By: Hans Themistode
Robson Conceicao kept quiet for the past few days. The former 2016 Olympic gold medalist was well aware of the positive drug test produced by Oscar Valdez and the subsequent controversy that emerged from it.
In the end, the 32-year-old simply vowed to strip Valdez of his WBC super featherweight title. Yet, in front of a pro-Valdez crowd, at the Casino Del Sol, in Tucson Arizona, Conceicao was forced to accept defeat for the first time in his career.
Despite heading into his first world title fight, Conceicao appeared cool, calm, and collected. He kicked off the first round with a strong and consistent jab. With Conceicao holding a five-inch reach advantage, he made sure he used all of it. He boxed, moved, used his legs, and peppered Valdez with strong combinations.
A lethargic Valdez appeared slow and uninspired. As the bell rang to begin the start of the second round, Valdez was seemingly stuck in the mud. The two-division world champion simply couldn’t get his offense going and Conceicao continued to take full advantage.
As the Brazilian began pulling ahead, he attempted to earn a few style points. During the early goings, Valdez missed with a huge right hand. Conceicao smiled, placed his hand on his head, and looked into the crowd as if he was saying Valdez missed his right hook by a mile.
The showboating ways of Conceicao wouldn’t last long, however, as Valdez began finding his rhythm. With stablemate Canelo Alvarez vehemently cheering him on, Valdez connected on a mesmerizing one-two combination that visibly shook his man. Alvarez rose to his feet, as did the rest of the crowd, that in turn, motivated Valdez. The 30-year-old world champion pushed Conceicao back and had his best round of the night.
Despite the swing in momentum, Conceicao carried himself as though he was dominating the fight. The 32-year-old continued to showboat while getting his offense going. In the ninth round, however, things took an awkward turn for the worst. After engaging in a bit of clinch work, Conceicao tapped Valdez in the back of the head lightly. Those actions ultimately led referee Tony Zaino to take one point from Conceicao.
During the championship rounds, Valdez begged and pleaded with Conceicao to stand in the middle of the ring and swap fists as opposed to boxing and moving. The Brazilian native ignored the request of Valdez and continued to box. While he had moments of success, it was the aggressive nature of the WBC belt holder that ultimately led to him winning a close unanimous decision on the night.
With his title safely draped over his shoulders, Valdez didn’t mince words when asked who he would like to fight next.
“We want the winner of Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson,” said Valdez following his win. “Their great champions.”
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