Shakur Stevenson And Oscar Valdez Showdown Nearly Set For April 30th
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson began growing impatient as a showdown between himself and Oscar Valdez grew more and more unlikely.
Immediately following his 10th round stoppage win over Jamel Herring, to relieve the former marine of his WBO 130 pound title, Stevenson swiftly turned his attention towards Valdez and his WBC title. However, in the mind of Bob Arum, Stevenson’s promoter, he expressed a desire to match Stevenson against former WBC belt holder Miguel Berchelt. In the meanwhile, Arum also indicated that a matchup between Valdez and WBO 126 pound titlist Emanuel Navarrete, was firmly in his sights.
In Arum’s perfect world, the winners of those contests would then meet in a unification bout. While Valdez appeared open to the idea, Stevenson scoffed at prolonging his showdown against Valdez.
Despite Arum’s original thoughts, Stevenson is now on the verge of landing his first unification bout.
As first reported by Dan Rafael, formerly of ESPN, both team Valdez and team Stevenson are nearing a deal for a two belt 130 pound unification. Though the finish line is within reach, there are still a few small details that are left to be ironed out. As of now, their contest is expected to take place on April 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Valdez, 31, strung together arguably the best year of his career in 2021. To start things off, Valdez walked into his showdown against the previously mentioned Berchelt as a considerable underdog. Despite the odds, Valdez dominated, dropping the heavy-hitting former titlist a total of three times before scoring a brutal stoppage victory in the 10th.
Shortly after nabbing Berchelt’s WBC crown, Valdez eked out a close and somewhat controversial unanimous decision over Robson Conceicao.
Should Stevenson successfully dethrone Valdez and reign as unified champion, the 24-year-old no longer wants to see any pound-for-pound lists without his name near the top.
“My next opponent gone be a big surprise,” said Stevenson on his social media account. “Pound for pound me please.”
Shakur Stevenson More Interested In Oscar Valdez Showdown Over Vasiliy Lomachenko: “We Seen Lomachenko Lose Twice”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has enjoyed his time fighting under the promotional banner of Top Rank. But, despite his ongoing success, both Stevenson and longtime promoter Bob Arum, are diametrically opposed when it comes to his immediate pugilistic future.
Following a one-sided win over Jeremia Nakathila at the midway point of 2021, Stevenson marched confidently into his showdown against former WBO super featherweight titlist Jamel Herring. Although the crowd at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, vehemently cheered on the former marine, Stevenson effortlessly dissected his man throughout the night.
As the punishment continued, referee Mark Nelson saw enough, putting an end to their showdown in the 10th round. With the victory, Stevenson wrapped his second world title in as many weight classes around his waist.
For his next ring appearance, Arum has floated around the idea of matching up Stevenson with former three-division world champion and current pound-for-pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko. In the opinion of Stevenson, however, a showdown against the Ukrainian, while intriguing, isn’t at the forefront of his mind.
Considering both men’s track records, if the decision was solely up to the former Olympic silver medalist, he would much rather face off against undefeated WBC 130 pound titlist, Oscar Valdez.
“We seen Lomachenko lose twice,” said Stevenson during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “He beat a lot of great fighters but did we see him lose twice? We did right? How many times did we see Valdez lose? We never seen him lose before.”
Although Lomachenko currently occupies a high standing on most pound-for-pound lists, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist has suffered defeats during his time as a pro.
In only his second professional contest, Lomachenko attempted to become the fastest boxer in history to win a world title. However, though he would rally back in the second half, Lomachenko was handed a split decision loss to Orlando Salido.
For the next six years, Lomachenko outboxed and out-muscled his competition. As a result, he was crowned a world champion in three separate weight classes. Nevertheless, at the tail end of 2020, Lomachenko was surprisingly dethroned by Teofimo Lopez. Since then, the slick hitting southpaw has picked up back-to-back victories over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.
Still, regardless of Lomachenko regaining his form, Stevenson believes Valdez has been more impressive as of late.
