The 30-year-old Mexican boxer retained his WBC super-featherweight title with a unanimous points victory over Brazil’s Robson Conceicao.
Valdez had been cleared to fight despite failing a drug test.
Judges at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, awarded the fight to Valdez 117-110, 115-112, 115-112.
Former Olympic champion Conceicao, 32, took the fight to the man he had beaten as an amateur and started the stronger.
But as he tired, Valdez started to take the upper hand and judges decided he had done enough to win.
Some have questioned whether the fight should have gone ahead at all after Valdez failed a test for the banned substance phentermine, a weight-loss drug, but was cleared to fight by a gaming commission.
Valdez insisted he was a clean fighter and believed he had accidentally ingested it via an herbal tea, while WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said phentermine was not a performance enhancer.
Jaime Munguia has been assigned his next opponent…
The 24-year-old Mexican boxer has been ordered to face Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a middleweight title eliminator by the WBC.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told ESPN that if no deal is struck by September 17, a purse bid will be ordered.
Munguia had been on a collision course with Gabe Rosado for a fall fight before the WBC made the announcement.
If the fight takes place, the winner would become the mandatory challenger to Jermall Charlo, the WBC champion at 160 pounds. However, there’s no guarantee Munguia (37-0, 30 KOs) will go through with the fight.
“Munguia just found out [about the Derevyanchenko possibility],” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN. “He’s going to circle back with us early next week.”
Munguia, a former 154-pound champion, is 3-0 (with three knockouts) since moving up to 160 pounds in January 2020. Despite his experience, Munguia is still raw. He’s clearly improving, though, as he raises his level of competition.
Munguia packs plenty of power and applies nonstop pressure. ESPN’s No. 4 middleweight is also big and strong for the division. If he fights Derevyanchenko, a longtime 160-pounder, Munguia will still easily be the bigger man.
Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10 KOs) has lost two in a row and three of his past four. However, all three losses came against elite competition. The Ukrainian dropped a split decision to Daniel Jacobs in a 2018 middleweight title fight. The following year, Derevyanchenko fought Gennadiy Golovkin in a brutal title bout, one of the best action fights of 2019. GGG won via unanimous decision, but the verdict was disputed by many.
Against Charlo, ESPN’s No. 6 middleweight wasn’t all that competitive. The 35-year-old hasn’t competed since that September 2020 outing.
It’s gloves on for David Benavidez in an effort to reclaim hisbelt…
The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and former WBC titlist is set to fight super middleweight world titleholder Anthony Dirrell in a bout mandated by the World Boxing Council.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced the decision Monday at a news conference in Istanbul, as the organization clarified its position on its 168-pound belt.
Sampson Lewkowicz, who promotes Benavidez, told ESPN that the fight with Dirrell has been agreed to and would take place in August or September.
Sulaiman had been weighing a request from contender Avni Yildirim for an immediate rematch with Dirrell. Benavidez had been due to make a mandatory defense against Dirrell last fall but was stripped of the title when he tested positive for cocaine. He served a suspension and returned to impressively knock out J’Leon Lovein the second round March 16 on the Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garciaundercard.
But with the title vacant — the WBC had declared Benavidez its “champion in recess” — Dirrell faced Yildirim for the vacant belt February 23 in Minneapolis, where Dirrell won a 10th-round technical decision in a close, action-packed bout. The fight had been stopped and sent to the scorecards because Dirrell suffered a bad cut over his left eye in the seventh round. By the 10th round, it had gotten worse and Dirrell was ruled unable to continue.
Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs), 27, of Turkey, and his promoter, Ahmet Oener, flew to Mexico City to meet with Sulaiman late last month to make their case for an immediate rematch. The WBC decided against it, but in ordering Dirrell-Benavidez, Sulaiman said Yildirim could return to fight on the Dirrell-Benavidez undercard and that he would get a mandatory shot against the winner of the fight (as long as Yildirim won the interim bout).
“I am very proud of these three fighters,” Sulaiman said. “Dirrell is a two-time WBC champion who has overcome adversity and defeated cancer; Benavidez is a young man who has come back from the evils of recreational drugs and has found a path for a new life; and Yildirim is a national hero hoping to become the first world champion from Turkey, who has dedicated his life with sacrifice and passion to make his dream come true.
“This is what boxing is all about — the best fighting the best and I applaud the three sides for working together in this process.”
Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs), 34, of Flint, Michigan, said he was pleased by Sulaiman’s decision and hopes to face Benavidez when he is able to return to the ring once his cut fully heals.
“I think it’s a big fight for boxing and for the super middleweight division,” Dirrell told ESPN on Monday. “It’s two of the top guys going against each other.”
After Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs), 22, of Phoenix, knocked out Love he made it clear he wanted to next fight Dirrell, who was ringside, in order to reclaim the belt he had been stripped of.
“I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt. He can’t call himself champion until he fights me,” Benavidez said in the ring at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, two weeks ago. “That’s my belt. I’m going to go get it. It’s mine.”
Dirrell said Benavidez had simply done to Love what was expected and that he looked forward to fighting him later this year.
“He did what he was supposed to do. All due respect to him, I think he was supposed to get him out of there,” Dirrell said. “They consider [Benavidez] one of the best so why not fight the best?”