Shakur Stevenson’s former featherweight belt might not remain homeless for much longer. ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez reports that the vacant WBO title fight between #1 Emanuel Navarrete and #2 Jessie Magdaleno is currently targeted for September 19th or 26th.
Navarrete (31-1, 27 KO) began his reign as WBO super bantamweight champion by battering Isaac Dogboe in 2018 and ended it after five successful defenses, all by knockout and none save for the immediate Dogboe rematch coming against anyone within spitting distance of the top 10. He officially relinquished the belt last month after smashing up Uriel Lopez in a non-title affair.
Per WBO regulations, he immediately received top contender status, sliding past Michael Conlan, Ruben Villa, Ryan Walsh, and the aforementioned Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KO). The sanctioning body quickly shunted Magdaleno into the #2 spot, probably saving Top Rank a fair amount of step-aside money. The 28-year-old is 3-0 over mid-tier foes Rico Ramos, Rafael Rivera, and Yenifel Vicente since losing Navarrete’s future WBO belt to Dogboe and moving to 126.
Shenanigans, chicanery, malarkey, foul play, and TREACHERY MOST FOUL aside, this is a well-matched fight with enormous banger potential. So long as Navarrete’s trip to Mexico doesn’t leave him stranded due to COVID travel restrictions, I’d bet good money on these two locking horns next month.