By: Hans Themistode
Seemingly everywhere Oscar Valdez turns, he hears his name on the lips of a 130 pounder.
The newly crowned WBC super featherweight champion staked his claim earlier this year with a one-sided drubbing over former titlist, Miguel Berchelt. Despite being considered a sizable underdog, Valdez went on to drop Berchelt a total of three times before closing the show in the 10th round.
Since wrapping that world title around his waist, Valdez’s name has become ubiquitous. Although the callouts have been nonstop, Valdez enjoys hearing that so many fighters want to take him on.
“It feels good because everybody wants to get the WBC belt,” said Valdez to ESNEWS. “Everyone wants to go against the champ.”
Amongst the many that are eyeing a showdown against Valdez is Shakur Stevenson. The former 2016 Olympic silver medalist is coming off a dominant victory over Jamel Herring. Following Stevenson’s win, he placed his newly won WBO title over his shoulder and proceeded to call for a unification showdown against Valdez.
Admittedly, Valdez acknowledges that Stevenson is a truly skilled fighter. That said, with both fighters signed to the same promotional company in Top Rank, Valdez doesn’t see why the fight can’t and won’t happen soon.
“Shakur has that belt, I have a belt, why not make the fight? The best have to fight the best. If we can make the fight happen now, let’s make it happen.”
Regardless of both fighters chomping at the bit to swap fists against one another, promoter Bob Arum has other ideas. While he would also like to see both Stevenson and Valdez face-off, he’s attempting to put together a mini 130-pound tournament.
On one side this presumed tournament would be a showdown between Valdez and WBO 126 pound champion, Emanuel Navarrete. The Mexican native is fresh off a fight of the year contender against Joet Gonzalez earlier this year. On the other side of the bracket would be a matchup between Stevenson and Berchelt. Following their respective victories, the winners would meet in a 130-pound unification.
Although Arum is hoping to finalize those matchups by the first quarter of 2022, Valdez isn’t entirely interested in taking part. In the end, the WBC belt holder has made his feelings succinct in terms of what he wants to do next.
“I truly want Shakur. The only reason is because he’s been calling out my name for quite some time. I don’t want nobody to think I’m ducking. Let’s do the fight, let’s get it on right now.”
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