“Valdez had a great performance with [Miguel] Berchelt, knocked him out and Valdez has never been beat. We saw him [Vasiliy Lomachenko] get in the ring with Teofimo and he looked kind of scared.”
Valdez, 31, sauntered his way to the ring against Berchelt in the first quarter of 2021, attempting to establish himself as a true player at 130 pounds. In his lone appearance as a super featherweight before his showdown against Berchelt, Valdez won a fairly close unanimous decision against journeymen Jayson Velez.
Even with most in the betting market and boxing world counting him out, Valdez had arguably the best performance of his career. The 31-year-old would go on to drop Berchelt a total of three times before registering a knockout of the year contender in the tenth to strip Berchelt of his WBC crown. Recently, Valdez defended his newly won strap against Robson Conceicao.
If Arum were successfully able to lure Lomachenko down to the 130 pound weight limit or convince Stevenson to move five pounds north, the Hall of Fame promoter believes a showdown between them would be box office gold.
While Stevenson isn’t opposed to facing Lomachenko, or anyone else for that matter, if he was given complete autonomy over his career, he would much rather take on Valdez.
“Valdez never lost, I never lost. I’m reaching the prime of my career, he’s in the prime of his career. The best vs. the best.”
Oscar Valdez Isn’t Interested In Facing Emanuel Navarrete: “I Truly Want Shakur, Let’s Get It On Right Now”
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.”
Shakur Stevenson Likely To Face Miguel Berchelt Says Bob Arum
By: Hans Themistode
It appears as though Shakur Stevenson is on the verge of getting exactly what he wants. He’ll just have to wait slightly longer than he would like.
Just a few short weeks ago, the former 2016 Olympic silver medalist truncated the title reign of former WBO 130 pound champion, Jamel Herring. Stevenson picked his man apart in front of a crowd of just over 5,000 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Once Stevenson ripped away Herring’s title and wrapped it around his 24-year-old waist, he immediately turned his attention to WBC belt holder, Oscar Valdez. For months now, Stevenson has wanted to snag away both Valdez’s title and his perfect record. But while the two-division titlist was hoping to face him next, promoter Bob Arum has other ideas.
“I want Valdez to fight Emanuel Navarrete,” said Arum during an interview with SkySports. “And to match Shakur against maybe [Miguel] Berchelt, who Valdez beat in a spectacular fight. We’d see how Shakur does with Berchelt, then we can match the winners.”
As previously mentioned by Arum, Berchelt was last seen in the ring suffering the most lopsided loss of his career. On February 20th, at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada, Berchelt squared off against Valdez in an all-Mexican showdown. By and large, Berchelt was expected to retain his WBC title. With that said, Valdez would put on a career-best performance, dropping Berchelt a four total of times before picking up a tenth-round stoppage victory.
Berchelt has since hinted at the idea of moving up in weight but at the moment, still competes at 130 pounds. While Stevenson has pushed back at the thought of facing anyone other than Valdez next, Arum is hoping to change his mind.
Long before Stevenson snagged his second world title in as many weight classes, the long-time promoter has been intrigued by the idea of having Valdez take on Navarrete.
Presently, the 126-pound champion would be forced to move up to 130 pounds in order to face Valdez. The come-forward Mexican recently fought a fight of the year contender against Joet Gonzalez, winning a close unanimous decision.
In the terms of when Arum plans on putting together this mini 130-pound tournament, the first quarter of 2022 seems like the logical answer.
“I think that’s the way to go. That’s what we will suggest to them. I hope to have Shakur back in the ring in March or April. Same thing with Valdez and Navarrete.”
Bob Arum Mulling Over Possible Oscar Valdez Vs. Emanuel Navarrete Showdown
By: Hans Themistode
Bob Arum has always been impressed with Emanuel Navarrete but his admiration for the WBO featherweight champion has seemingly gone to another level.
The long-time promoter sat comfortably in his ringside seat less than two weeks ago as Naverrete defended his world title against Joet Gonzalez. Arum couldn’t keep himself from smiling as the long-reigning champion fought a fight of the year contender en route to prolonging his championship status.
