Emanuel Navarrete Finalizing Deal to Fight Oscar Valdez in Q1 2023

Emanuel Navarrete could be heading back to the ring in early 2023…

The 27-year-old Mexican professional boxer, a two-division world champion, and Oscar Valdez are in the process of finalizing a deal for a fight in the first quarter of 2023, according to ESPN.

Emanuel Navarrete,It’s expected one of the two 130-pound titles vacated by Shakur Stevenson will be on the line in the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event.

There are no signed contracts at this time, sources said, for a matchup that will feature fellow action fighters from Mexico. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told Fight Hype on Wednesday “that fight, I think, is definitely gonna happen.”

Navarrete, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 126 pounds, will move up to junior lightweight for the biggest fight of his career. He is the WBO‘s featherweight champion; he’s made three defenses of the belt he won in October 2020.

Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) also held a title at 122 pounds. A volume-punching brawler, Navarrete is coming off a sixth-round KO of Eduardo Baez in August.

Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) is a former champion at featherweight and junior lightweight. The 31-year-old Olympian suffered the first loss of his pro career in April, a lopsided decision against Stevenson in a unification bout.

ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 130 pounds, Valdez tested positive for the banned stimulant phentermine last summer ahead of a decision victory over Robson Conceicao.

Robson Conceicao Defeats Xavier Martinez by Decision

Robson Conceicao is back with a vengeance…

In the first fight since his first pro defeat of his career by Oscar Valdez, the 33-year-old Brazilian professional boxer dominated Xavier Martinez on Saturday.

Robson Conceicao,Fighting far more aggressively than he did in his controversial decision loss to Valdez, the judges scored the bout 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90 in Conceicao’s favor.

With the impressive performance in the 10-round ESPN main event, Conceicao (17-1, 8 KOs) set himself up for another title opportunity at 130 pounds.

“I was able to be dominant this evening because I put in such hard work because I was motivated,” said Conceicao, an Olympic gold medalist. “I know I should be the champion. I know I beat Oscar Valdez. He has a fight against Shakur Stevenson, and I think Shakur is going to win. But as a fan and a fighter, I want Oscar to win because he owes me a fight.”

Besides the third round, when Martinez buckled his opponent with a left hook in the closing seconds, Conceicao was in control. He used his long jab to beat Martinez to the punch consistently and befuddled him with his excellent footwork.

Martinez, who was making his Top Rank debut after a long stint with Mayweather Promotions, emerged with a swollen right eye in the first loss of his pro career. The 24-year-old from Sacramento was stepping way up in competition following a career-best win over fringe contender Claudio Marrero.

“I know I didn’t do enough to win; I sat back too much,” said Martinez. “I didn’t listen to the game plan fully. It is what it is. I’m not going to be a sore loser. He did his thing tonight. It wasn’t my night. I’m not done. This is just the beginning.”

But Conceicao is a legitimate top-10 boxer in one of boxing’s best weight classes, ranked No. 9 by ESPN (Martinez entered No. 10). And he wants a chance at revenge.

“I learned a lot from that Oscar Valdez loss, and that’s why I was able to dedicate myself,” Conceicao said. “I wasn’t discouraged by what happened that evening. I know who I am, and I knew if I put in the work, I could have this type of performance. But my mind is set on Valdez, and I definitely want that shot.”

Oscar Valdez Finalizing Deal to Battle Shakur Stevenson in Junior Lightweight Title Unification Fight

Oscar Valdez is readying for a unifer

The 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer is finalizing a deal for a 130-pound title unification fight against Shakur Stevenson on April 30 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN sources.

Oscar Valdez

No financial agreement has reportedly been reached for the proposed ESPN main event.

After Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) scored a brutal knockout of Miguel Berchelt in February to claim a junior lightweight title, Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) publicly lobbied for the title opportunity. Instead, Stevenson settled for a shot at Jamel Herring, another 130-pound titleholder promoted by Top Rank.

Stevenson, 24, seized his chance with the best performance of his career, a 10th-round TKO of Herring in October. Long dogged by criticism that he doesn’t fight aggressively, the Newark, New Jersey, native applied nonstop pressure during the one-sided beating.

Now, Stevenson is on the verge of landing the fight he wanted all along but with two belts on the line.

While the Olympic silver medalist enters the potential fight with momentum on his side, Valdez is looking for redemption.

The two-time Olympian from Mexico tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug phentermine in August, just weeks before he was set to make the first defense of his title.

Despite the adverse finding, Valdez was allowed to fight Robson Conceicao as planned. Valdez was installed as a heavy favorite but struggled during the first half of the bout en route to a controversial decision victory.

Valdez was ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 130 pounds before he was dropped from the rankings due to the failed test. Stevenson is currently ESPN’s No. 1 junior lightweight.

Oscar Valdez Defeats Robson Conceicao to Retain WBC Super-Featherweight Title

Oscar Valdez is keeping his title…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer retained his WBC super-featherweight title with a unanimous points victory over Brazil’s Robson Conceicao.

