Oscar Valdez Delivers One-Sided Pummeling for 6th Successful Title Defense
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Top Rank was back on ESPN, pitting two sound technicians against unshakable opponents at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. In both affairs, the A-side pulled out a victory but nuanced as the fight game is, not every unanimous decision is made equally.
Oscar Valdez (26-0, 20 KO) def. Jason Sanchez (14-1, 7 KO) by unanimous decision
Featherweight champion Valdez retained his WBO belt over a hardened challenger in Sanchez, marking six consecutive title defenses. The Mexican-bred former Olympian floored Sanchez in the fifth round, and battered his face with left hooks and overhand rights into the final round.
Valdez, fighting for the second time under Eddy Reynoso, had to plug away at Sanchez for 12 full rounds. The young challenger dished it back, throwing almost twice as many punches, but landed at a drastically lower clip as Valdez bludgeoned and bloodied the right side of Valdez’s face, winning 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110 to lay the groundwork for a possible move to the junior lightweight division.
“I feel like I am improving with Eddy [Reynoso],” the Valdez told Bernardo Osuna in the ring post-fight. “I want to listen to my body, sometimes I feel like I get tired in there. I feel like it’s because of the weight loss. I am hoping for another fight at 126. But I’m not 100 percent… or go up to 130. We’ll talk about it as a team. I’m willing to fight anybody, to be honest—130 or 126, let’s do it.”
Valdez, 28, set the tone early in Round 1. He stayed tight behind his gloves as Sanchez hurled haymakers into him. The dance continued in the second period: Sanchez’s fists oscillating at an incredible pace, but Valdez, crouching and timing his man, curling right hands around Sanchez’s loose defense.
Sanchez, 24, kept up the output, never wavering. Overhand rights were connecting over the next two rounds. Some audible. But behind bolting jabs, Valdez would remind him who had the belt. Valdez was still being outworked but when he opened up for punches, Valdez was visibly shaken up.
Just seconds into Round 5, a left hook finally clipped Sanchez and put him on the seat of his trunks. When the action resumed, more counter left hooks crashed into the younger man.
Sanchez continued to give everything he had in the sixth period, his grunting coinciding with every punch he threw. By the seventh stanza overhand rights from Valdez had drawn blood from Sanchez’s nose. The challenger again dug deep and charged into Valdez, hoping to ruffle his composure.
Valdez though was back to slamming left hooks into his opponent’s face in the eighth round—blood now pouring over Sanchez’s mouth.
Amazingly, Sanchez wasn’t just still standing by the end of Round 9, but had shoved Valdez into the ropes. The Mexican champion seemed to take fleeting moments off as he calmly deflected his man’s wave of punches—more concerned with avoiding a dustup than finishing Sanchez for good.
In the tenth, Sanchez was sapped of energy. But not mettle. Over and over, Valdez teed off: jab, right hand, left hook—ever committed to his gameplan.
More overhand rights earned Valdez the penultimate round. The right side of Sanchez’s face was a mess, his only goal was staying upright until the final, forgiving bell. And the champion didn’t make that easy for him, prolonging the onslaught in the final round, perhaps most punishing of all.
Sanchez, surviving the sport at its highest level, would hear the scorecards, widely in favor of Valdez. The CompuBox numbers reflected as much.
Valdez landed 195 of 509 total punches (38 percent) and 113 of 262 power shots (43 percent) while Sanchez connected on 107 of 869 total punches (12 percent) and 91 of 500 power punches (18 percent).
Already two wins on the year, Valdez is well ahead of his pace last year, when he only competed once. And still on the right side of 30, a move to 130 pounds makes a lot of sense considering Top Rank represents two of the division’s champions, Miguel Berchelt and Jamel Herring.
Gabriel Flores Jr. (14-0, 6 KO) def. Salvador Briceno (15-4, 9 KO) by unanimous decision
Graduating to the eight-round distance, Flores Jr. bided his time outworking Briceno, who made his way from Mexico. The 19-year-old lightweight wunderkind was equipped with a sharp jab and a sweeping left hook, picking apart his opponent to the tune of an unanimous decision verdict.
“We’re happy,” Flores summed up his performance after the fight. “My jab was nice—I should’ve thrown it more. But there’s always something to do better.”
His offense was clean, and combination punching hardly missed its mark, but his relying on singular punching allowed Briceno to pick up a couple rounds on the scorecards through the middle stages.
After a timid start from both men in the opening round, Flores began beating Briceno to the punch, jabbing low and immediately following it upstairs. It was easy to recognize a speed advantage for the teenager and he took the first three minutes with more crisp jabs and lead left hooks.
In Round 2, Briceno took the center of the ring—he would hold it the rest of the way. Flores was happy to step in with double jabs and leaping left hooks. And the third round saw him parry body blows with one hand and simultaneously fire back straight punches with the other.
The third and fourth stanzas made it clear Flores had his mind on testing himself over the distance. He was patient, too patient, but landed at will. Briceno took advantage of the lack of urgency over the next two rounds, following his younger counterpart around. The visiting Mexican shoveled punches at Flores, hardly landing anything with upshot but showing off for the judges.
Flores relied on more singular punching over the final three rounds. He was far and away the stronger fighter and still had plenty of zip to his punches in Round 8, where Briceno followed him around as Flores sat on right and left hooks. An occasional three punch combo gave promise to the California prospect’s future.
In the last 50 seconds, Briceno with nothing to lose hurried his pace, closing the fight by spamming straight right hands, but Flores had a left hook for him anytime the Mexican leaned over.
When asked what his next step was, Flores was to the point: “Fight again. Over the next two, three months. I feel great. I hardly got touched.”
Valdez vs. Sanchez: Previewing Top Rank on ESPN’s Featherweight Championship Fight
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, June 8, Top Rank has a world championship fight on tap from Reno, Nevada, live on ESPN.
But before Oscar Valdez defends his featherweight strap against the fresh-faced Jason Sanchez, Gabriel Flores Jr., continues to piece together a reputation as one of the sport’s hottest prospects, still just a teenager. All the while, light heavyweight demolition man Michael Seals opens up the broadcast, beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KO) vs. Jason Sanchez (14-0, 7 KO)
Saturday’s main event marks the sixth title defense of Valdez’s featherweight reign. And it could very well be his last. Not because his challenger stands much of a chance at dethroning him, but because the former two-time Olympian has made it clear after this weekend he is looking forward to bigger and better opponents, even a move to 130 pounds.
