By: Eric Lunger
Mexican star Oscar Valdez will put his WBO featherweight strap on the line against seasoned professional Scott Quigg of the United Kingdom on Saturday night, live from the Stubhub Center in Los Angeles, and broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) has long been on the radar of Mexican boxing fans. He had a stellar amateur career, qualifying for the Mexican Olympic team at age 17 for the Bejiing Games then qualifying again and representing Mexico in London in 2012. Turning professional after London, Valdez was brought along carefully. His first title shot came in July of 2016, when he defeated Matias Rueda by second round knockout, picking up the vacant WBO featherweight belt.
Since then, the Nogales native has made three successful defenses. First, he stopped Hiroshige Osawa in the seventh round, on the Pacquiao vs. Vargas undercard in November of 2016. In April of last year, Vargas went twelve rounds against tough and tested Miguel Marriaga of Columbia, with Vargas scoring a unanimous decision. In Spetember of last year, Vargas outpointed previously undefeated Filipino contender Genesis Servania. In an exciting bout, Vargas was dropped for the first time in his professional career, as Servania caught him in the fourth. But the Mexican champion rallied and made the latter rounds his own, nipping the unanimous decision.
Vargas, now age 27, is a come-forward fighter with lots of power, making him an exciting fighter to watch. The Mexican champion knows what is at stake in taking on Quigg: “This will be my fourth defense, and I have learned a lot from my battles with Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania,” Valdez said via Top Rank press release, “Now I have an even more difficult fight against Scott Quigg. We are prepared… the belt stays with me in Mexico.”
Quigg is a household name in England, where he campaigned at super bantamweight for many years, holding the WBA belt in that division from 2013 to 2016. The Bury, Lancashire native lost the belt in a much-anticipated showdown with Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs). The fight went the distance despite Quigg suffering a jaw fracture in the fourth round, and the split decision went Frampton’s way (116-112, 116-112, 113-115).
Since then, Quigg has reeled off three wins, with his most recent victory coming against Oleg Yefimovych (29-3, 16 KOs) of Ukraine by way of sixth round TKO. Quigg is currently training with Freddy Roach, while Manny Robles, Jr., will be in Valdez’s corner on Saturday night.
Quigg expects an active fight: “Oscar and I have sparred before, when we were both preparing for other fights,” Quigg told Top Rank, “if the fight is anything like the sparring, the fans are in for a real treat.” Quigg knows Valdez will have a partisan home crowd on his side: “I look forward to coming out and everyone booing me. They can boo me in, but they will definitely be cheering me out.”