant WBO junior lightweight title is set for Friday, Feb. 3, in Glendale. Jose Pedraza and Arnold Barboza Jr. will meet in the chief support bout,” said Mike Coppinger.

Valdez, 31, lost his last fight to Shakur on April 30th, losing a 12-round unanimous decision by the scores 117–110, 118–109, and 118–110.

Stevenson was too skilled for Valdez, and the match turned out to be a less entertaining than many expected it to be due to the defensive focus of the fight by Shakur.

Oscar Valdez likely favorite

The 27-year-old volume puncher Navarrete should make it enjoyable against Valdez because this fight has war all over it. Navarrete, 5’7″, only knows how to fight one way, and that’s to brawl.

The criticism of Navarrete is that he’s only fought one good opponent in his 10-year professional career Isaac Dogboe. Aside from that, Navarrete has faced a lot of middle-of-the-road opposition, winning world titles at 122 and 126.

Focusing only on the WBO belt, which some would say was the easiest one to win, Navarrete has captured two division titles. Valdez likely wins this fight if he’s firing on all eight cylinders.

Navarrete looked average in his victories over Joet Gonzalez and Ruben Villa, showing vulnerability in both fights.

Navarrete isn’t as good as many boxing fans believe him to be, and he’s gotten over by facing the right opposition at 122 and 126. You can argue strongly that Navarrete would have seven defeats on his resume already if he’d fought these fighters:

  • Gary Russell Jr
  • Robeisy Ramirez
  • Stephen Fulton
  • Mauricio Lara
  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Rey Vargas
  • Murodjon Akhmadaliev



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