With the 28-year-old Valdez so eager to take on a quality name—namely Carl Frampton, as reported by ESPN—it is curious as to why Bob Arum is wasting his man’s time with such a routine defense of his crown.
Valdez may stand an inch shorter than Sanchez, but he is much longer in the tooth. Four months ago, the Mexican boxer-puncher knocked out Spain’s Carmine Tommasone in seven rounds, also aired on ESPN. The knockout represented the featherweight champion’s first fight since getting by British puncher Scott Quigg with a broken jaw. A seminal night, indeed, as it was also Valdez’s first time under the handle of trainer Eddy Reynoso.
Valdez dropped longtime coach Manny Robles from his corner in 2018, opting for Reynoso who is known for his work with Canelo Alvarez. Robles recently received high praise for his role in helping Andy Ruiz Jr. upset Anthony Joshua. But that jaw injury that kept him out nearly an entire calendar year was only the latest physical toll on Valdez.
First lifting the belt in 2016, Valdez turned away Hiroshige Osawa without any problems. But then he faced some scares against Miguel Marriaga and hit the deck opposite Genesis Servania. So Valdez must be in search of a more calculated approach as his 30th birthday looms near.
Sanchez, 24, was on the undercard that night Valdez tore apart Tommasone. There, on ESPN+, Sanchez stopped an opponent out of Mexico named Daniel Olea. In the second round of their contest, he pitched an overhand right over an extended left hand from Olea, that sent his opponent to the canvas. The victim was slow to get up and the referee waved it off.
Undefeated himself, Sanches trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Sanchez Brothers Boxing Gym. Ahead of the biggest bout of his life, his team has enlisted the help of a more acclaimed camp. They flew out a handful of sparring parters from Robert Garcia’s Las Vegas expansion to give Sanchez some proper work.
With an early background in Taekwondo, Sanchez said he had over 100 amateur boxing matches while competing in a number of national tournaments, before turning professional in 2012. He finally entered a major sanctioning body’s rankings last year after decisioning the previously undefeated Jean Carlos Rivera—traveling to Puerto Rico to do it. Before that, Sanchez defeated German Meraz, a veteran with over 60 wins to his name with of course over 50 losses to go along with them.
Sanchez has never faced another live body, never actually training for the 12-round championship distance. This is actually a short-notice promotion for him after the WBO rejected Top Rank’s proposed opponent of Erick Ituarte, another young, unproven contender.
Gabriel Flores Jr. (13-0, 6 KO) vs. Salvador Briceno (15-3, 9 KO)
Just 19, a sweeping left hook from Flores Jr., that completely stretched out his last opponent, was enough to convince Top Rank brass to make sure the phenom out of Stockton, California was on a telecast in chief support of a beltholder like Valdez.
This weekend, Flores rolls into Reno already 2-0 on the year. In February, he beat Alejandro Rynn, nothing more than club fighter. But last month, he sparked Eduardo Perreira dos Reis in just three rounds to extend his undefeated ledger. Flores opened the bout with a flickering jab—almost a backhanded range finder from his hip. Perhaps not the most textbook jab from the shoulders, the shot still set up a left hook that rattled Reis in the first round. And then again for good in the third stanza, stepping in with another wicked left hook around the gloves.
Flores was actually signed by Top Rank before he even graduated high school—aged 16, in fact. So despite being a teenager, a national network fight has been a longtime coming. To celebrate the occasion, the promotional outfit set up Flores with what looks on paper like his stiffest test to date.
Briceno, 24, has a respectable record. He’s slightly taller than the house fighter and has won back-to-back contests (both third-round kayos). Saturday represents his stateside debut but not his first time on the road. In 2017, he left his home in Mexico to meet Mikhail Alexeex in Russia, where the two fought to the distance.
Oscar Valdez Ring Return Pushed Back, January 12 Tucson Show Cancelled
By Jake Donovan
Oscar Valdez’ long awaited ring return will now take place a little later—and a lot farther from home—than expected.
The unbeaten featherweight titlist was slated for a January 12 homecoming in Tucson, Arizona—as previously reported by BoxingInsider.com—but those plans along with the entire show have been scrapped altogether.
Valdez’ scheduled opponent, Spain’s Andoni Gago was unable to secure a travel visa in time to make the trip to the United States. An inability to secure an approved opponent within the Top 15 featherweight rankings for the World Boxing Organization (WBO)—whose title Valdez has held since July ’16—prompted the Top Rank brass to cancel the entire event.
The show would have launched the 2019 season of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN. That honor will now shift to the January 18 bill in Verona, New York, topped by heavyweight Bryant Jennings in a dangerous crossroads bout versus unbeaten Oscar Rivas, which will actually stream on ESPN+.
As for Valdez, he will still remain a part of the first show of 2019 on ESPN’s flagship network. His ring return is pushed back by three weeks, as he will land on the undercard of a February 2 show in Frisco, Texas. His bout will come in supporting capacity to the light heavyweight title fight rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev.
The show comes on Super Bowl weekend, which will leave Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) inactive for 46 weeks by the time he enters the ring for the 5th defense of his featherweight strap. The extended break largely stems from his recovering from a broken jaw suffered in a gutsy 12-round win over Scott Quigg this past March in Carson, California.
It also gave the unbeaten boxer—who turns 28 later this month—time to reassess his career and the direction in which he wishes to take it. Such self-evaluation led to his moving on from longtime trainer Manuel Robles as he is now training with Eddy Reynoso, best known for his work with reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The shift in location will mark Valdez’ seventh career bout in Texas. His previous six appearances have all ended in knockout, his last coming in a 3rd round stoppage of journeyman Jose Ramirez in April ’15. He’s since been steadily rotated between Las Vegas, Southern California and Tucson, the latter representing his second childhood home, having split his youth between Arizona and Nogales, Mexico.
Valdez still has family and plenty of fans in Tucson, drawing a favorable turnout for his Sept. ’17 decision win over Genesis Servania. Early indications suggested an even greater reception awaiting his next trip home, but that adventure will have to come another day.
Oscar Valdez Return to Ring—And Tucson—In January 12 Headliner
By Jake Donovan
Everything about Oscar Valdez’s next ring appearance will feature a brand new look—even the part where he returns home to headline at a venue at which he’s previously fought.