The 126-pound landscape has a slew of great fighters that Arum is more than willing to put his Top Rank promoted champion against. With that said, Arum is also intrigued by the possibility of Naverette moving up in weight to take on WBC 130 pound champion, Oscar Valdez.
“There’s a lot of places and a lot of good featherweights he can fight,” said Arum to FightHype.com. “What about him and Valdez? That would be some fight.”
A showdown between Valdez and Navarrete could placate several including the fighters, Arum, fight fans, and media pundits. However, Shakur Stevenson would be none too pleased if their contest were to take place next.
The newly crowned WBO 130 pound champion truncated the title reign of Jamel Herring this past weekend at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Following his win, Stevenson took aim at Valdez and claimed that Arum would be “protecting” his WBC champion if he placed him in the ring with Navarette as opposed to himself.
In spite of Stevenson’s criticism, the former 2016 Olympic silver medalist could be given no choice but to wait patiently on the sidelines.
Valdez, to his credit, has publicly asked for a showdown with Stevenson as well. The 30-year-old, much like Stevenson, recently wrapped another world title around his waist as he dismantled Miguel Berchelt earlier this year. Just a few months later, Valdez saw his stock take somewhat of a hit after eking out a controversial unanimous decision win over Robson Conceicao on September 10th.
With both world champions, albeit from different weight classes, pulling off recent victories, Arum has placed the ball in their court in terms of making their contest a reality.
“If the fighters sort of like the fight, it’s easy to make.”
Oscar Valdez: “We Want The Winner Of Shakur Stevenson And Jamel Herring”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez was expecting a much more arduous and fan-friendly fight.
The WBC super featherweight titleholder had hoped that former Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao would bite down on his mouthpiece and fight him. Yet, as the 30-year-old Valdez grew frustrated during their showdown, which took place at Casino De Sol’s AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, Arizona, he realized that a firefight simply wasn’t meant to be.
“I’m sorry I didn’t give you guys a knockout or a great fight,” said Valdez following his unanimous decision victory. “It’s hard to hit somebody when they’re running the whole fight.”
Despite what Valdez deemed as “running” the Mexican native protracted his title reign with a close and somewhat controversial decision. Now, with Conceicao behind him, Valdez is already eyeing his next opponent.
“We all want the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring,” said Valdez. “Let’s do it.”
On October 23rd, both Stevenson and Herring will settle their ongoing differences in the ring. While Herring’s WBO super featherweight title reign may have spanned over two years, the former Marine finds himself pegged as a significant underdog on the night.
Although wins against the likes of Lamont Roach and Carl Frampton have vaulted him towards the top of the 130-pound charts, Stevenson is viewed as a generational talent. The former 2016 Olympic silver medalist has been flawless during his brief career, rarely losing any rounds against his opponents and earning championship status in just his 13th pro fight against Joet Gonzalez at 126 pounds.
Seemingly uninterested in who comes out victorious during their showdown, Valdez had little to nothing to say in terms of choosing a winner. Instead, Valdez opted to tip his cap to both fighters and simply wants to share the ring with whoever is holding the WBO 130-pound title at the end of the night.
“Their great fighters, great champions. The best has to fight the best.”
Oscar Valdez Grinds Out Tough Decision Win Over Robson Conceicao
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.”
Oscar Valdez- Forever Tainted?
By: Hector Franco
As Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) prepares to make the first defense of his WBC super featherweight title against former amateur rival and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao (16-0, 8 KOs), the focus hasn’t been on the match itself, but what took place a few weeks beforehand.
Valdez, who was tested for this bout by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) within the WBC’s clean boxing program, tested positive in both his A and B samples for the banned substance phentermine. Notably, VADA has phentermine listed on their banned list for in and out of competition. In contrast, WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, doesn’t prohibit the substance until the in-competition period of 11:59 pm the day before the fight.
After some deliberation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission who is overseeing the fight-taking place in Tucson, Arizona, decided to allow the fight to move forward.
