Emanuel Navarrete Outlasts Joet Gonzalez to Retain WBO Featherweight Title

Emanuel Navarrete is keeping his title…

The 26-year-old Mexican professional boxer successfully defended his WBO featherweight title with a 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 unanimous decision over Joet Gonzalez, it was a constant action bout that could end up being a candidate for fight of the year.

Emanuel Navarrete

Neither fighter went down — although Navarrete (35-1, 29 KO) fell multiple times during the fight due to tripping. Both fighters threw a massive number of punches instead of being more patient in what they tried to land.

“The difference was the conditioning,” Navarrete said through an interpreter after the fight on ESPN. “It was a pretty close fight, but I think the conditioning was the difference.”

Navarrete won the fight, but Gonzalez showed how good of a fighter he can be. The 28-year-old Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KO) did what many other fighters cannot do — seemingly handle Navarrete’s high work rate well. At times, Gonzalez matched Navarrete’s constant flurries of punches with combinations of his own. It helped keep the fight competitive, even as Gonzalez’s face continued to get cut.

“It was a close fight. I thought I had the win,” Gonzalez said. “I hurt him, I believe, in the third or fourth round with a right hand. He buckled. Yeah, I thought I had the fight, man. I honestly did. I thought I had it seven rounds to five, eight rounds to four.

“I was really surprised by that score, 118-110, I believe. But it is what it is, man. I came, and I did my best.”

This, though, was the type of fight Navarrete wanted. After the victory, he said he wants to be in big fights in the future and would be open to a rematch against Gonzalez — a fight Navarrete said he would win again.

Navarrete’s power started to show in the second round, when he first cut Gonzalez with a gash under the right eye that became even bigger in the third round and appeared to reopen multiple times. After the cut was initially created by a left from Navarrete, Gonzalez’s cut man, Mike Bazzel, told ringside reporter Mark Kriegel that he was more concerned about the swelling underneath Gonzalez’s eye — swelling he worked on between almost every round.

“I felt good,” Gonzalez said. “He did catch me with a punch.”

Gonzalez said the swelling didn’t bother him much throughout the remainder of the fight. By the eighth round, Gonzalez’s white trunks had become partially pink and red. But Gonzalez, despite the cuts and the plethora of punches from Navarrete, continued to throw and land combinations, handling whatever hard power punches Navarrete threw.

Despite the champion’s power, Gonzalez rarely appeared in real trouble of being knocked down.

“Without a doubt I hurt him, but every single time he came back,” Navarrete said. “And he hurt me. A couple shots landed, hurt me during the fight.”

Navarrete threw 979 punches during the fight — an average of 81.6 per round. Almost half those punches — 406 of them — were jabs, a career high. He landed 272 punches (27.8%). Gonzalez threw 667 punches in the fight, an average of 55.6 per round, landing 169 (25.3%).

It was a work rate typical of a Navarrete fight, but something difficult to prepare for or truly understand due to the angles he throws punches from and the style he fights with. Gonzalez, in his second attempt at claiming a title, showed he can handle that — even if he didn’t win a belt.

Amanda Serrano Signs with Jake Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions

It’s a Most Valuable moment for Amanda Serrano

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler has signed with Most Valuable Promotions, as Jake Paul expands his footprint in the boxing world by signing one of its top female fighters.

Amanda Serrano

Serrano, one of the best women’s fighters in the history of boxing, signed the promotional deal with Paul, the YouTube-star-turned-prizefighter, and his adviser, Nakisa Bidarian, who founded Most Valuable Promotions earlier this year.

Serrano is a seven-division boxing champion who has held nine titles from 115 pounds all the way up to 140 pounds. She holds the Guinness record for most boxing world championships held in different weight classes by a woman. ESPN has her ranked No. 3 among women boxers on its pound-for-pound list.

“They’re such a powerful team,” Serrano said. “I’ve seen what they’ve done in the last two years — what Jake has done, what Nakisa has done for Jake. I’m looking forward to what they can do for me.”

Amanda Serrano

Paul described Serrano as the “greatest Hispanic female athlete of all time” and said he believes she has a “massive, massive future.”

Amanda Serrano, left, became a seven-division world champion with a 2019 victory over Heather Hardy. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

“Without really much help she’s gotten this far, with just her skills,” Paul said. “She hasn’t had someone with a big platform really put her on. She’s so marketable. And really the sky’s the limit, and that’s what we do at MVP. There’s a new era of boxing and there’s a new way about promoting these fights and there’s a new way to become a big fighter. So, she already has the skills, and now we’re going to add our secret sauce into the equation.”