Returning for the first time since recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a March win over Scott Quigg, the unbeaten featherweight titlist is slated to headline the January 12 edition of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN. Valdez will face Spain’s Andoni Gago in the main event at the Tucson (Ariz.) Convention Center, which also hosted his thrilling points win over Genesis Servania last September.
In attempting the 5th defense of his featherweight title, Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) will come in with a new perspective following his extended layoff. The night will mark his first time under the guise of Eddy Reynoso—the famed Mexican trainer best known for his work with reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez—after parting on amicable terms with previous trainer Manuel Robles.
The corner change was viewed as a necessity by Valdez and his team, as was the intention of returning to familiar scenery for his next bout.
“Oscar and his family have strong roots in Tucson,” notes promoter Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado, who has been at the promotional forefront of increased regional interest in the sport and who will once again play an integral role with Valdez’ homecoming. “It’s where he first stepped into a gym, and Tucson boxing fans know and love him.”
Valdez is originally from Nogales, Mexico and represented his birth nation in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, but also calls Tucson home, having lived in the area as a child and still boasting family in the area. His forthcoming defense versus Gago (20-3-3, 6KOs)—who fights for the first time both in the U.S. and for a major title—will mark his third in the city as a pro, all of which have taken place at the Convention Center.
The local fans were in full force for his last appearance, fending off a determined Servania to retain his featherweight title in their ESPN-televised headliner. More than 4,100 were in attendance thanks to a strong grassroots promotion, but the telecast produced mixed reviews due to preceding chaos from a lead-in Major League Baseball game running late and forcing earlier portions of the show to ESPNews and ESPN2.
The series has since grown, as has Valdez’ standing in the featherweight division. His bravery was on full display in March, agreeing to proceed with his fight versus Quigg despite the visiting Brit badly missing weight and enjoying a considerable size and strength advantage on fight night. Valdez had a tooth knocked out and suffered a broken jaw over the course of their 12-round war in Carson, Calif., but ultimately prevailed in their ESPN headliner which drew favorably in the ratings.
He returns 10 months later to a series which has gained considerable momentum since his last ring appearance, and to a Tucson hometown which has proven to support any quality product brought to the area.
As much has been evident in Rosado’s Guerra de Gallos series, with its July and November entries drawing fans in full force. The November 17 show—headlined by Valdez’ cousin Thomas Valdez in a gutsy win over Luis Coria—played to a near-capacity crowd.
“I don’t think people understand how much the people of Tucson love boxing,” Rosado explains. “It’s like a hidden gem, overshadowed by Phoenix and LA. The town has shown up over the past six months and it’s great to be able to continue that momentum and have Oscar defend his title at home for the second time.”
The brass at ESPN and Top Rank were thrilled with the turnout last September. This time around, surpassing the mark is the expectation. An added bonus would be to take a run at Tucson’s all-time boxing attendance mark of 6,422 established by Hall of Fame legend “Sugar” Ray Leonard back in 1979, the same year he would go on to win his first world title.
Regardless, the reception he will receive will be louder and prouder than ever before.
“This time around will be even bigger,” Rosado promises. “Boxing has grown in Tucson even in the past year with our Guerra De Gallos series. Oscar and his team will most definitely get a warm, loud welcome from boxing fans on January 12th. We can’t wait.”
Thomas Valdez Outlasts Luis Coria Over Eight Rounds In Tucson
By Jake Donovan
For weeks, Thomas Valdez was preparing for a grudge match with fellow Tucson-based super featherweight Jensen Ramirez. He was instead dealt a late replacement in Luis Coria, but found a way to adapt and prevail by split decision in their entertaining eight-round main event Saturday evening in Tucson, Arizona.
Valdez won by scores of 78-74 and 77-75 on two scorecards, while the dissenting judge scored 78-74 in favor of Coria.
Photo Credit: @ragingbabe Twitter account
The bout was fought at a brisk pace and high skill level for all eight rounds, the fight length being the very first adjustment the 5’10” Valdez was forced to make 10 days ago. He was originally slated for a seven-round affair versus the 5’9” Ramirez, the special length being a compromise when their camps reached an impasse over whether to go six or eight rounds.
It became a moot point when Ramirez suffered a broken ankle during training camp and was forced to withdraw. In came Coria, dispatched from Oxnard by famed trainer and former 130-pound titlist Robert “Grandpa” Garcia. At 5’7”, Coria was a full two inches shorter than what Valdez had initially prepared for, and also a far more fluid boxer.
This much was evident in the early rounds, as Coria steadily worked behind his jab while looking to take the local crowd out of the equation. That wasn’t going to fly with Valdez, whose first cousin is reigning unbeaten featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez.
Boxing runs deep through the family bloodstream, but the 29-year old prospect from Tucson by way of Nogales, Mexico wasn’t quite blessed with the same championship pedigree. As such, Valdez had to dig deep to ensure that his local fans didn’t go home disappointed or that his own career resurgence would come to a halt.
Key mid-fight adjustments were made to avoid falling behind on the scorecards, at least in the eyes of two of the three judges. Coria never slowed down, but perhaps relied a bit too much on pure boxing to pull off a road win. The infighting and pressure belonged to Valdez, however, which ultimately secured the hard-fought victory.
Valdez improves to 18-3-2 (7KOs), running his unbeaten streak to 11 straight (9-0-2 over that stretch) since a six-round loss to then-unbeaten Victor Castro in his opponent’s Phoenix hometown five years ago almost exactly to the day.
Coria falls to 9-2 (4KOs) with the bitter defeat, snapping a five-fight win streak, four of which came in an active 2018 campaign.
The bout topped a 10-fight show featuring a healthy mix of knockouts and boxing displays. Among the highlights:
Sebastian Fundora opened the show with a performance worthy of as much conversation as his status as a 6’6” super welterweight prospect. The unbeaten southpaw from Coachella, Calif. moved to 11-0 (7KOs) following a highlight reel 1st round knockout of Jeremiah Wiggins. A blistering combination put Wiggins down and out in a corner, forcing an immediate stoppage.
Local middleweight Arturo Resendiz (2-0, 2KOs) properly followed suit, blasting out winless Brandon Trujillo in just 94 seconds—10 fewer than was needed in his pro debut this past May.
