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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Emanuel Navarrete (L) and Joet Gonzalez (R) pose during the press conference for the WBO featherweight championship at Omni San Diego Hotel on October 13, 2021 in San Diego. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Boxing

PHOTOS/QUOTES: Navarrete-Gonzalez & Santillan-Ruiz Primed for San Diego Spotlight

SAN DIEGO (Oct. 13, 2021) One of Mexico’s most decorated champions, WBO featherweight king Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, knows the challenge at hand is a formidable one. The former junior featherweight champion will make the second defense of his featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez this Friday at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Gonzalez is making his second attempt at a world title, while Navarrete hopes to improve to 10-0 in world title fights.

In the 10-round welterweight co-feature, San Diego native Giovani Santillan (27-0, 15 KOs) will take on the hard-charging Angel Ruiz (17-1, 12 KOs). Ruiz is coming off April’s decision win over the previously undefeated Bobirzhan Mominov.

At Wednesday’s final press conference, this is what the combatants had to say.

Emanuel Navarrete

“I feel very strong. I’ve seen changes in my body for the best, and I think this division is the best for me.”

“I think this is going to be a tough fight. He is a tough opponent. We are basically fighting in his hometown, closer to where he lives. Without a doubt, he’s a great fighter. He always comes forward. I expect a tough fight.”

“Moving up is not something that I’m considering now. I’m just focused on the fight with Joet. What I’ve heard is comments, but I’m not really thinking about moving up.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Emanuel Navarrete (L) and Joet Gonzalez (R) face-off during the press conference for the WBO featherweight championship at Omni San Diego Hotel on October 13, 2021 in San Diego. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Joet Gonzalez

On his first title shot against Shakur Stevenson

“Sometimes it’s just not your night. I work hard and train hard for every fight. I don’t take nobody lightly. It just simply wasn’t my night. I rebounded with a win over Marriaga, and I think I showed the public I’m here to fight the best out there.”

“It’s not an easy fight. It’s a tough fight. Navarrete has a style that’s very unique, very hard to figure out, and that’s why he’s a champion. I trained really hard, and I’m coming with everything. I’m planning on leaving Friday night with that belt.”

“It means everything. It’s my childhood dream. I always wanted to be a world champion. That’s why I started boxing in the beginning. That’s the plan, to bring that belt back home.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Giovani Santillan poses during the press conference at Omni San Diego Hotel on October 13, 2021 in San Diego. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Giovani Santillan

“This means a lot. It’s what we worked so hard for all my life. My dad and I always talked about having these big shows in San Diego and representing our city.”

“We’re focused. I’m lucky to have a huge support system. I got my friends and my family. They haven’t really been asking for free tickets. If anything, they’re letting me know, ‘Hey, I bought tickets. I bought this amount of tickets and am coming out to support you.'”

“I’m not sure how long ago it was that we sparred, maybe three, four years ago. We just went about five rounds. Good, hard sparring session, but I’m not judging him off of that sparring session or past fights. We’re working hard to prepare for the best version of him, and I’m bringing the best version of myself.”

“It’s very special for me to be fighting here in San Diego. I grew up close by here. To all my family and friends that are coming, expect the best version of me. I’m coming with everything.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Giovani Santillan (L) and Angel Ruiz (R) pose during the press conference at Omni San Diego Hotel on October 13, 2021 in San Diego. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Angel Ruiz

“I learned a lot {with trainer Manny Robles} because he’s a great coach. He’s trained Oscar Valdez and Andy Ruiz Jr., and I learned a lot {under his tutelage}.”

“{Giovani and I} had great sparring. He’s a great fighter. I’m a great fighter, too. It was great work.”

“I lived all my life in Tijuana. I know San Diego. I lived a year here in Chula Vista. I’ll have a lot of the public here to support. This is my opportunity.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Giovani Santillan (L) and Angel Ruiz (R) face-off during the press conference at Omni San Diego Hotel on October 13, 2021 in San Diego. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

FRIDAY, October 15, 2021

ESPN+, Approximately 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT

Emanuel Navarrete vs. Joet Gonzalez, 12 rounds, Navarrete’s WBO Featherweight World Title

Giovani Santillan vs. Angel Ruiz, 10 rounds, welterweight

ESPN+, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT

Henry Lebron vs. Manuel Rey Rojas, 8 rounds, junior lightweight

Lindolfo Delgado vs. Juan Garcia Mendez, 8 rounds, junior welterweight

Javier Martinez vs. Darryl Jones, 6 rounds, middleweight

Floyd Diaz vs. Jose Ramirez, 4 rounds, bantamweight

Antonio Mireles vs. Demonte Randle, 4 rounds, heavyweight

Credit: Top Rank

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