One of the goals, they said, is to secure Serrano with a highly anticipated matchup with Katie Taylor, ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound women’s boxer. It would be one of the biggest fights ever in women’s boxing.

Bidarian said talks are ongoing with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, and they are targeting Taylor vs. Serrano for the second quarter of 2022 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Serrano will likely fight next on Paul’s undercard, potentially before the end of the year, and then move on to the blockbuster bout with Taylor.

“The only reason it wouldn’t get done is if the right deal isn’t presented for Amanda, and that’s Jake and I’s job to make sure that’s not the case,” Bidarian said of the Taylor fight.

Bidarian is the former CFO of the UFC and has been instrumental in helping guide Paul from being a famous YouTuber to one of the most talked about fighters in combat sports.

“I think the other part of it that we’ll be able to help [Serrano] with is negotiating the right deals, getting her the right positions for someone of her stature — whether it’s in the ring, whether it’s outside the ring, whether it’s a brand partnership, consumer products,” Bidarian said. “She should be one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world. We’re going to make sure that’s the case.”

Serrano (41-1-1) beat Yamileth Mercado in the co-main event of the card Paul headlined against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on August 29.

A Puerto Rico native who fights out of Brooklyn, she is the unified women’s featherweight champion, holding the WBC, WBO and IBO titles in that weight class.

Serrano has won 27 straight fights, a streak that dates back to 2012. She is also 2-0-1 in mixed martial arts.

“Even this last fight, I’ve gained so much followers, I’ve gained so much attention,” Serrano said. “A lot of people, they know who I am. A lot of people know me now because of Jake.”

Paul has more than 17 million followers on Instagram, and 40% of them are women. He said after his bout with Woodley that his female followers were buzzing the most about Serrano.

“Major priority of mine [is] to push for equality in all aspects of the sport,” Paul said. “I think she’s inspiring females and creating female boxing fans, which is awesome.”

When asked if he would be bringing more boxers in via Most Valuable Promotions, Paul said potentially, but they would have to be the right fit.

“For us, it’s quality over quantity,” Paul said. “We want our fighters to be the biggest. I think there will be more. We’re not in any rush. We want to take our time and our focus right now is just on Amanda.”

Brandon Figueroa to Put WBC & WBA Titles On Line Against Stephen Fulton in November

Brandon Figueroa is putting his titles on the line…

The 24-year-old Mexican American professional boxer, who currently holds the WBC and WBA super bantamweight titles, will face Stephen Fulton on November 27 at Park MGM in Las Vegas, according to Premier Boxing Champions.

Brandon Figueroa

The Showtime main event was set for September 18 but was postponed after Figueroa tested positive for COVID-19.

Murodjon Akhmadaliev, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at junior featherweight, holds two titles. After Fulton and Figueroa fight — assuming there’s no draw — there will be just two champions at 122 pounds, clearing the path for an undisputed title fight next year.

Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) won the WBO version of the title in January with a unanimous decision victory over Angelo Leo. The 27-year-old Philadelphian, ESPN’s No. 2 junior featherweight, threw 1,183 punches in the breakthrough win.

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) won the WBC junior featherweight title with a seventh-round KO of Luis Nery in a career-best performance in May. The volume puncher from Weslaco, Texas, and ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 122 pounds is the younger brother of former title contender Omar Figueroa Jr.

The bout, which features two volume punchers, seems like a can’t-miss action fight.

The undercard is topped by Ra’eese Aleem, ESPN’s No. 7 boxer at 122 pounds, against Eduardo Baez. Aleem is coming off a career-best win, an 11th-round stoppage of Vic Pasillas in January. Gary Antonio Russell, the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr., meets Alejandro Barrios in the 118-pound opener.

Oscar Valdez Agrees to New Multi-Fight Deal with Top Rank

Oscar Valdez is ready for the next chapter of his boxing career…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer and WBC junior lightweight champion has signed a new multi-fight contract with Top Rank, including his first defense of that belt this fall.

Oscar Valdez

Valdez won the title in his last fight, upsetting Miguel Berchelt on February 20. He is 29-0 with 23 knockouts, including winning four of his past five fights by knockout or technical knockout.

“I want to thank Bob Arum and Todd duBoef for their confidence in my abilities,” Valdez said in a news release announcing the deal. “I will not let them down. I also want to thank my manager, Frank Espinoza, for securing a great deal for me. This is a wonderful moment in my career, and I’m grateful to God for my blessings.”

Prior to his junior lightweight crown, Valdez held the WBO featherweight title from July 23, 2016, when he knocked out Matias Rueda, until his unanimous decision victory over Jason Sanchez on June 8, 2019, for a total of six title defenses.