In a statement from the WBC, they would allow Valdez to defend his title against Conceicao. The WBC decided to put Valdez on probation status for 12 months. Valdez would have to participate in some mandatory programs, including participating in the WBC’s clean boxing program. If he fails any other tests during this period, he will face an indefinite suspension.
The discussion with phentermine centers not just on the substance itself, but if it can be used as a masking agent for more threatening performance-enhancing drugs such as EPO (Erythropoietin) and HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
“First of all, phentermine reduces your feelings of hunger, and that has obvious applications in cutting weight,” stated Dr. Justin Seltzer, a Medical Toxicology Fellow at the UC San Diego Department of Emergency Medicine, in an interview with Bad Left Hook. “So, in a sport where that is important, maintaining or cutting weight, it has potential value.
“But, for example, compared to an anabolic steroid, phentermine doesn’t have the same direct effect. You may or may not ultimately benefit from it. But, it certainly could confer some theoretical advantage in terms of weight loss, fatigue resistance, and physical intensity.”
Seltzer continued regarding phentermine’s potential as a masking agent.
“You also asked if it could function as a masking agent specifically. The answer to that would be no unless you’re taking other amphetamines. Routine urine drug screening would come back positive for amphetamines, so the only masking it could do in that context is covering for other amphetamines. As a result, its value as a making agent would be very low.”
Boxing is already one of the most difficult and dangerous sports one can participate in, with deaths taking place every year. Most recently, female boxer Jeanette Zacarias Zapata died due to injuries suffered in a boxing match in Canada, where she was stopped in the fourth round.
With the dangers associated with the sport for many, there is little room for context or nuance regarding performance-enhancing drugs and the testing involved. Some feel there is no gray area when it comes to drug testing, and it is a black and white issue.
Valdez has faced criticism from his fellow pugilists, such as the now-retired Timothy Bradley Jr. and super featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson.
“I hope Robson Conceicao knocks him the hell out,” Bradley said in an interview with ESPN. “And I’m a fan of Valdez; I’m really hurt by this. Whether this is a tea or whatever, nobody cares, you tested positive. I’m thinking that you’re dirty, my friend.”
Stevenson, who has the same promoter in Top Rank and fights in the same division as Valdez, shared his thoughts regarding Valdez’s drug test during an Instagram live interview.
“Valdez fails a drug test; he gets a slap on the wrist. If I fail a drug test, Lord Jesus.”
Throughout the entirety of the failed drug test coming to light, Valdez has maintained that he is unsure how phentermine got in his system and believes it may have been a herbal tea he was taking.
“I don’t know how that got into my body,” Valdez said to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “I know every fighter is responsible for whatever they consume, but on behalf of myself, I have no clear answer how they got into my body. I’ve always been and will always be a clean fighter.”
Unfortunately for Valdez, there is a vast majority of boxing fans and pundits who aren’t willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Currently, the WBC super featherweight champion is trained by Mexico’s Eddy Reynoso.
The Mexican trainer won the 2019 BWAA trainer of the year award and is regarded as one of the top elite trainers in all of boxing.
The gym in which Reynoso trains his fighters has not come without controversy, with his most significant and well-known fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez testing positive for banned substance clenbuterol in 2018. The following year, another fighter he trains tested positive for clenbuterol in WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez.
Valdez’s association with Alvarez and Martinez through Reynoso will make him guilty in the eyes of numerous fans for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve never been as hurt at this before,” Valdez said to ESPN. “Being discredited is one of the worst feelings. I just came out of a great victory. And I realize how many people, you know, immediately jump to conclusions. But at the same time, they’re right because the rules were broken.
“But a couple of months ago, everybody loved me. A couple of months ago, they were calling me a champ. ‘Hey, what’s up, champ?’ Now, everybody’s calling me a cheater. ‘Mr.Steroid. Mr. Anabolics. Mr. Performance Enhance Drug Taker.’
