By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) has never been known for dodging the competition, or folding when the going gets tough. In a 2018 matchup against Scott Quigg, Valdez broke his jaw early in the contest but managed to push through and hold on to his WBO featherweight world title.
That performance, coupled with his action packed fighting style, made him a fan favorite. So it came as a surprise once Valdez began to hear the word “duck” associated with his name.
In 2019, the former WBO belt holder was staring at a mega showdown with the highly touted Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs). Instead of taking on his mandatory in Stevenson however, Valdez opted to move up in weight. Now, he finds himself in line to face current WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs).
Although Valdez has always kept his head down and tuned out the noise, he admitted that this time around, it annoyed him.
“I was a little bothered,” said Valdez in an interview with Fight Hub. “People were thinking that I moved up a division because I was ducking Shakur Stevenson. I’m trying to face Miguel Berchelt.”
While Valdez moved up and made himself feel at home at 130 pounds, Stevenson began decorating his new residence at 126. The former Olympic silver medalist took home the newly vacated featherweight title and began to make his presence known. However, after a short reign, Stevenson has decided to move up to 130 pounds. He immediately placed his eyes on Valdez. The former WBO belt holder is receptive to the idea, but he believes a win over Berchelt will be a bigger feather in his cap.
“I personally think he is a way tougher fight than Shakur Stevenson,” explained Valdez. “He’s a harder puncher, he’s a natural 130 pounder and he’s knocking all of these guys out. If I was scared to fight somebody then you would think it would be Miguel Berchelt. I’m not scared to fight any fighter, especially Shakur Stevenson. He’s a great fighter, very technical fighter. Olympic Silver medalist, so there’s nothing bad I can say about him.”
At the moment, Valdez already has his future mapped out. If things go how he believes they will, then a showdown with Stevenson is something that he isn’t running from.
“Right now I have Jayson Velez next. If everything happens the way I want it, which is win against Velez, then I fight for the title and win, then if he’s right there and I’m pretty sure he is going to be mandatory, then I have no problem fighting Shakur. I truly have no problem fighting anybody.”