“I have been very fond of Oscar from the moment we signed him,” Top Rank chairman Arum said in a statement. “And I am proud of everything he has accomplished.”

Jaime Munguia to Now Fight Kamil Szeremeta in June 19 Bout

It’s a change of plans for Jaime Munguia

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will have a new opponent in his main event on June 19 in El Paso, Texas, with Kamil Szeremeta stepping in on short-notice to take the bout.

Jaime Munguia

Munguia (36-0, 29 KO), the former WBO light middleweight champion, has since moved up to middleweight.

He was initially supposed to fight Maciej Sulecki, but instead will now face Szeremeta.

Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KO), from Poland, last fought in December, 2020, when he was stopped in the seventh round of an IBF middleweight title fight against Gennadiy Golovkin. It was the first loss of Szeremeta’s career.

This will be Munguia’s first fight since October 30, 2020, when he stopped Tureano Johnson in the sixth round.

When Munguia was at light middleweight, he defended his WBO title five times before moving up in weight class.

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez to Make Golden Boy Debut Against Sullivan Barrera

Gilberto ZurdoRamirez is ready to make his Golden (Boy) debut…

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a former super middleweight world titlist, will face former light heavyweight title contender Sullivan Barrera on July 9 in Los Angeles, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez

Ramirez (41-0, 27 Kos), of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, will make his Golden Boy debut after signing with the promotion in February.

Ramirez, who became the first fighter from Mexico to win a world title at 168 by defeating Arthur Abraham by unanimous decision in 2016 to win the WBO belt, defended the title five times before jumping up to light heavyweight. Since then, he has TKO victories over Tommy Karpency and Alfonso Lopez.

“I’m excited to be headlining this show in Los Angeles with Golden Boy Promotions,” Ramirez said via news release. “It’s going to be a great night of boxing with fans back in the stands. I’ve always enjoyed fighting here, and I can’t wait to put on a show to continue my hunt for the light heavyweight championship.”

Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs), 39, of Guantanamo, Cuba, lost his only attempt to win a world title against WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol in 2018. He has fought twice since then, a decision win against Sean Monaghan in November 2018 and a decision loss to Jesse Hart in June 2019. “I know that my opponent is a former world champion with a lot of experience and that he will come very much prepared,” Barrera said. “However, I feel that I have faced much better opposition. I’ve also spent my entire career in the light heavyweight division, something that will be totally new for him. It will be a difficult fight, but I will walk away with my hands raised in victory.”

Brandon Figueroa Knocks Out Luis Nery to Capture WBC Title

Brandon Figueroa is officially a WBC titleholder…

In a career-best effort, the 24-year-old Latino boxer knocked out Luis Nery in the 7th round to become a legitimate titleholder in the 122-pound division.

Brandon Figueroa

Their two-belt title fight ended with Figueroa putting Nery down for the count in their Showtime main event on Saturday evening at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

A right uppercut followed by a left to the body forced Nery to the canvas via delayed reaction knockdown, with referee Thomas Taylor counting him out at 2:18 of round seven.

“It feels amazing,” Figueroa stated after claiming Nery’s WBC 122-pound title while defending his secondary WBA belt. “It’s a dream come true that I’ve had since I was seven years old. Now I’m here living it.”

The pair of unbeaten junior featherweights did their best to live up to lofty pre-fight public expectations of a slugfest. As much was expected by Nery and Figueroa from the moment they posted wins in separate bouts on the September 26 Showtime Pay-Per-View event in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Tijuana’s Nery became a two-division titlist that night, outpointing countryman Aaron Alameda to win the WBC junior featherweight strap. Figueroa tore through Damien Vazquez in a 10th round stoppage to defend his secondary WBA title to pave the way for a showdown with Nery.

Figueroa—born and raised in Weslaco, Texas—improves to 22-0-1 (17KOs). The unbeaten titlist landed 177-of-648 total punches (27%), including 173-of-533 power punches (32%). None were bigger than the left hand that put Nery down and done for the night.

“I know everybody doubted me, but it’s all hard work,” Figueroa noted. “We did our homework. We took our time and just took it to him. Joel (Diaz, Figueroa’s trainer) kept telling me to pressure him, that he wasn’t going to last. I did just that.”

Figueroa was ahead 58-56 on the scorecard of Zachary Young at the time of the stoppage, while Dr. Lou Moret had it 59-55 in favor of Nery. Edward Hernandez Sr. saw the action even at 57-57, with Figueroa ultimately taking it out of the judges’ hands.

The win comes two weeks after older brother Omar Figueroa suffered a knockout loss to Abel Ramos in this very venue. The younger Figueroa also came through for his family in August 2019, scoring a 4th round knockout of Javier Chacon at home which came one month after Omar suffered his first career defeat.

