Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete defeated Oscar Valdez in a brutal all-Mexican showdown for the WBO super-featherweight belt.
The 28-year-old won by unanimous decision in a back-and-forth slugfest against Valdez on Saturday night in front of 10,246 fans at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Navarrete’s reaching and punching are difficult puzzles for Valdez to solve. The native of Nogales, Mexico, tried to find openings for counterpunches from his high guard stance, using his head and feet to avoid Navarrete’s flurry of combos.
But as the rounds progressed, Navarrete’s power made a difference as his left uppercuts and hooks caused swelling under Valdez’s right eye.
In the fifth and sixth rounds, Valdez began connecting with counter left hooks. In the 10th, a battle broke out in the middle of the ring, with both fighters trading wins in the final rounds.
However, Navarrete was able to control the fight in the championship rounds and retained his title with scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109.
After the fight, Navarrete said: “I feel happy to have been part of this card and of this next great chapter of Mexican boxing history. I am happy and appreciate Oscar for the great fight that we delivered.
“I have a little swelling in my right hand. And the more I use it, the more it hurts. But I have to get over it.
“I think people can talk best about what they saw. They saw the fight tonight. I fought Valdez here. And I feel good. Thank God, I won. I appreciate what he did in the ring. He’s a Mexican warrior. If people want a rematch, they’re going to demand it.”
Valdez said: “He’s a fighter. I tried my best. We gave our best. He’s a fighter. He’s a true champion. I’m sorry I disappointed everyone. I feel terrible. I want everyone will give you a good fight. I hope you enjoy the fight. I hope I come back strong.”
The British middleweight rematch of Liam Smith against Chris Eubank Jr this Saturday September 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Read Smith vs Eubank Jr 2 today!