Emanuel Navarrete Knocks Out Eduardo Baez to Retain WBO Featherweight Title

Emanuel Navarrete is keeping his title…

The 27-year-old Mexican professional boxer knocked out Eduardo Baez in the sixth round to retain his WBO featherweight title and defend his belt for the third time.

Emanuel NavarreteNavarrete landed a shot to the left side of Baez coming off a right uppercut. Baez paused for a second and then took a knee and couldn’t even attempt to get up from there, falling to the canvas outright after the 10-count ended the fight 1 minutes, 5 seconds.

“It comes with my blood,” Navarrete said of the punch after the fight. “And you can see, I don’t throw a perfect left hook like you’re used to seeing, but this one came out perfect for me, and you saw the result because not many guys can take that shot.”

The fight was close and competitive going into the sixth round. Baez (23-3-2, 7 KO) had outlanded Navarrete 92-89 in the first five rounds and seemed to be handling Navarrete’s unorthodox style well. At points, Baez even felt like the aggressor against Navarrete (36-1, 30 KO), who hasn’t lost a fight in over a decade.

By fight’s end, Baez outpunched Navarrete 96-94 and landed more body punches, 34-12. He also had more jabs than Navarrete, 23-20, but Navarrete landed more power punches, 74-73. Baez also landed a better percentage of his punches in every round of the fight.

At the time of the stoppage, Baez was up on two of the three judges’ scorecards, according to the ESPN broadcast.

“I expected a fight like this,” Navarrete said. “I never underestimated Eduardo Baez. I always knew that he was an excellent fighter and the fact that he hit pretty hard and it was a lot more complicated than I anticipated.

“Then came that shot, and I was able to finish him.”

Navarrete said his 10-month layoff and having to make 126 pounds made the fight more difficult for him. He declined to say whether this would be his last fight at featherweight, but said he believes he has multiple options for his future.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. Defeats Michael McKinson via Technical Decision

Vergil Ortiz Jr. has registered another knockout.

The 24-year-old Mexican-American boxer defeated Michael McKinson via technical decision with a ninth-round stoppage at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, extending his strong start to the year.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.And with his 19th knockout in as many fights, Ortiz showed why he’s one of the top welterweight contenders in the world — even if he didn’t feel like he was at his best.

“The first seven rounds, I didn’t really do anything good,” Ortiz said in the post-fight interview with DAZN. “I had to adjust big time. I should have listened to my corner from the beginning. But I listened and we got it done.”

Ortiz and McKinson were initially scheduled to fight in March. The fight was postponed when Ortiz was hospitalized because of rhabdomyolysis.

Saturday’s bout, just a few miles away from Ortiz’s hometown of Grand Prairie, was considered a WBA eliminator. Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) will certainly maintain his status as the WBO and WBA‘s No. 1 contender in the 147-pound division.

But McKinson (22-1, 2 KOs) proved to be a tricky opponent. He was slippery around the outside of the ring and roughed Ortiz up on the inside as well.

Eventually, all the bodywork Ortiz’s corner asked for at the beginning of the fight manifested itself and paid dividends. In the final 30 seconds of the eighth round, Ortiz dropped the British fighter with a left hook to the body. McKinson went down in similar fashion at the beginning of the ninth round.

After he limped around the ring, his corner jumped to the top of the apron and threw in the towel.

Ortiz said his father, Vergil Ortiz Sr., yelled at him for three rounds for not following the game plan for the fight. The 24-year-old’s stubbornness eventually gave way to sound advice.

“You think you know everything, and you don’t,” Ortiz Jr. said.

A path to a title remains tricky because of the landscape within the welterweight division. Errol Spence and Terence Crawford, who was ringside Saturday, hold all four major belts and are in talks for a potential undisputed title fight. In his post-fight interview with DAZN, Ortiz acknowledged securing a title shot soon will be difficult because of that impending matchup.

But when it comes to taking on anyone else, he’ll fight whomever that opponent is.

Seniesa Estrada Signs Multiyear Deal with Boxing Promotional Company Top Rank

Seniesa Estrada is switching promotional teams…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer, the WBA strawweight and WBO junior flyweight champion, has left Golden Boy and signed a multiyear deal with Top Rank.

Seniesa EstradaEstrada is the second female fighter to sign with Top Rank, joining Mikaela Mayer, who signed a three-year contract extension earlier this year.

“It’s awesome,” Estrada told ESPN. “It’s like, I’m excited to get back in the ring.”

Estrada’s first Top Rank fight will be later this year, with the possibility of being in November. She said her contract is similar in finances to that of Mayer, who signed a deal for seven figures over the length of the agreement.

Estrada said she and Mayer talked a lot about the financial side of their contracts — a first for Estrada in speaking with another fighter — and it gave her comfort in what she was asking for.

Mayer and Estrada have become friendly in recent months — Mayer even convinced Estrada to join Twitter in April — and now the two will be the main women’s faces for the same boxing promotion.

Money, Estrada said, was part of this. Golden Boy had been her initial high-level promoter and she had done well there, reaching a 22-0 record with nine knockouts — including a seven-second knockout of Miranda Adkins on July 24, 2020 that was the fastest in women’s boxing history.

Estrada, originally from East Los Angeles, had been an active fighter for much of her pro career other than longer breaks during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Estrada had hoped to be in the ring earlier this year — she was going to fight in August — but terms couldn’t be agreed upon.

Estrada said part of the reason for her departure from Golden Boy was “I wanted more money, what I felt I deserved.”

Estrada said she also spoke with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Boxing when she sought a new promoter and almost went with the United Kingdom-based boxing promotion.

