There’s no hate here.
No false bravado.
Champions Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez are fighting this Saturday night at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Az.
Navarrete is a throwback fighter.
He fights often.
Navarrete fought four times in 2018, capturing the WBO super bantamweight title against favored Issac Dogboe.
A rematch didn’t go the distance. Navarrete defended his crown five times over 12 months, bouncing up to featherweight to win another title in 2020.
Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) defended his crown three times before moving up again to fight Liam Wilson for the super featherweight title. Despite being floored and looking winded, Navarrete managed to win by stoppage.
He knows he’ll have to up his game against Valdez.
“The preparation was very tough,” said Navarrete. “Fortunately, we were able to carry it out quite well. I had always done things in a conventional way, but now we have included a physical trainer, Francisco Javier Orozco. This fight with Valdez merited that change, and I will come into this fight much better physically.”
Navarrete is awkward and aggressive. His defense can be leaky, but he makes up for it with activity.
“Winning this fight would boost my career significantly,” Navarrete said last week. “Personally, I would feel complete. What has been missing in my career is precisely a victory against someone like Valdez. It would fill me with pride to be part of such an iconic fight between Mexicans and come out victorious.”
Oscar Valdez is gritty as hell. Five years ago, he suffered a broken jaw against tough Scott Quiqq. No quit here. Valdez pounded out a 12-round decision. Valdez picked up the WBO featherweight belt six years ago, halting Carlos Adrian Rueda in two heats. After three successful title defenses, none boring, Valdez moved up a division to fight the then-monster Miguel Berchelt.
Berchelt entered the fight with a record of 38-1 with 34 knockouts. Most (including the oddsmakers) expected Berchelt to win, but Valdez had that look that night.
He got off first all night, ending the bout with a dynamic left hook in round nine.
Boom. Berchelt hasn’t been the same since.
After defending his title, Valdez fought super-talented Shakur Stevenson. The result was never in question. Stevenson boxed him silly, though Valdez never stopped trying.
His lone loss (31-1, 23 KOs) has motivated him.
“This is my chance to come back from my loss to Shakur Stevenson when I lost my title and my undefeated record,” said Valdez to boxingscene.com. “It’s something very personal that I have. I want to come back and make a statement. “I want to show that losing your undefeated record it doesn’t mean the end of your career.”
Valdez fought last May, defeating Adam Lopez convincedly.
The Mexican native is looking forward to throwing hands with Navarette.
“I’m excited. It’s getting close,” Valdez said a few days ago.”It’s one of the most important fights of my career because it means everything for me to come back and win that title. I feel blessed to have this opportunity, and I’m taking advantage of it every single day so that I can accomplish my dream.”
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