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Navarrete vs. Wilson – Tonight’s Live Results From Glendale

Image: Navarrete vs. Wilson - Tonight’s Live Results From Glendale

By Mark Eisner: Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31 KO) had to get up off the canvas to rally to stop Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) by a ninth round knockout to capture the vacant WBO super featherweight title on Friday night at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Wilson badly hurt the 28-year-old former two-division world champion Navarrete in the fourth round, dropping him out and hurting him in the sixth.

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You can argue that Wilson might have knocked Navarrete out in the fourth, but the Mexican fighter wisely spit out his mouthpiece and was given extra time to have it reinserted. Even with the timeout for the mouthpiece, Navarrete barely made it out of the round.

Wilson was gassed out by the seventh round, and was barely throwing the powerful left hook that he’d hurt Navarrete with earlier. Navarrete took advantage of Wilson’s drop-off of punch output to take control of the fight.

In the ninth round, Navarrete dropped Wilson with a right hand to the head. When the action resumed, Navarrete continued to pour it on a hurt Wilson, trapping him against the ropes and teeing off until the referee stepped in to halt the fight.

The time of the stoppage was 1:57 of the ninth.

Undercard results:

  • The much bigger light welterweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr (28-0, 10 KOs) built up a big lead and held on to defeat former two-division world champion Jose Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision in the co-feature bout. Barboza Jr, 31, gassed out in the second half of the contest due to the pressure that smaller Pedraza was putting on him. In the ninth & tenth rounds, Barboza stopped moving and stood, trading with Pedraza on the inside. Pedraza was cut over his right eye in the tenth round. Earlier in the fight, he was cut between the eyes. The scores were 97-93, 96-94, and 96-94. Boxing News 24 had Barboza edging it 96-94. After the fight, Barboza said he wanted a world title shot next. If not, he says he wants Teofimo Lopez. The way Barboza fought tonight, he would have problems against WBC champion Regis Prograis. That’s a fight he likely loses and gets stopped. Against WBO champion Josh Taylor, Barboza would have a good chance of winning. Pedraza needs to think about dropping back down to 130 because he was much more effective in that weight division than he was at 135 & 140.
  • 2020 Olympic silver medalist heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr (5-0, 5 KOs) stopped former football player James Bryant (6-3, 4 KOs) in the first round. The 23-year-old Torrez Jr dropped Bryant with a beautiful left uppercut to the head late in the round, causing him to injure his right ankle as he was falling. In between rounds, Bryant informed his trainer that he’d injured his ankle, and the fight was promptly stopped. The time of the stoppage was at 3:00 of round one. Torrez Jr’s power was devastating tonight. He was stunning Bryant with every shot he threw, and it was only a matter of time before he eventually stopped him. Bryant’s nose was bleeding by the two-minute mark of the round, and he looked stressed out from the fierce attacks from Torrez, who was like a heavyweight version of Gennadiy Golovkin with the pressure he was putting on his opponent.
  • In a foul-plagued contest, undefeated light welterweight Andres Cortes (19-0, 10 KOs) defeated Luis Melendez (17-3, 13 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 100-90. In the sixth round, Cortes suffered a large cut over his left eye from a clash from heads. Melendez was also cut in the round, but less severely. Thanks to the excellent work of Cortes’ cutman Stich Duran, he stopped the bleeding, and the cut wasn’t a factor for the remainder of the contest. Both fighters used roughhouse tactics off & on in the seventh and eighth rounds. Melendez laced Cortes in the eighth round and was warned by the referee. For the most part, Melendez held frequently in rounds 8, 9, and 10.
  • Middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (8-0, 5 KOs), the grandson of Muhammad Ali, defeated a game Eduardo Ayala (9-3-1, 3 KOs) by a six round unanimous decision. The 22-year-old Nico dropped Ayala with a big right hand in the second round. However, Ayala fought hard and landed many looping right hands and left hooks on Nico, whose defense was his offense. He blocked nothing in the fight. In between the fifth and sixth rounds, Nico’s trainer told him to stop head-hunting and focus on throwing to the body. To his credit, Nico followed his trainer’s instructions to the letter and fought well in the sixth, wearing Ayala down with hard body shots. The scores were 60-53, 59-54, and 59-54. Nico has a nice right hand, but his defense is absolutely horrible. He doesn’t move his head and is there to be hit. At this point, it’s difficult to imagine Nico ever winning a world title. If his promoter matches him in a similar way to popular lightweight Ryan Garcia, he could build an unbeaten and maybe get lucky by making millions in a cash-out fight against one of the big names. If Nico focuses on social media as Ryan Garcia has successfully done to land a mega-payday against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, he can build a large following, and that’ll increase his chances of one day getting a big money fight against one of the stars.
  • Undefeated light welterweight Lindolfo Delgado (17-0, 13 KOs) defeated Clarence Booth (21-7, 13 KOs) by a one-sided eight round unanimous decision. Delgado knocked Booth in the eighth round. The judges’ scores were 80-71, 79-72, and 79-72 win.
  • Lightweight prospect Emiliano Vargas (2-0, 2 KOs) beat Francisco Duque (1-1) by a four round unanimous decision with the scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 40-36.

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Preview: With the 28-year-old Navarrete moving up to a new weight class at 130, it won’t be a major shock if he struggles with the size & heavy hands of Wilson and winds up losing.

Top Rank has assembled an excellent undercard, with the unbeaten light welterweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr (27-0, 10 KO) facing Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KO) in a 10-round chief support bout.

In another solid fight on the card, 2020 heavyweight Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr (4-0, 4 KOs) squares off against the capable James Bryant (6-2, 4 KO) in six round fight.

The 23-year-old Torrez Jr has an exciting style, but his lack of height & reach will be something that could limit him unless he’s able to become more mobile like Oleksandr Usyk to keep the bigger heavyweights from dominating him.

It’s a great fight that should show whether Barboza can capture a world title at 140. At 31, Barboza Jr isn’t young, so he must make his move by shinning against Pedraza, who is starting to lose a step after 12 years in the pro ranks and a long amateur career, which includes competing in the 2008 Olympics.

If Barboza struggles against the 33-year-old former two-division world champion Pedraza, it would be a strong indication that he’d be destined for gatekeeper status.

Of course, in this era of boxing, with the many world titles in each division, Barboza could still eventually win a strap with the help of careful match-making by Top Rank. With that said, Barboza is going to need to really dominate tonight against the veteran Pedraza for him to have a serious shot at winning a world title in his career.

The move for Navarrete to 130 clears the way for the talented two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Romero to capture the vacant WBO featherweight title.

Unlike Navarrete, Romero has the makings of a star, and he just needed the opportunity to capture his first world title after having turned professional in 2019.

Robeisy is fighting Isaac Dogboe on April 1st for the vacant WBO interim featherweight title. The winner of that fight, which figures to be Robeisy, will likely be elevated to the full WBO 126-lb title soon after unless the World Boxing Organization chooses to order another fight for the full belt.

Emanuel Navarrete is in action tonight against the tough-as-nails #3 ranked Liam Wilson in a battle for the vacant WBO super featherweight title in a Top Rank card live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ from the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main portion of the event begins at 10:00 p.m. ET.

The 11-year professional Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) will attempt to capture his third division world title against a virtual unknown, Wilson (11-1, 7 KOs), who might need a miracle to win tonight.

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