Alfonso Olvera—who suffered an upset loss on his last appearance at this venue in July—returned to the win column with a six-round decision over Virgil Green. Scores were 60-54 (twice) and 59-55 for Olvera (11-5-1, 4KOs) in their welterweight heat.
The show was presented by Michelle Rosado’s Raging Babe Events and Peltz Boxing, and streamed live on Facebook.
TopRank on ESPN Results: Valdez Defeats Quigg in a Bloody Battle
By Eric Lunger
Tonight, at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) took on British veteran Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs) in what should have been a WBO featherweight championship bout.
Inexplicably, the normally meticulous Quigg failed to make weight by such a wide margin (more than two pounds) that California Commission rules barred him from last-minute weight loss efforts. As a result, the Bury, Lancashire native forfeited twenty percent of his purse (ten percent of which went to Valdez, in addition to an undisclosed sum agreed upon by the camps), and the belt was not at stake.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
Valdez boxed carefully in the opening frame, but clearly landed the better and heavier shots. It was Mexican style from the two-time Mexican Olympian in round two, landing hooks to the body and uppercuts to the head. Quigg answered with a few counters, but Valdez had the better of the action.
In the third, Valdez continued to box and move, while Quigg came forward in half steps, leaving a target for Valdez to hit. Quigg, however, had some real success in the fourth, pushing his opponent back and landing some lead shots. Valdez answered with an eye-catching combination towards the end of the round.
The fight exploded in the sixth, as Valdez opened a cut over Quigg’s left eye, and Quigg staggered Valdez with a sharp right hook to the chin. Quigg flurried in an attempt to finish the Mexican champion, but Valdez weathered the storm. In the seventh, Quigg appeared determined to barrel through everything Valdez could throw, and, at one point, he wrestled Valdez to the canvas. This was the round that the weight differential seemed to tell, as Valdez could not slow down the bullish onslaught from the Englishman despite landing repeated power shots. Valdez continued to bleed voluminously from his mouth.
The seventh went more and more for Quigg who began to punish his foe. Quigg for his part seemed to have tasted Valdez’s power and found it negligible. The blood continued to pour from Valdez’s mouth in the eighth, and Quigg began to land clean shots on the Nogales fighter.
In the ninth, Quigg absorbed several uppercuts but just walked right through them. The Bury native landed plenty of his own shots, but Valdez answered with a late-round flurry. Frankly, the fight had become a bloody battle at this point, and very difficult to score. The tenth began with some brutal shots from Valdez but Quigg answered right back. The canvas at this point was literally splattered with blood.
The eleventh was brutal, as Valdez landed but his power couldn’t keep the heavier Quigg off him, and Quigg landed a nasty low blow. After a recovery period, Valdez blasted Quigg with a good shot but Quigg’s chin held up. The final frame saw some inspired footwork and boxing from the Mexican champion as he finished the bout bloodied but unbowed.
The judges scored the bout unanimously for Valdez (117-111, 117-111, 118-110). It’s been said many times, but there is a reason for weight classes. This was a size mismatch tonight that Valdez was fortunate to weather.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospects Andy Vences (20-0, 12 KOs) and Erick De Leon (17-0, 10 KOs) faced off in a ten-round bout for the WBC Continental Americas super featherweight title. This was the first ten-rounder for the southpaw De Leon, who was born in Mexico and now fights out of Detroit, MI. Vences, fighting out of San Jose, CA, knocked out his last two opponents, and was looking to make a statement on the ESPN national broadcast.
Vences is an active fighter, with quick feet and a frenetic left jab. De Leon is fundamentally sound and patient. The opening round was extremely close, but De Leon started to show some confidence and fluid movement in the end of the second, as though he thought he had figured out the distance to Vences. The San Jose fighter had the best of the third, however, landing some stiff jabs and a few combinations as well.
De Leon raised his activity level in the fourth, but Vences remained in control of the distance, and landed the more effective counters. The middle rounds continued in the same fashion, with De Leon unable to get inside Vences’ persistent jab and consequent distance control. This is not to say that De Leon was outclassed – he certainly was not, but Vences seemed to win these close rounds, in my view.
In the seventh, De Leon found a new weapon, landing a lead right hook and putting Vences in some momentary difficulty. Then, after some exciting exchanges in the middle of the eighth, Vences switched to southpaw, setting new challenges for De Leon. The final two rounds, however, saw some desperation from the Detroit fighter, but he was unable to penetrate Vences’ formidable defense.
After ten compelling and entertaining rounds, the judges scored the bout a majority draw (95-95, 95-95, 96-94 for De Leon). It is hard to see how two judges scored five rounds for De Leon, but there it is.
Oscar Valdez Defends WBO Featherweight Title Against Scott Quigg, Saturday on ESPN
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.”
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Valdez, Conlan, and Ramirez Entertain and Win
By: William Holmes
Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and featured two world title fights which featured two popular Mexican boxing stars.
The co-main event of the night was between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Jessie Hart for Ramirez’s WBO Super Middleweight Title and the main event was between Oscar Valdez and Genesis Servania for Valdez’s WBO Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
The undercard featured several up and coming prospects, including Irish Olympian Michael Conlan. Tonight’s card was supposed to start on ESPN, but the baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers ended later than expected and the fight card started on ESPN News.
Michael Conlan (3-0) opened up the telecast against Kenny Guzman (3-0) in the featherweight division in a six round bout.
Conlan has 340 fights as an amateur compared to 47 amateur fights for Kenny Guzman, who also works a full-time carpenter.
The first round was more of a feeling out round as Guzman was able to land some decent shots but Conlan was clearly the better technical boxer. Conlan switched to a southpaw stance midway through the first round with some moderate success.
Conlan switched back into an orthodox stance and was sitting on his punches more in the second round. Guzman’s left eye was showing signs of swelling and blood was coming from his nose as he was taking some heavy shots from Conlan. Conlan landed a heavy right hand in the final ten seconds of the second round that sent Guzman falling backwards to the mat. He was able to get back up before the count of ten but was still wobbly and the referee waived off the fight.
Michael Conlan wins by TKO at 2:59 of the second round.
The next fight of the night was for the WBO Super Middleweight Title between Jesse Hart (22-0) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0).
Ramirez was slightly taller than Hart, who was active with his jab early on. Hart was very active while circling and was able to stay on the outside in the opening round.
