Coming op Saturday night in Glendale, AZ, WBO junior lightweight champ Emanuel Navarrete will defend against possibly his most decorated opponent in former two division world champ, Oscar Valdez. The two Mexican combatants will headline the Top Rank Boxing/ESPN card from the Diamond Desert Arena and the champ made it clear at Thursday’s final presser that there will be punches, lots of them, launched Saturday night.
From the Top Rank release:
“We all know that this fight is raising a lot of expectations. It would be totally fraudulent if Valdez and I didn’t give 100 percent in this fight. We all know that everyone expects a war in the ring. We have all that it takes to make for a great fight,” Navarrete said.
“I have said that the fight with Valdez was necessary for my career because of everything it represents. The rivalry between Mexicans is something essential. It’s a good thing for the fight. But boxing fans have also put a lot of pressure on me, saying that my career was missing that cherry on top. They said that I needed an impressive and iconic fight where I exert much more of myself. The fight with Valdez is that kind of fight.”
It’s Navarette’s first defense of the vacant junior lightweight belt he won in February in a wild fight Australia’s Liam Wilson that saw him knocked down for the first time in his career before rallying to stop the game challenger on a TKO. Navarrete 37-1, 31 KOs, has also been on a roll with winning 11 consecutive championship fights in three different divisions going back to December of 2018.
Hear Dan Rafael preview Navarrete-Valdez with me off the “Big Fight Weekend Preview Podcast” by clicking play below,
As for Valdez, 31-1, 23 KOs, he previously held the WBC 130 lb. title briefly with a booming KO of Miguel Berchelt in February 2021. However, he lost in a one sided unification battle with Shakur Stevenson in April of last year. Now, he’s ready to try to regain world title status Saturday night, telling the media,
“This fight means the world to me. The loss to Shakur Stevenson sparked something different in me. It woke something up. It made me realize how much I missed boxing and how much I love the sport. The year away from boxing made me miss it so much. I also miss being a world champion. So, it also means the world to me to have another opportunity to become a world champion again.”