“My name will never be a hundred percent clear because a lot of people out there will always use that against me,” continued Valdez. “ Maybe because they don’t like me or maybe because they truly do believe that I’m trying to cheat. Or what the reasons are. They’re always gonna say, “Yeah, he cheated.’
“And people will always look at just the last fight or the last result. And they’ll only see the positive test. And when they see positive, they immediately assume there’s a steroid, or there’s a growth hormone or performance-enhancing drugs. Without knowing that all my other fights have been tested and came back negative, with the same VADA testing.”
So, what can Valdez do to help alleviate his situation?
He could take the opportunity and follow in future Hall-of-Famer Nonito Donaire’s footsteps and take the step in having drug-testing 24/7/365 in and out of competition.
However, it’s not just Valdez that should be tested all year long. That falls on every fighter that participates in the sport. We can’t have just a few fighters taking year-round testing as it will continue to allow others to escape without punishment.
Plenty of fighters throughout boxing history have tested positive for banned substances and would later be celebrated.
Shane Mosley, in 2007 admitted to taking designer steroids known as the ‘cream’ and the ‘clear’ before his 2003 rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. He then went on to participate in huge PPV events with Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and would eventually be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Roy Jones Jr. and his opponent Richard Hall both tested positive for androstenedione in 2000. At the time, Jones claimed that the substance might have been found due to him taking a supplement called ‘Ripped Fuel.’
However, other fighters have faced some form of punishment for testing positive for admittingly much more egregious drugs.
Infamously, heavyweight contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller received a two-year ban for multiple failed tests for EPO, HGH, and GW501516 in 2019. Former junior middleweight champion, Fernando Vargas tested positive for stanozolol in 2002 after his bout with Oscar De La Hoya and was fined $100,000 and faced a nine-month suspension.
The point being that Valdez can continue his career with many putting an asterisk next to his accomplishments. Frankly, there is nothing that Valdez can do to change everybody’s opinion of him without a time machine. There will always be those who look at him as a cheater no matter what he does moving forward.
The only thing he can do is continue fighting, and for him, hopefully winning. Over time many will forget or sweep under the rug the phentermine debacle. But, for many, the positive phentermine test will forever have tainted his career.
Robson Conceicao: “I’m Here To Slay Goliath”
By: Hans Themistode
Robson Conceicao was none too pleased with what took place earlier this week.
The former 2016 Olympic gold medalist was perturbed when news broke that Oscar Valdez, his upcoming opponent, tested positive for Phentermine. While it appeared as though Conceicao would lose his opportunity to dethrone Valdez for his WBC lightweight title, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission looked the other way, opting to look past the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s drug-testing rules and instead, abided by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules, which allows Valdez to take the substance outside of competition.
Although Conceicao has all rights to be apoplectic with what took place, the multiple-time Olympian has instead decided to sweep the matter under the rug. With everything out of his control, Conceicao is placing his focus on stripping Valdez of his world title.
“Not only the past week, all of training camp was difficult,” said Conceicao. “As far as what took place, what happened has happened. There’s nothing I can do about that, other than concentrate on the fight and beating him to become the new world champion.”
As for his championship hopes, Conceicao is just a few short hours from turning his dreams into a reality. The two are slated to face off later on tonight in Tucson Arizona at the Casino Del Sol.
Currently, the 32-year-old Brazilian is pegged as a significant underdog. Although he’s made numerous trips to the Olympic Games, holds a gold medal and an unbeaten record, Valdez is viewed as one of the best fighters in all of boxing, regardless of weight classes.
Recently, Valdez added to his credentials, dishing out a one-sided beating against Miguel Berchelt earlier this year. Despite most expecting Valdez to suffer a stoppage defeat, the Mexican native fought flawlessly on the night, dropping Berchelt several times over before ending things with a deleterious overhand left which saw Berchelt knocked unconscious well before his head bounced off the canvas.
Conceicao acknowledges the accomplishments of his upcoming opponent. But considering that the former gold medalist is the bigger man, he believes the division will have a new champion in short order.
“I am bigger than Valdez but he is the bigger name. He is the Goliath in this David vs. Goliath battle. I’m here to slay Goliath.”