Hart continued to stay active with his jab into the second round and appeared to be a little hesitant of Ramirez’s power. Hart had a habit of ducking his head low when he gets in tight and Ramirez was able to take advantage of that with a short right uppercut that sent Hart crashing to the mat. Hart was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but he was badly hurt.
Hart had a decent third round and was given time to recover from a low blow by Ramirez, but Ramirez had an excellent fourth round and appeared close to stopping Jesse Hart several times during that round.
Ramirez kept up the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and was landing a high number of power shots. Hart was able to slip in a few shots of his own, but he also lost his balance several times in the corner of the ring.
Hart may have stolen some of the middle rounds from the sixth round to the ninth as he was able to land some decent counter shots and avoid getting hurt again. Hart had a very strong ninth round with good straight right hands, but Ramirez showed a strong chin and was able to continue to walk forward.
Both boxers left everything in the ring in the championship rounds with both boxers landing heavy blows and absorbing heavy punishment. But Ramirez ended the final round as the aggressor.
It was an entertaining and competitive bout. The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 for Gilberto Ramirez.
The main event of the night was between Oscar Valdez (22-0) and Genesis Servania (29-0) for the WBO Featherweight Title.
Servania is a Filipino boxer who trains in Japan. This was his first professional fight outside of Asia.
Servania showed a lot of head movement early on and had some success with his left hook, but Valdez was far more active and was landing good shots to the body.
Valdez was in control in the second and third rounds and simply out landed the constantly coming forward Servania.
Servania was able to score a flash knockdown in the fourth round on Valdez as he was backing away with his hands down. Valdez was in some trouble at the end of the round when Servania was able to catch him off guard with a good combination.
Valdez turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the fifth round when a clean left hook sent Servania crashing to the mat. Servania was able to get back to his feet and slug it out with Valdez as the round came to an end, but he was badly hurt.
Servania may have stolen the sixth round with a round ending combination, but Valdez outworked Servania for most of the round. Valdez appeared settled in the seventh round and was the more aggressive fighter.
Valdez’s body work won him the eighth round and he was cruising by the ninth. Sevania, to his credit, never stopped coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches.
Servania was reaching for his punches in the tenth and eleventh round and never had Valdez in trouble. Vadez just continued to pile up the points by throwing at Servania whenever he got in range.
The final round was exciting as Servania came right at Valdez to exchange to start the final round and took several risks throughout, but his punches just weren’t powerful enough to hurt Valdez or put him down again.
Oscar Valdez defends his title with scores of 116-110, 119-111, 117-109.
Jesse Valdez from the 1972 Olympics Was a Special Boxer
By: Ken Hissner
It was the summer of 1972 when this writer was watching the Olympic boxing from Munich, Germany. Who would know that the USA team would only win a total of 4 medal’s one being a Gold and three Bronze medals?
The one boxer on this team I always wanted to talk to was a Bronze medal winner Jesse Valdez out of Houston, TX. I started writing ten years ago and during that time I tried making contact with him but never was able to. Finally a week or so ago I saw an article by Rick Wright a Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer in New Mexico entitled “Boxing star Valdez still counting his blessings”. I was able to contact him and he gave me Jesse’s phone number and I took it from there.
“The Lord gave me a gift,” said Valdez. His first coach was Charles Cord.
There was one Gold medal winner on the 1972 team and it was “Sugar” Ray Seales from the Tacoma Boy’s Club that Joe Clough was coach. Seales would go into the professional ranks and end up with a 57-8-3 record with 34 knockouts.
Also on the team gaining a Bronze medal was future two-time world light heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson, 43-6 (35).I contacted him and he said “why would you want to do a story on me?” I said “you were an Olympian and a two-time world champion”. He agreed to do a story. I love it when they are as humble as Marvin was.
Another Bronze medal winner was Ricardo Carreras, of NY, representing the Air Force. After failing to make the 1976 Olympic teamhe turned professional in 1978 and went 2-0 (2).
Three other team members of the eleven turned professional who were Duane Bobick, of the Navy, 48-4 (42) who I did a story on, Reggie Jones, 16-9-1 (8), of the Marines, Louis Self, 3-2 (2), of the Air Force and Davey Lee Armstrong, 24-3 (6) who was also a team member of the 1976 team that I did a story on him and teammates.
Not turning professional were Raymond Russell, of the Marines, Louis Busceme, Louis Self of the Air Force and Tim Dement. “I love Jesse Valdez,” said Dement. Getting back to the other boxer representing the Air Force was Valdez who was the one boxer that stood out to this writer. My two favorite Olympians of all time were him and Chuck Walker from the 1976 team.
Walker said of Valdez: I was one of those glued to the TV in 1972 watching boxing in the Olympics at Munich. Everybody knows Jesse was THE guy. He was the darling that year. I was 14 and just started boxing. He was one of my early heroes. Never noted at all for power but could that guy box, very slick, clever and effective. I believe he won the Bronze but should have won the Gold. I got to know Jesse well when he was the assistant coach at the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City. We (team) trained in Durango, Colorado for several weeks, then got outfitted in Dallas and then onto MC. Jesse was a great pal and coach. He related well with the guys since he was more our age. I remember one time we were riding a taxi to the coliseum for the fights. I was fighting and Michael Dokes was fighting that night. Jesse was trying to find a radio station in English and finally happened on a song by Barbara Streisand. Dokes acted like that was pure anathema and went for the dial. Jesse slapped his hand away and said “Look man….we finally found something in English. Let it be. You’re not going to find any soul music in this city. Dokes said “I don’t know what’s worse….no music at all or Barbara Streisand!!!” Jesse and I used to walk around the Pan Am village together just out of boredom. We went to a few musical acts just outside the pavilion on the grounds. Often we had lunch together in the big cafeteria. Jesse was the one that took me to the USA medical building in the village when I got my lip split by Clinton Jackson in a freak accident in sparring. He looked out for us because he had been there and knew what it was like. He knew it was a tough business and he tried to make it less so.
Valdez was also instrumental in calming what could have been a horrible situation when Tommy Sullivan won 100 bucks from Michael Dokes betting on pinball in the game room. Tempers flared and the two almost went together for real, but Jesse talked them out of it. Later that night 100 bucks came up missing from Tommy’s locker. Jesse, along with “Sugar” Ray suggested to the other fighters that we all put in a few bucks to get Tommy paid back. And then again the situation was controlled. I haven’t talked to Jesse in probably 35 years but have thought of him often and I’m glad to hear he’s doing well. If you talk to him give him my best and tell him I’ve had Burton Gilliam (from Dallas, TX) in several of my movies. Burton and Jesse fought several times back in the amateurs.
