Emanuel Navarrete Overcomes Oscar Valdez in a Spirited Battle


By Arne K. Lang

Emanuel Navarrete successfully defended his WBO 130-pound world title tonight with a hard-earned unanimous decision over Oscar Valdez in an all-Mexican barnburner on the Arizona desert. It was his thirty-third straight win, boosting his ledger to 38-1 (31), a record that includes a 12-0 mark in world title fights. The judges had it 116-112, 118-110, and 119-109, the last score far too wide, disrespecting a valiant effort by Valdez.

This bout matched a three-division title-holder (Navarrete) against a former Olympian who was two-division title-holder with only one loss on his record, that coming against the brilliant Shakur Stevenson. Top Rank promoted the fight by harking to the great all-Mexican trilogy between Marco Antonio Barrera and Eric Morales and the bout, in hindsight, was hardly over-hyped. The combatants were accorded a long and loud standing ovation at the final bell. Barrera and Morales were there sitting ringside, as was El Gran Campeon Julio Cesar Chavez.

Navarrete did his best work in the early and late rounds. It was an uphill battle for Valdez when swelling developed under his right eye in the fifth round. The eye eventually swelled shut behind a purple goose egg. Navarette appeared to injure his right hand in round nine, but he kept throwing punches in bunches. He would be credited with throwing over a thousand. Valdez (31-2) was far less busy, but was more efficient.

This was a good result for the bookies. Abetted in part by Navarrete’s most recent fight with late sub Liam Wilson (Navarrete survived a scare before taking out the unsung Aussie in the ninth round), Valdez attracted most of the late money, closing in the vicinity of an 11/5 favorite.


The semi-windup, a 10-rounder in the 140-pound division, was another all-Mexico affair. Lindolfo Delgado improved to 18-0 (13) with a workmanlike unanimous decision over Jair Valterria (16-3). The judges had it 98-92 and 99-91 twice. A 2016 Olympian, Delgado trains at the Robert Garcia boxing academy.

Other Bouts

Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr, the pride of Tulare, California, continued his hot start to his pro career with a first-round stoppage of 40-year-old Indianapolis campaigner Wille Jake Jr (11-6-2). Torrez (6-0, 5 KOs) buzzed Jake with a short left hand before the fight was a minute old. He knocked Jake face-first to the canvas with a counter right hand and then swarmed all over Jake with a fusillade of punches when Jake got to his feet. Jake made a second trip to the canvas just as referee Robert Hoyle was calling it off. The official time was 1:22 of the opening round.

Lightweight Emiliano Vargas, a fast-rising 19-year-old prospect from Las Vegas, one of three fighting sons of “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas, improved to 6-0 (5 KOs)) with a second-round stoppage of Mexico import Jorge Luis Marquez (3-6-1) who suffered his fourth straight setback.

In a fight slated for six, Iowa’s six-foot-nine heavyweight Antonio Mireles (8-0, 7 KOs) stopped Ohio’s “Black Butterbean,” Dejaun Calloway (7-3), in the final round.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images