Oscar Valdez Will Defend His WBC Crown Against Robson Conceicao
By: Hans Themistode
After picking up the biggest win of his career, Oscar Valdez won’t receive a soft touch in his return to the ring.
The current WBC super featherweight world titlist made it look extremely easy in his previous ring appearance against Miguel Berchelt. Although Valdez was viewed as the prohibited underdog, the Mexican native registered three knockdowns on the night before ultimately closing the show in the 10th.
Now, for his first title defense, Valdez will take on Robson Conceicao, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist who’s had little to no trouble in the pro ranks. The two are set to clash in Valdez’s home away from home in Tucson Arizona. Needless to say, the WBC belt holder was grinning from ear to ear once he was given the news.
“I am very excited to fight in my second home, Tucson, Arizona, where I will have my first defense of the WBC super featherweight world title,” said Valdez. “It motivates me to know that I will defend the title in front of my friends and my family, and I will be willing to put it on the line as in all my fights. I’m coming to give a great show to my people, and I can’t wait to see you on Sept. 10.”
While Conceicao figures to be a considerable underdog, he’ll march into their showdown with several physical advantages including a five-inch height and four-inch reach advantage. The Brazilian is coming off a destructive seventh-round win over Jesus Antonio Ahumada on April 10th. Although he refrained from guaranteeing he would also leave Valdez comatose, he did assure everyone that he’ll exit the ring that Saturday night with the world title of Valdez wrapped around his waist.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity, and that’s why I’m training with great determination,” said Conceicao. “I will represent my family and Brazil. I already won a gold medal for my country and now I will bring home a world title. With great determination, I will deliver a great performance. It will be a true spectacle!”
Oscar Valdez: “I Think Shakur (Stevenson) Can Beat Gervonta (Davis) But I Would Go With Gervonta”
By: Hans Themistode
Although it took place several months ago, Oscar Valdez hasn’t stopped smiling since defeating Miguel Berchelt in late February. The win for Valdez allowed him to wrap the WBC super featherweight world title around his waist.
Now, looking ahead, Valdez is currently weighing his options. Amongst them, is a showdown with former Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson. The two have jarred back and forth and appear willing to face one another in the near future. While that option is appealing, so is a showdown against multiple division titlist Gervonta Davis. The Baltimore native is currently scheduled to move up to 140 pounds in an effort to become a three-division world champion as he takes on WBA ‘Regular’ belt holder, Mario Barrios.
If for some reason, Davis decides to drop back down in weight, Valdez would love to step into the ring with him.
“I think he would be one of my toughest fights,” said Valdez during an interview with BoxingInsider.com “I know he struggles to make weight but he did make it for his last fight against Leo Santa Cruz. Me and him would be a great fight.”
Any talks of a matchup between Valdez and Davis will be met with immediate fulmination from Stevenson. After moving up in weight in 2020, the New Jersey native promptly shifted his attention to Valdez, consistently calling for a matchup between them.
By no means is Valdez avoiding any of the competition at 130 pounds but he simply views Davis as the more dangerous and interesting contest. If by chance, Stevenson opted to move away from Valdez and chase a showdown against Davis, Valdez views it as an extremely competitive contest. With that said, if forced to make a pick, Valdez grinds his teeth before ultimately making his selection.
“I think styles make fights. I think Shakur can beat Gervonta but I would go with Gervonta. He’s a strong, strong guy.”
Oscar Valdez: “I Think A Great Fight I Would Like Is Gervonta Davis”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez still has his head in the clouds at the moment. The now two-division star, picked up the biggest win of his career earlier this year against Miguel Berchelt. Going into their showdown, Valdez was given slim odds to pick up the win according to the betting world.
With Valdez (29-0 23 KOs) moving up in weight and Berchelt stopping 15 of his past 16 opponents, Valdez was expected to be in for a tough night. With that said, the fights are won in the ring, not on paper. Valdez made it look incredibly easy when the two faced off, dropping Berchelt in rounds four and nine before ending things with a perfectly timed right hand that left Berchelt comatose the moment it landed.
