While all eyes will be on the main event WBC Heavyweight Title rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, a fight on the undercard featuring one of the hardest punching smaller wearing fighters in the world may have as much intrigue.
WBO Jr. Featherweight Champion Emanuel Navarrete gets set to make his fifth title defense in less than a year, when he takes on Filipino contender Jeo Tupas Santisima,
Navvarete is 30-1, 26 KOs and has become a rising star in the 122 lb. division after upsetting previously unbeaten Isaac Dogbe late in 2018. He then knocked Dogbe out in the 11th round in their rematch in May of last year. Since then, Navarrete has been as busy as any World Championship fighter over the rest of last year winning three more title fights by KO.
The most recent defense was his December defense knocking outFrancisco “Panchito” Hortain the fourth round at Auditorio GNP Seguros in Puebla, Mexico. That came after the big punching 25 year old Mexican had dispatched Juan Miguel Elorde in two rounds on the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin undercard in September.
As for the fighter Navarrete is fighting Saturday, Tupas Santisima is 19-2 as a pro. However, he’s never fought outside the Philippines headed into Saturday’s showdown at the MGM Grand Garden arena.
Meanwhile, the fighter known as “El Vaquero” is a big puncher with either hand,, but in particular his left hook and left uppercut have been specifically devastating. And, he’s now won 25 consecutive fights dating back to his lone loss in his sixth pro fight in July of 2012. That came when Navarrete was just 17 years old.
There is some belief that Navarrete might move up to featherweight, perhaps as soon as after this title defense Saturday night because there could be a more lucrative pay day. However, if he remains at 122 lb. he could fight newly crowned WBA/IBF champ, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, in a bigger title bout later this year.
First, expect undercard “bombs” on Saturday night.