Scratch a very good fight from the upcoming schedule. Keith Idec reports that Occar Valdez has been forced out of his February 3rd vacant title fight with Emanuel Navarrete due to injury, while Mike Coppinger brings word that “Vaquero” has agreed to face Liam Wilson in his stead.
Valdez will be next for the winner.
Wilson (11-1, 7 KO) sits at no. 3 in the WBO rankings, so he was essentially the best available option besides mandatory challenger Archie Sharp. The 26-year-old is 2-0 since a 2021 TKO loss to Filipino upset specialist Joe Noynay, crushing Noynay in two eight months later and subsequently defeating old Valdez foe Matias Rueda.
He’s not Valdez, but he’s a legit super featherweight and a ranked contender, which is more than I can say about some late-notice vacant title fights in the past. At the very least, he should give us a good idea of whether Navarrete’s breakneck style is viable against naturally larger men.