Although he has no idea when he’ll be stepping into the ring next, Valdez is in no mood to face a soft touch. In fact, if the business of boxing could be left out of it, he knows exactly who he would be facing next.
“I think a great fight I would like is Gervonta Davis,” said Valdez during an interview with Fight Hub TV.
Davis, 26, sat back like most of the world as he observed Valdez take care of business against Berchelt. With fans of the Baltimore native fantasizing of a fun back and forth contest between the pair, the hard-hitting two-division world champion was incredulous to the mere thought that their contest would be competitive.
“I’ll tuck him in like a baby,” said Davis following the win of Valdez on his Twitter account.
Davis, of course, is fresh off a big win of his own, a sixth-round knockout over former multiple division titlist Leo Santa Cruz on Halloween night last year. Since then, strong rumors have circulated that Davis will move up from his normal 130-135 pound weight division, to take on WBA “Regular” super lightweight champion Mario Barrios this summer. Regardless of whether a deal falls in place or not, Valdez would love to throw his name into the mix to take on the hard-hitting Davis (24-0, 23 KOs). In his opinion, with the nonstop barrage of punches both have been known to throw, in addition to the most recent win of Davis, Valdez views their possible showdown as one that the fans should be dreaming of.
“I think that’s an attractive fight that the fans would enjoy,” explained Valdez. “He has a great style and he knocked out Leo Santa Cruz in a fashionable way. He’s an aggressive fight and I think that’s a fight that the fans would enjoy.”
Vasiliy Lomachenko Open To Moving Down In Weight To Face Oscar Valdez
By: Hans Themistode
Despite facing a size disadvantage almost every time he steps foot inside the ring, Vasiliy Lomachenko wants to continue his boxing journey at 135 pounds. The former three-division titlist saw his dream of becoming an undisputed lightweight champion turn into a nightmare as he was outboxed and out-hustled by Teofimo Lopez in October of last year.
Since then, Lomachenko has regurgitated on numerous occasions that he doesn’t plan on moving down in weight. With that said, the Ukrainian does find a matchup with newly crowned super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez an interesting fight.
In fact, if the business of boxing can be taken of, he would be more than willing to drop down in weight to make the fight happen.
“I didn’t watch the full fight but I saw highlights, of course. I saw the KO,” said Lomachenko as he answered questions regarding Valdez knockout win over Miguel Berchelt during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “I can make 130. But I choose a different route, which for me is to keep boxing at 135 but it all depends on Bob Arum if he can make the Valdez fight happen.”
Valdez, 30, was a sizable underdog heading into his contest against Berchelt on February 20th. Regardless of the doubters, Valdez punished his man, dropping him in the fourth, ninth and for the final time, the tenth round.
The moment Valdez landed his overhand left in the period, referee Russell Mora immediately waved off their contest as Berchelt was out cold long before his body hit the canvas.
While Lomachenko has expressed interest in taking him on at 130 pounds, at this point, the former two-time Olympic Gold medalist would settle for a fight with anyone at this point.
Before facing Lopez late last year, Lomachenko had been sidelined for well over a year. Now, with no fight date in sight, the 33-year-old is getting a bit antsy. Although a few names have been lofted in his direction in terms of possible future opponents, including lightweight contender Masayoshi Nakatani, nothing is concrete just yet.
For now, Lomachenko simply continues to wait until his name is called. Something he hopes happens very soon.
“I want to fight. I’m ready. But I don’t have an opponent or date yet. First, I thought it would be Masayoshi Nakatani but we haven’t agreed on anything yet. I don’t have any news on when I’ll be back. I hope they’ll give me a date in June.”
Leo Santa Cruz: “I Know A Fight Between Me And (Oscar) Valdez Would Be Really Great”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez was good, maybe even great but few, if any, believed he would be able to get the job done against Miguel Berchelt. The two fought in the main event slot at “The Bubble” in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada just a few weeks ago.
