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Emanuel Navarrete-Oscar Valdez Unification Title Bolt Ordered by the WBO

Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez show respect after challenging their highly-anticipated rematch on August 12. Navarrete won by unanimous decision. Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank (via @TRBoxing)

Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez reunited.

The WBO has ordered a unification fight for Wednesday night. Both sides will have 20 days to reach terms, or they will head to a bid hearing.

According to the previous decision, Navarrete is required to defend his title against Valdez no later than September 15, 120 days from his last fight. Navarrete (38-2-1, 31 knockouts), No. 1 at 130, holds the WBO 130 title. Valdez (32-2, 24 KOs), No. 3 at 130, won an interim version of that title earlier this year.

Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank.

Such a fight will represent a rematch of their rematch last August 12 at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The all-Mexican fight saw Navarrete win by unanimous decision to retain his WBO junior lightweight title.

It also marked the last time Navarrete’s arm was raised in victory. The three-division prospect from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico drew with Robson Conceicao (18-2-1, 9 KOs) last Nov. 16 in Las Vegas.

Navarrete then moved up to lightweight, in an unsuccessful bid to claim the vacant WBO title at that weight. Denis Berinchyk (19-0, 9 KOs), No. 5 for 135, featured the 27-year-old by split decision on May 18 in San Diego.

The loss ended Navarrete’s 34-fight unbeaten streak dating back to the end of his first year as a pro in 2012. It also left him in a position where he must next honor his mandatory title defense.

Navarrete pushed his WBO ‘Super Champion’ status to cross the line and challenge for the lightweight title. With that decision, he needed to commit to 130 or 135 for his next fight. The decision to stay at 130 left him on the hook to make it back with Valdez no later than September 15th.

Valdez earned his way back to the top spot with a seventh-round knockout of Australian Liam Wilson (13-3, 7 KOs). Their fight on March 27 comes with the WBO 130 interim title at stake in the 11th hour concession.

The ESPN+ broadcast of the bout from the Desert Diamond Arena saw Valdez deliver his best performance in more than three years. Valdez moved up to the top of the 130-pound division after defeating Miguel Berchelt on Feb. 2021 to win the WBC title.

One successful defense followed before he lost the belt to Shakur Stevenson in their April 2022 unification bout. Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs), No. 4 at 135, won by unanimous decision to win The Ring championship and unify the WBC and WBO belts.

Valdez struggled to regain his title fight form after the loss to Stevenson. The former two-division contender was out for 13 months before he faced Adam Lopez (17-6, 6 KOs) in their rematch last May 20 in Las Vegas. He then lost to Navarrete and sat out the rest of the year, allowing various wounds—and his pride—to heal.

Defeating Wilson breathed new life into Valdez’s career.

Accordingly, the tournament for the failed fighters arrived in Navarrete in 2023—all at the Desert Diamond Arena. Wilson replaced Valdez in the title fight on Feb. 3 past. Navarrete was hurt for the first time in his career but bounced back for a ninth round stoppage to retain the vacant WBO 130 title.

Navarrete’s decision to fight anyone but Valdez will lead to the end of his current title. Valdez would make the full promotion instead of the interim title.

Follow @JakeNDaBox

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