Mexico’s two-division world champion, Oscar Valdez, is more motivated than ever for what could mark the beginning of a historic rivalry.
Valdez will challenge three-division world champion and countryman Emanuel Navarrete for his WBO junior lightweight world title on Saturday, August 12, at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Navarrete-Valdez, Raymond Muratalla-Diego Torres and Richard Torrez Jr.-Willie Jake Jr. will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.
Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs), from Nogales, represented Mexico at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The 32-year-old captured his first world title in July 2016 with a second-round stoppage win over Matias Rueda. In February 2021, he became a two-division world champion with a 10th-round knockout against Miguel Berchelt. Valdez suffered his first loss to Shakur Stevenson in April 2022 and is coming off a unanimous decision victory against Adam Lopez in May.
Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) captured the WBO junior featherweight world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe in December 2018. After five defenses, he moved up to featherweight and defeated Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title in October 2020. In February, the 28-year-old native of San Juan Zitlaltepec became a three-division world champion when he stopped Liam Wilson in nine rounds.
After a recent training session in Lake Tahoe, this is what Valdez said:
“I’m excited. It’s getting close. 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.”
“We all know that Navarrete has an awkward style. We might not have the perfect sparring that can emulate his style. But we try to imitate him in the mittwork and strategy. He’s not your typical fighter that throws straight shots.”
“I like training here in Lake Tahoe. It’s isolated from everybody. We’re up in the mountains. We’re training in great weather and at a great altitude. I love it here. It’s nice and relaxing. There’s no anxiety here. There’s clear air. It’s perfect for being focused on camp.”
“I always tell people that I grew up during the era of Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. Those two fighters inspired me to be the fighter that I am today. So, to leave something similar in history would mean the world to me.”
“I’m more motivated for this fight than any other fight I’ve been in. People are excited about this fight. Everywhere I go, I get the same question: ‘When are you going to fight Vaquero?’ And that’s because we all know that a war is coming.”