Valdez said he had about 200 fights but never kept track of his record. It was in 1964 that the then 16 year old Houston native won the National AAU welterweight championship upsetting Olympic Bronze medalist Quincy Daniels of the 1960 Olympics. Valdez would qualify for the 1964 Olympic team as an alternate. In that same year he toured as a member of the US team in Africa.
In 1967 Valdez won a Bronze medal at the Pan-American Games and was also the Golden Gloves champion. In 1970 he won the National AAU light middleweight title. In 1972 he won the Golden Gloves again and qualified for the US national team by defeating future world light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. “He cold cocked me and dropped me to a knee in the first round. I would return the favor in either the first or second round,” said Valdez.
At the Olympics in 1972 Valdez defeated KolmanKalipe (Togo) 5-0, Carlos Burga (Peru) 4-1 which I thought was a tougher fight than with the Cuban but Valdez disagreed, David Jackson (Uganda) 4-1, Anatoly Khohlov (Soviet Union) 5-0, before losing in the semi-finals to Emilio Correa (Cuba) 3-2. This writer thought Valdez won without any doubt.Correra also won the 1971 Pan-American Games and participated in the 1976 Olympics.
Valdez was in the Air Force never turning professional but even fought until 1980 at age 32 as an amateur. Junior Robles had him box on an amateur show against a Marine who outweighed Valdez by 40 pounds. “When I saw how big he was I moved and boxed him,” said Valdez. Robles also had him compete for the CA state amateur title in Sacramento where Valdez came out victorious.
“He gives boxing a good name because he was so kind hearted yet capable of destroying his opponents while staying calmly in control. Good manners are special and Jesse is someone worth writing about. Many years after the 1972 Olympics Jesse told me something to the effect that, I made an impression on him seeing me reading my Bible when we were teammates. What a great guy my brother Jesse is….he loves our Lord,” said Tim Dement. (1972 Olympian at 112)
“I heard about him before I met him. He was like a legend. Everybody talked about Jesse. In 1967 or 1968 I saw him fight Joe Cokes, brother of world champion Curtis Cokes whom he out boxed.He was a gentleman, smart and a classy fighter. I was in the Air Force five years and knew him for about three years. Jesse touched a lot of boxers lives in a very positive way. He is a good friend, mentor and was an inspiration to me. I was proud to be his teammate. When he boxed he was sweet, hard to hit and he could punch…..hard. Jesse coached all the 1972 USAF boxing team in the National AAU,” said Nick Wells.
Valdez was asked to go to Poland on the USA team by Robles whose father had a gym that Valdez was helping with the kids. “The Holy Spirit said why do you need to go. Also veteran USA team official Bob Surkant who was a father figure to me advised me not to go. So I told Robles I wasn’t making the trip. I almost fought Robles at the 1964 Olympic Trials,” said Valdez. Other boxers who claimed to be asked but didn’t make the trip were Jimmy Clark, Marvis Frazier, Bobby Czyz, Robert Hines and Davey Armstrong. The plane went down in Warsaw, Poland, killing all 87 aboard which included Robles.
“My wife Jackie and I got down on our knees and prayed thanking God that I didn’t go. My whole life changed after that, my faith became my way of living,” said Valdez When he told me they were living in San Diego I told him we had a Calvary Chapelchurch there (Harvest Christian Fellowship) where Mike MacIntoshwas the pastor. Valdez couldn’t believe it for he attended that same church. Pastor Chuck Smith was the founder of Calvary Chapel. I’ve attended three of their churches on a week-end in 1989 after starting in Philadelphia. He and his wife Jackie (originally from Buffalo, NY) now attend a Calvary Chapel church in Albuquerque where Skip Heitzig is the pastor. They have two sons James (42) and Jeremy (40).
“My oldest brother (Steve) was on the Air Force team with Jesse and we met at numerous tournaments and went overseas together. He was the greatest amateur of all-time. He could beat you many different ways. I was in awe of him. We were roommates at the Olympics. He met my family. He was like a brother and really humble. He came back from Italy and gave a picture of him and the Pope to my father. He was someone you looked up to and wanted to be like. He was a real role model,” said Tim Dement. (1972 Olympian)
Valdez told me “in 1972 I would spar with 156 pound team member Reggie Jones and I felt he stayed that heavy to avoid meeting me in the Olympic trials,” said Valdez.He said he worked with the Spinks brothers in 1976 and almost had to bring them home.
After leaving the Air Force, Valdez became a TV cameraman, first in Houston and then to San Diego. I told him I had notes that in 1974 he worked on the prison siege at the Huntsville, TX, State Prison. “I was sent to Huntsville where 5 prisoners were holding 5 guards as hostages,with (now well-known writer) Cal Thomas who was the reporter,” said Valdez. In 1976 Valdez working with the Spinks brothers and almost had to take them home.
In 1979 I was in Philadelphia at the Joe Frazier Gym where “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Marvin Stinson (1976 Olympic Alternate) and Leonard’s cousin O’Dell would be fighting in Philadelphia. The name Valdez came up and one of them informed me he was the one who started the bowing to the four corners prior to his fight. “I think I saluted but Correa did bow after that to the four corners. I would also go to my opponent’s corner after the fight before then returning to my corner,” said Valdez.
“Jesse Valdez, David Martinez and Mark Tessman were (boxers) who I wanted to be like,” said Termite Watkins. I got an email from him due to contacting the Texan boxers I had articles with and all Christians. Termite was 61-5-2 (42), and from Houston who fought for the WBC super lightweight title. He has a book called “Termite” about his experiences in Iraq as a pest control exterminator which is well worth reading. He’s a great friend and one of the most genuine and humble boxers I ever met. I’m honored to call him my friend today. We keep in touch on the phone. He may be the greatest amateur fighter I ever saw.
Valdez was kind enough to answer some questions.
KEN HISSNER: The first time I saw you was in the 1972 Olympics and was immediately impressed with your style of boxing. Was your coach Charles Cord responsible for that?
JESSE VALDEZ: In the long run I would say yes. I had him as my coach at a younger age.
