Though he may have gotten a hell of a scare in his first fight at super featherweight, Emanuel Navarrete is there to stay. “Vaquero” tells ESPN KnockOut that he’ll be campaigning at 130 going forward, officially ending his featherweight campaign with three successful title defenses.
All signs point to Navarrete (37-1, 31 KO) fighting Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KO) in his first fight as WBO super featherweight champion. The pair were supposed to fight last weekend to fill the vacancy left behind by Shakur Stevenson, but Valdez withdrew due to injury in December.
This left Liam Wilson to take his place, and while few gave him much of a chance against the red-hot Navarrete, he wound up giving the latter his toughest fight in years. He nearly had Navarrete out of there in the fourth, but failed to capitalize on the knockdown thanks in no small part to a long count, which allowed Navarrete to ultimately get his bearings back and pummel him into submission.
I’m looking forward to seeing whether Navarrete can fix his vulnerability to the left hook, because if there’s anyone at 130 who can exploit that, it’s Valdez.
The other major ramification is that this move upgrades Robeisy Ramirez’s April 1st bout with Isaac Dogboe from an interim title bout to the real deal. No complaints there.