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‘Vaquero’ Navarrete outlasts Oscar Valdez in brutal all-Mexican showdown

Emanuel Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) wanted an all-Mexican war to take his career to new heights, and that’s exactly what he got.

Navarrete defended his WBO junior lightweight world title via unanimous decision in a back-and-forth slugfest against Oscar Valdez(31-2, 23 KOs) Saturday evening in front of 10,246 fans at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 12: Oscar Valdez (L) and Emanuel Navarrete (R) exchange punches during their WBO junior lightweight championship fight at Desert Diamond Arena on August 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Navarrete’s reach and punch output were difficult puzzles for Valdez to solve. The 32-year-old native of Nogales, Mexico, tried to find openings for counterpunches from his high guard stance, using his head and feet to avoid Navarrete’s sudden bursts of combos.

But as the rounds progressed, Navarrete’s power made a difference as his left uppercuts and hooks caused swelling below Valdez’s right eye. In the fifth and sixth rounds, Valdez started to connect with counter left hooks. In the 10th, a war broke out in the center of the ring, with both fighters exchanging to win the final rounds.

Navarrete, however, kept control of the fight in the championship rounds and retained his title with scores of of 116-112, 118-110, and 119-109.

Navarrete said, “I feel happy to have been part of this card and of this next great chapter of Mexican boxing history. I am happy and appreciate Oscar for the great fight that we delivered.

“There was some inflammation in my right hand. And the more I used it, the more it hurt. But I had to overcome it.

“I think the people can best talk about what they saw. They saw the fight tonight. I was here fighting with Valdez. And I feel good. Thank God, I won. I appreciate what he did in the ring. He is a Mexican warrior. If the people want a rematch, they will demand it.”

Valdez said, “He is a warrior. I tried my best. We gave it our best. He is a warrior. He is a true champion. I’m sorry I disappointed everyone. I feel terrible. I wanted to give you all a great fight. I hope you enjoyed the fight. I hope to return strong.”

Credit: Top Rank Boxing 

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