KEN HISSNER: You winning the National AAU championship at 16 in 1964 defeating Quincey Daniels who was on the 1960 team did that qualify you as an alternate for that Olympic team?
JESSE VALDEZ: I lost to Maurice Trilot of the Marines and was an alternate.
KEN HISSNER: Did you get involved with making the 1968 Olympic team?
JESSE VALDEZ: I lost to Armando Muniz in the finals.
KEN HISSNER: What period of time were you in the Air Force?
JESSE VALDEZ: 1969-1972
KEN HISSNER: In 1972 you defeated Eddie Gregory (Eddie Mustafa Muhammad later) to qualify for the Olympic team. Was defeating him and Daniels two of your biggest wins prior to going to the Olympics?
JESSE VALDEZ: If I win I win but never think of who I fought.
KEN HISSNER: Were you still pretty active from 1972 to 1980 between your coaching at the 1975 Pan Am Games and still having some fights?
JESSE VALDEZ: I was an assistant at the 1975 Pan Am Games.
KEN HISSNER: Do you still stay in touch with any of your 1972 team members or have any re-unions?
JESSE VALDEZ: I don’t really except “Sugar” Ray Seales.
KEN HISSNER: Getting ripped off in the 1972 Olympics against the Cuban was that a deciding factor in not turning professional?
JESSE VALDEZ: I had two offers. One was to stay in Air Force as the boxing coach and from Bill Daniels owner of the Denver Rockets.
KEN HISSNER: How did the terrorist attack at the Olympics in Munich affect you and your teammates?
JESSE VALDEZ: We heard the gunfire. It was quite alarming.
KEN HISSNER: Not going to Poland in 1980 when their plane went down killing all aboard did that end your boxing career?
JESSE VALDEZ: It totally did. I was 35 at the time and figured at that age I was too old. Junior Robles convinced me to go but I changed my mind. He was among those killed on the airplane.
KEN HISSNER: I know you go back to Houston for some of the Golden Gloves tourneys. Are you completely out of training boxers now?
JESSE VALDEZ: Unless you’ve been in the ring it is hard to teach someone to box.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer questions and I have to tell you it is so rewarding to finally catch up to you.
JESSE VALDEZ: It was nice going back in time with you.
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
By: Sean Crose
Olympic star Shakur Stevenson debuted in winning fashion Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Edgar Brito, who entered the ring with a record of 3-2 was being overwhelmed when a headbutt stopped the fight at the end of the fifth round of the scheduled six round affair. The early stoppage led to a sooner than hoped for judge’s decision. Needless to say, all three judges gave the nod to Stevenson. It may not have proven to be the explosive debut Stevenson or his team at Top Rank promotions had probably hoped for, but it was a win nonetheless.
Next up was Gilberto Ramirez, who, at 34-0, was stepping into the ring to face 34-4-1 Max Bursak for the WBO super middleweight strap. Ramirez appeared sharp in the first, landing effectively. The second, however, looked to be a closer affair. Still, it was obvious that Ramirez was the better of the two fighters. In fact, Bursak’s only true moments of note were when he was deducted points in the fifth and eleventh rounds for holding. Long story short, Ramirez, who has made it clear for a while now that he’d love to fight middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin, won by unanimous decision.
It was time for the 21-0 Oscar Valdez to defend his WBO featherweight strap again the 25-1 Miguel Marriaga in front of the StubHub crowd of over five thousand people. Suffice to say, the fight was close, with Valdez having a slight edge over his opponent most of the time, but with Marriaga always staying in the contest. To be sure, several rounds may have been difficult to judge after the first. It was most certainly an action fight. And it remained one until the very end. Afterwards, Valdez was awarded a unanimous decision win – one that, although fair of the surface of things – may have been a bit too wide in favor of the champion.
The card, which aired on PPV courtesy of Top Rank promotions, certainly won’t break any records. It’s been said that even Top Rank honcho Bob Arum knows this won’t come out a financial barnburner. Still, the entertaining man event made the evening a success. It also added to the allure of the StubHub Center, which now has a reputation for being the home of high octane fights with lots of fireworks. Too bad fans couldn’t watch Saturday’s bouts without digging inside their wallets.
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
By: William Holmes
Bob Arum’s “three amigos”; Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez, and Jessie Magdaleno will compete on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson California on Pay Per View (PPV). This PPV will be produced and distributed by Top Rank Promotions without the assistance of HBO or Showtime.
These three Mexican boxers have been training together in Carson, California in preparation for this bout and are ready to defend their titles. Also appearing on the undercard will be US Olympian Shakur Stevenson and Ukranian Olympian Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.
The following is a preview of the three televised title bouts.
Jessie Magdaleno (24-0) vs. Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
The first title bout of the night will be between Jessie Magdaleno and Brazilian boxer Adeilson Dos Santos.
Magdaleno has a deep amateur background and was the 2009 US National Champ as an amateur and a National Golden Gloves Champion. Dos Santos has no notable amateur background.
Dos Santos will have about a four inch height advantage and is the same age as Magdaleno. However, Magdaleno has seventeen stoppage wins on his resume while Dos Santos has fourteen stoppage wins, but was also stopped once.
Both boxers have been semi active in the past two years. Magdaleno fought two times in 2016 and three times in 2015 while Dos Santos fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Magdaleno has never tasted defeated while Dos Santos has gone 4-2 in his past six fights.
Magdaleno has beaten the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda. Dos Santos has no big name wins, and his biggest wins to date have come against opponents such as Devis Perez and Marcos Martinez. Dos Santos has lost to Fabian Oscar Orozco and Kid Galahad.
Dos Santos’ resume is void of big name opponents and his two losses came against fighters that are not considered by most to be world class boxers. He went outside of Brazil to fight twice, and went 1-1 in those bouts.
Magdaleno really let the boxing world he’s the real deal with his impressive victory over Nonito Donaire and has the potential to land some more big name fights in the near future. Dos Santos is an opponent who had success in Brazil, but little success either as an amateur or a professional outside of Brazil.
This should be an easy bout for Magdaleno and it shouldn’t be a competitive fight.
Gilberto Ramirez (34-0) vs. Max Bursak (33-4-1); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Gilberto Ramirez is considered by many to be the next Mexican boxer. Ramirez, who turned pro at the age of eighteen, is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion. His opponent, Max Bursak, has fought several high profile boxers and is a rugged veteran.