Hearn had given her a competitive offer, Estrada said, and the chance to main event and co-main event on DAZN cards. But Estrada said the Top Rank offer made more sense for her — in part because of the platform her fights would be on due to the deal between Top Rank and ESPN.

“Just the whole platform wise and exposure wise would be so much better for me so besides them giving me what I was happy with,” Estrada said. “Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I’m excited about it.”

Estrada is also the rare women’s fighter who has fought a three-minute round fight as a professional — her technical decision win over Marlen Esparza on November 2, 2019 was a 10-round, three-minute-per-round contest that was stopped after the ninth round due to a cut Esparza suffered as part of an accidental head butt.

Estrada said Top Rank has told her she will often be the main event or co-main event on cards she is on. She also offers the promotion another chance to build fights in Los Angeles, where the No. 6 pound-for-pound fighter in ESPN’s ratings is a draw both because of her Mexican American heritage and because she grew up in and still lives in the area. The 5-foot-2 Estrada has fought 17 of her fights in California.

“That’s definitely something that they want, so I’m happy with that,” Estrada said. “Especially in L.A., they want to put on more shows here in L.A. and knowing that I’m from here, they are hoping I can be able to sell.

“…In L.A., definitely, yeah. I would like to get the chance to show that. That would be great.”

Amanda Serrano to Share Fight Card with Jake Paul in Return to Madison Square Garden in August

Amanda Serrano is returning to the ring this summer…

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler will once again share a fight card with Jake Paul when they fight on August 6 at Madison Square Garden in what they’re labeling “two main events.”

Amanda SerranoThe fights will be on Showtime Pay Per View. It’s the second straight fight for Serrano at MSG and Paul’s first in the iconic venue.

Serrano will fight at featherweight, where she’ll defend her WBO and WBC belts for the first time since her August 29, 2021 fight against Yamileth Mercado.

Serrano, one of two clients of Paul’s management and promotional company, Most Valuable Promotions, last fought on April 30 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in a fight considered one of the best in women’s boxing history in a split-decision loss to Katie Taylor for the undisputed lightweight championship.

This will be the fourth fight for Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KO) attached to Paul. She first fought as the co-main event on Paul’s first fight against Tyron Woodley last August.

She signed with his promotional company a month later and fought as the co-main event on Paul’s second fight against Woodley in December.

She then fought Taylor in April, which was co-promoted by Paul and Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing.

There was thinking that Serrano’s next fight would be a rematch against Taylor in Ireland later this year — Serrano and Paul both said they would be open to it immediately after the April fight — but Hearn told multiple outlets in the past couple of weeks that such a fight would not take place in Ireland in the immediate future.

Paul (5-0, 4 KO) last fought in December, knocking out  Woodley. He said he was going to take a break after fighting four times in 13 months between November 2020 and December 2021, then announced an August return to the ring the day after Serrano fought Taylor at MSG in April.

“Back in the gym, back to training and excited, more excited and motivated than ever,” Paul told ESPN back in March. “You know, that was Chapter 1 of my boxing career, that was my rookie season, and now I get to go on another chapter here.”

Paul had initially said he was returning to the ring on August 13, but has now moved it up a week.

Yordenis Ugas to Fight Errol Spence Jr in Welterweight Title Unification Fight

Yordenis Ugas is ready for a unification bout…

will receive his shot at Errol Spence Jr. after all.

Yordenis Ugas,The 35-year-old Cuban professional boxer and reigning WBA welterweight champion will fight Errol Spence Jr. for a welterweight title unification fight that will take place in March or April on pay-per-view at a location to be determined, according to ESPN.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) had previously protested when the WBA mandated that he next defend his welterweight title against Eimantas Stanionis, but the latter boxer has agreed to step aside, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told ESPN on Sunday, paving the way for Ugas to fight Spence.

Spence and Ugas, who are both aligned with Al Haymon‘s PBC, are in the process of finalizing a deal

Spence’s WBC and IBF titles will be on the line, while Ugas will put up his WBA belt at 147 pounds. The other division title, the WBO strap, is held by Terence Crawford.

“Thanks to the WBA for doing the right thing,” Ugas tweeted. “It is an award for my dedication, and for being a brave man in and out of the ring. I will be fighting one of the best [pound-for-pound]. I’m a warrior. First Cuban fighting [for] three belts [in] one night. Thanks [to] all the fans who asked for this fight.”

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) was slated to fight Manny Pacquiao in August but withdrew after he suffered a detached retina in training. Ugas stepped in on 11 days’ notice and scored the upset of the future Hall of Famer, sending Pacquiao into retirement with a loss.

Ugas was in talks to fight Spence before Pacquiao accepted the assignment, and he hoped to reschedule the bout after the biggest win of his career (Spence was cleared to resume training on Nov. 1.) But the WBA planned to stick to its four-man box-off in an attempt to create only one champion at 147 pounds.

In one of those bouts, Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs) scored a ninth-round stoppage of Jamal James in October. Ugas and Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) were meant to fight each other in the other bout. Now, Butaev, a 28-year-old Russian, will meet Stanionis for the right to face the winner of Spence-Ugas after the WBA “agreed to modify the tournament from its original decision,” Mendoza said.

“Eimantas is looking forward to beating Butaev on the Spence vs. Ugas card and then fight the winner,” Schaefer said. “He is ready for anyone in the welterweight division.”

Stanionis, a 27-year-old Lithuanian, fought Luis Collazo in August, but the bout resulted in a no decision after a clash of heads resulted in a deep cut for Collazo.

Meanwhile, Spence, one of the biggest attractions in boxing, prepares for yet another comeback without a tuneup bout. The 31-year-old from DeSoto, Texas, was hospitalized with serious injuries in a single-car accident in October 2019.

He returned in December 2020 with a victory over Danny Garcia but hasn’t competed since.

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.