On the line was Berchelt’s WBC super featherweight world title. For the most part, Valdez was viewed as a worthy challenger but one who simply didn’t have the firepower to compete with the hard hitting Berchelt.
However, after outboxing, hurting and later finishing off his man in the tenth, most were left shell shocked. Well, everyone except for Leo Santa Cruz.
“I always said Valdez had a chance, not like other people,” said Santa Cruz during an interview with Fight Hype. “I knew he had a chance to win, even by knockout.”
During the lead-up to Valdez vs Berchelt, there was one prevailing thought surrounding the event. That was, everyone should flip on their television sets to watch this one as it was going to be a back and forth war. But while their showdown wasn’t a boring one by any stretch, it certainly wasn’t the violent contest many were expecting.
For Santa Cruz though, he appreciated the approach that Valdez took in order to pick up the victory.
“He didn’t stay there and trade punches with him. He was just boxing him and landing the bigger shots.”
Although Valdez is still enjoying his newly won world title, several notable names in the division are now eyeing a showdown with him. Amongst them is Santa Cruz.
Despite his credentials as multiple division world champion, many will point to his sixth-round knockout loss at the hands of Gervonta Davis in October of 2020 as the main reason why he doesn’t deserve an immediate title shot.
With that said, Santa Cruz believes his recent setback is of little importance. If given the chance, the California native knows that his all-Mexican showdown against Valdez would be a classic.
“I’m up for a fight between me and him. I know people are going to say I’m coming off a loss and they knocked me out but it doesn’t matter. That’s what we’re here for. Were here to fight. I know a fight between me and Valdez would be really great and entertaining for the fans. Styles make fights and I know me and him have the perfect style to make a great fight.”
The ease in which Valdez handled Berchelt just a few weeks ago still resonates with Santa Cruz. Like most, he was expecting a much more competitive fight. Still, with all due respect to Berchelt, Santa Cruz is under the belief that he didn’t have the tools needed to get the job done. With himself, on the other hand, he believes at the very least, the entertainment value will be through the roof.
“I know Berchelt is a great fighter and everything but Oscar Valdez made it look easy. With me, I think I would make it more entertaining.”
Tim Bradley Praises Oscar Valdez For Win Over Miguel Berchelt: “Nobody Wanted To Face This Guy, Not Even Gervonta Davis”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez walked into his contest against Miguel Berchelt virtually without a single soul believing in him. However, by the time he left the ring a few minutes later, just about everyone was riding his coattails.
From the moment the opening bell rang, it was clear that Valdez was simply the better fighter. With knockdowns scored in both the fourth and ninth rounds, Valdez ended things with one final punch in the tenth.
Just about everyone is lauding the performance of Valdez. But in the case of former multiple division belt holder Timothy Bradley, he’s taken his praise to a whole other level.
“That type of performance that he put on, that’s hall of fame,” said Bradley on the Ak and Barak Show. “To me, he wrote his ticket to the hall of fame.”
For years now, Bradley sat back and watched Berchelt terrorize the super featherweight division. With 16 knockout wins in his past 17 fights, most expected Valdez to simply become another victim. With that said, they were all proven wrong as Valdez had little trouble dealing with the power and aggression of Berchelt.
In Bradley’s opinion, Valdez can hang up his gloves this very minute, then sit back and relax as his name is called to be enshrined into the hall of fame. Valdez’s name being mentioned amongst the greats is justified not because of his championship run at 126 pounds or even because of the countless back and forth battles we’ve all seen him in.
No, to Bradley, Valdez deserves the highest of praises because of his willingness to face someone like Berchelt, to begin with. Other big-name fighters, including a certain young star from Baltimore, Bradley believes was simply too scared to step up to the plate.
“Two division world champion, we’ve seen him in wars. He fought the bogeyman in the division. Nobody wanted to face this guy, not even Gervonta Davis wanted to face him, trust me on this. The guys that were at 130 avoided Berchelt because he was a big puncher, he was awkward, big and physically strong so a lot of guys strayed away from him.”