Oscar Valdez

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.

Hebert Conceição Notches Rare Olympic Knockout to Claim Gold in Men’s Middleweight Boxing at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It’s a knockout Olympic performance for Hebert Conceição

The 23-year-old Brazilian boxer became the fifth men’s middleweight boxer all-time to win Olympic gold via a knockout during his men’s middleweight middleweight boxing match at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Hebert Conceição

In an exciting bout, Conceição knocked down Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the third round after losing each of the first two rounds to his opponent.

Hebert Conceição

The other four men’s middleweight boxers to win a gold medal via a knockout were Charles Mayer of the United States at the 1904 St. Louis Games, Floyd Patterson of the United States at the 1952 Helsinki Games, Gennadi Schatkov of the Soviet Union at the 1956 Melbourne Games, and Vyacheslav Lemeshev of the Soviet Union at the 1972 Munich Games.

Hebert Conceição

Conceicao became the second Brazilian boxer all-time to win Olympic gold. The first was Robson Conceição, who won the gold medal in the men’s lightweight division at the 2016 Rio Games.

Conceição Wins Brazil’s First Gold Medal in Boxing at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Robson Conceição is officially Brazil’s first boxing Golden boy….

The 27-year-old Brazilian amateur boxer won Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medal on Tuesday night at the 2016 Rio Games, delighting a frenzied home audience with a unanimous decision over France’s Sofiane Oumiha.

Robson Conceição

But Conceição couldn’t step up onto a medal podium without thinking about where his journey began.

His mind is never far from his impoverished neighborhood, where he discovered and honed a boxing talent that finally lifted him all the way into Brazilian sports history.

“It’s amazing that my life has changed forever,” Conceição said.

The largest boxing crowd of the Olympics filled the arena with songs, cheers and foot-stomping craziness for Conceição, who found his path out of poverty through the boxing rings of the state of Bahia, the sport’s biggest hotbed in Brazil.

Robson Conceição

“It was an incredible feeling to represent the whole of Brazil and also Bahia,” said Conceição, who stood atop the podium with his arms raised, basking in cheers.

“I continued to fight because of them. They gave me the strength when I was fighting, so it was an incredible feeling. It’s because of them that I got this medal.”

Conceição is an appropriate trailblazer in a sport without a rabid passion or fan base in Brazil. Conceição fights aggressively, but with a Cuban-style skill base and an elusive fluidity that contains hints of capoeira, samba and the clever style of Anderson Silva, Brazil’s greatest mixed martial artist.

Even if they don’t follow boxing, everybody in Brazil recognizes something in his style, Conceição suggested earlier in the tournament. And now they’ll all understand the gold around his neck.

Conceição, a three-time Olympian, reached the peak of his skills just in time for his home games, storming through his bracket as the third seed and winning gold.

He credits his abilities to Bahia, where athletic Cuban fighting styles are often taught by imported Cuban coaches.

“Bahia has got the strongest reputation for boxing in the whole of Brazil,” he said. “That’s only because there’s a lot of poverty. A lot of kids are encouraged to box to get out, to escape.”

Brazil had won one silver and three bronze boxing medals in its modest Olympic boxing history, but Conceição proved he deserved his gold with a strong performance against Oumiha.

Conceição’s elusiveness, aggressiveness and creative punching kept Oumiha frustrated and hurt for the first two rounds, and a solid third was too late for the Frenchman.

Conceição collapsed to his knees when the decision was announced. He then jumped against the turnbuckle and onto the ropes, waving his adoration at the singing, roaring crowd. He eventually climbed out of the ring to kiss his young daughter, Sofia, and his wife, Erika Mattos, who is also a boxer.

Conceição claimed Brazil’s third gold medal of its home games, joining men’s pole vault champion Thiago Braz da Silva and women’s judo lightweight Rafaela Silva.

Unlike most of his Brazilian boxing teammates, Conceição is a tested veteran and a serious contender for the top honors in their sport. Along with his Olympic experience at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games, he finished second at the 2013 world championships and third in 2015.

After receiving an opening bye, Conceição advanced to the gold-medal match with a quarterfinal win over Uzbekistan’s Hurshid Tojibaev and a cathartic semifinal victory over Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez, a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic bronze medalist.

Alvarez Earns Second Consecutive Boxing Bronze at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Lazaro Alvarez will have to settle for a second consecutive bronze medal…

The 25-year-old Cuban amateur boxer, the reigning world champion, lost to Brazil’s Robson Conceicao in the semifinals of the Men’s Light 60 kg competition at the 2016 Rio Games.

Lazaro Alvarez

Conceicao was down on the scorecard heading into the final 30 seconds before a flurry of punches overwhelmed Alvarez.

The Brazilian is now guaranteed an Olympic gold or silver in his third Games, while Alvarez takes bronze.

Lazaro Alvarez

At the 2012 London Games, Alvarez beat Joseph Diaz and Robenílson Vieira but lost to Ireland’s John Joe Nevin 14-19 and won Bronze.