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Emanuel Navarrete to return in July, ‘most likely’ will be staying at 122

There had been a lot of talk of the titleholder moving up to featherweight.

Jeo Santisima v Emanuel Navarrete Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

According to Juan Carlos of Zanfer Promotions, current WBO junior featherweight titleholder Emanuel Navarrete is looking at a July return to action, and will “most likely” be staying at 122 pounds to defend his title.

There had been a lot of talk about Navarrete (31-1, 27 KO) moving up to featherweight ahead of his Feb. 22 win over Jeo Santisima on the Wilder-Fury 2 undercard, where he battled a hand injury but otherwise mostly dominated and earned an 11th round stoppage win.

But now it seems the 25-year-old Mexican fighter will be staying put for at least one more fight. Anything big, like a unification, seems unlikely if not impossible at the moment. WBC titleholder Rey Vargas is with PBC, and IBF/WBA titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev is with Matchroom.

Navarrete won his title with a Dec. 2018 upset of Isaac Dogboe, and proved it was no fluke in May of last year in a rematch, pummeling Dogboe even worse the second time around. He’s since stayed very active, beating Francisco De Vaca, Juan Miguel Elorde, Francisco Horta, and Santisima between August and February. The activity has helped to cover for the fact that he’s not facing anyone near legitimate contention.

A July return could see him back, in theory, on the Fury-Wilder 3 card on July 18, as he was a solid presence for Top Rank on the February PPV and could return to that role in the summer. He also featured on Fury’s Sept. 14 card last year, so the two have shared a stage a couple of times now. The partnership, such as it were, has the dual benefit of bringing some Mexican fight fan eyes to Fury’s cards, and exposing Navarrete to the audience that tunes in to see heavyweights.

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