This arena holds a special place in Figueroa’s heart, having won the WBA interim junior featherweight title in an 8th round knockout of Yonfrez Parejo in April 2019. He was eventually upgraded to “World” champion though still secondary to WBA “Super titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0. 7KOs).

Figueroa now holds the WBC belt and has a chance to add the WBO strap when he faces defending champ Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8KOs) on September 11. Fulton will be the favorite heading into the bout, though Figueroa is already used to that as the majority of industry insiders pegged Nery to prevail.

Canelo Alvarez Defeats Billy Joe Saunders to Claim WBO Super-Middleweight Belt

Canelo Alvarez has expanded his belt collection….

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer added the WBO super-middleweight belt to his growing collection, defeating Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night in front of a record-breaking 73,126 crowd inside Texas’ AT&T Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

The attendance figure set an all-time record for an indoor US boxing event — breaking the previous record set in 1978 when Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks in front of 63,352 at the Louisiana Superdome — and marked the largest crowd at a sporting event since the pandemic began.

Alvarez dominated the opening seven rounds, leading on all three judges’ scorecards, before a brutal uppercut in the eighth caused a deep cut under Saunders’ right eye and left the Briton unable to come out for the ninth round.

Saunders was reportedly taken from the venue by ambulance straight after the fight to have the extent of his injuries assessed.

“As I said beforehand, the fight was going to develop by the seventh or eighth round,” Alvarez told broadcaster DAZN. “That’s what happened, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. That’s where I take note that my preparation is good and I improve day by day.

“The fight I was winning round by round. I told you, my fight would develop after six or seven rounds, but I started getting adjusted quickly. I knew that this round (the eighth) was going to be the final round. I knew it. I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out. That was it.”

Alvarez, widely considered one of the best boxers in the world, said “the plan” now was to unify the super-middleweight division by claiming the IBF belt held by American Caleb Plant.

“I’m coming. I’m coming, my friend,” he said.

The hugely popular fighter delighted what appeared to be a largely Mexican crowd, raising his arms at one point during the fight to encourage the already raucous arena to make more noise.

“It’s difficult to explain,” Alvarez said of their support. “I don’t have the words. All the emotions I feel, they give me the motivation to continue on.”

Jaime Munguia to Fight Maciej Sulecki in June

Jaime Munguia will be heading back to the ring in June…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will now face Maciej Sulecki in a middleweight battle set for June 19, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Jaime Munguia

The fight between Munguia and Sulecki was originally scheduled for April 24 at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, but Sulecki suffered an injury and was forced to pull out of the event. D’Mitrius Ballard was named as a replacement opponent, but Ballard was also injured before the fight. Now, with Sulecki recovered, the original fight will go on.

According to Golden Boy, strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and capacity will be down to 40%. The fight will air on DAZN.

Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) won the WBO junior middleweight title against Sadam Ali in 2018 and defended the belt five times before moving up in weight in January 2020. He has TKO victories over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan and Tureano Johnson at middleweight.

“I feel very excited to be returning on June 19,” Munguia said via a news release. “I know it will be a tremendous fight against Maciej Sulecki. I think he is a great fighter, and I will make sure to deliver a great fight to all the fans.”

Sulecki (29-2, 11 KOs), 31, of Poland, has won three of his past four fights. He lost a unanimous decision to Demetrius Andrade when he challenged for the WBO middleweight world title in June 2019.

“There have been many changes, but I am happy that things will take place as planned,” Sulecki said. “I know that a victory against Jaime Munguia will put me on the path to challenge for a world title. That’s why securing this fight was very important to me. I feel great, and I am totally ready to show the world that I can compete against the best in the division.”

Elwin Soto to Defend WBO Flyweight World Title Against Katsunari Takayama

Elwin Soto is going on the defense…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will defend his WBO flyweight world title against former strawweight champion Katsunari Takayama on the Canelo AlvarezBilly Joe Saunders undercard on May 8 at AT&T Stadium, according to ESPN.

Elwin Soto Elwin Soto

Soto (18-1, 12 KOs) will be making the first defense under the Matchroom Boxing banner, after agreeing to a co-promotional contract on April 9. Soto is also promoted by Zanfer Promotions. 

Soto won the title in 2019 with a 12th-round KO of Angel Acosta. He has made two defenses of the belt, including a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Buitrago last October.

Takayama (32-8, 12 KOs), 37, of Japan, is a five-time strawweight titlist. He moved up in weight in December in a six-round unanimous decision victory over Reiya Konishi in Osaka.