Ramirez will be seven years younger than his opponent and will have two and a half inch height advantage as well as a four inch reach advantage. He also has the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppage wins while Bursak only has fifteen stoppage wins.
Ramirez only fought once in 2016 due to an injury and fought three times in 2015. Bursak fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015. Bursak fights out of an orthodox stance while Ramirez fights as a southpaw.
Neither boxer has a notable amateur background, but Ramirez already has the better resume as a professional.
Ramirez has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maksim Vlasov, Junior Talipeau, and Giovanni Lorenzo. Bursak has defeated the likes of Nick Blackwell and Brian Vera. His losses were to Zac Dunn, Martin Murray, Jarrod Fletcher, and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
This is another bout on this pay per view that shouldn’t be very competitive. Ramirez should beat the elder Bursak easily.
The bigger question is who will Ramirez face next? Arthur Abraham has already indicated that he wants a rematch, and fellow Top Rank Boxer Jesse “Hard Work” Hart has also called out Ramirez.
Oscar Valdez (21-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (25-1); WBO Featherweight Title
On paper, this appears to be the best and most competitive fight of the night.
Oscar Valdez is an extremely talented boxer with a high level ceiling. He has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships. His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, has no notable amateur background.
Valdez is four years younger than Marriaga but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one inch in reach. Both boxers have considerable power in their hands. Marriaga has twenty one knockouts on his resume while Valdez has nineteen. Three of the past five opponents of Marriaga failed to make it to the distance while Valdez is currently riding a win streak of five wins by stoppage.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Valdez fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015 while Marriaga fought three times in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Valdez has never been beaten and has defeated the likes of Hiroshige Osawa, Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda, Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, and Ruben Tamayo. Marriaga’s lone loss was by decision to Nicholas Walters, he has defeated the likes of Eduardo Montoya, Guy Robb, and Christopher Martin.
Oscar Valdez is a joy to watch and this Saturday should be no different. On paper it’s the most competitive fight of the night, but in the ring Valdez should blow out his opponent just like the other two Mexican boxers on the televised card are expected to do.
Oscar Valdez: The New Generation of Mexican Boxing
Oscar Valdez: The New Generation of Mexican Boxing
By: Francisco Martinez
April 22nd WBO 122lbs champion Oscar Valdez is set to defend his title for the second time as he headlines his first PPV trough Top Rank promotions. An opportunity Oscar Valdez is more than excited for “Right now I’m living the dream. I dream about these moments, being a main event, on great cards, I’m living it right now so I’m enjoying the ride. I’m doing everything with passion, letting everything go on it’s own” and in return everything is going right for the 2 time Mexican Olympian.
Colombian Miguel Marriaga is the rival who that will meet Oscar Valdez in the other end of the ring in Carson, California at the StubHub Center a venue known for fan friendly match ups and spoilers, potential upsets of the year. Which is what Marriaga is aiming for come this 22nd of April. Having shared the ring with former 126lbs king Nicholas Walters, Marriaga feels that kind of experience with that level of opposition gives him the upper hand over the young fast & powerful Valdez who doesn’t care much for the quality of opposition Marriaga has faced.
“I feel good in the gym. I feel good that I’m doing my work. The people around me they got faith in me and that’s all that matters. I’m a family guy and that’s the most important thing to me to worry about my family and not other people’s opinions about me. Do my job in the gym and do my best to win every fight” direct but humble words from the young 126lbs phenom.
Oscar Valdez has great talent and a very humble approach to when speaking about his position as arguably the best 126lbs fighter today but also spoke his mind at the podium when addressing the media during the official press conference to announce the April 22nd Top Rank PPV triple header “My trainer Manny (Robles) & Edgar Jasso we put in the time and I haven’t seen a manager like Frank (Espinoza) that goes to the gym everyday or Frankie, to see how their boxers are doing so that means a lot to me. We’re not only a team we’re a family. Working with Jessie Magdaleno and also seeing Zurdo Ramirez in the gym we all help each other out. We’re a great team. We know that we’re the face off Mexican boxing right now so we gotta take that very seriously so we work hard, help each other out and we get the job done at the fights”
No doubt on paper Miguel Marriaga looks to be the toughest test for Oscar Valdez to date however Valdez has his own beliefs as to how he approaches not just this fight in particular but all his 21 previous fights leading to this exact one “Like Manny (Robles) says, every fight is more important than the last one. Marriaga, he’s no easy opponent, they don’t exists, an easy opponent. Marriaga, he’s a strong, strong fighter, has a lot of experience inside the ring so I know it’s gonna be a tough fight but that’s why we train hard in the gym so we can win these fights”
Trainer Manny Robles adds this to the conversation “For those people who don’t know Marriaga, Marriaga is a great fighter, he’s a solid fighter, solid contender. This guy can crack, he can come forward. The match up itself is great. Styles make fights, this is a great match up. This is a fight the public should not miss. It’s gonna be a great night of boxing” styles do make fights and this match up is a evenly matched up bout and even better that the venue itself really helps make this fight that much more intriguing being that the StubHub Center is known for its action packed fights and electric atmosphere that can make both rivals more aggressive and abandon their game plans. Just something about the warrior like chemistry the StubHub Center has deeply rooted in it.
In this Top Rank promotions triple header fans will also get Jessie Magdaleno who’s defending his 122lbs WBO title against Brazilian Adielson Dos Santos who’s coming in with 2 consecutive knockouts to a total of 14 K.O.’s in 20 professional fights. Also on the card Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez who is the 168lbs WBO title holder who is matched up with Max Bursak a 38 fight professional from the Ukraine along with the debut of 2016 American Olympian silver medalist Shakur Stevenson who’s hope to bring a knockout and leave with a few of those loyal Mexican fans that will be in attendance at the StubHub Center.
So don’t miss it April 22nd Top Rank promotions PPV triple header live at the StubHub Center that’ll bring you a glimpse of the next generation of Mexican boxing.
Follow all coverage of the fight via #TopRankBoxing
Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Shiming and Valdez Victorious, Magdaleno Defeats Donaire
Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Shiming and Valdez Victorious, Magdaleno Defeats Donaire
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions televised three world title fights on their self-distributed pay per view live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Three Asian boxers competed on the undercard, and two time Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming (8-1) opened up tonight’s card in WBO World Flyweight Title fight against Prasitsak Phaprom (39-1-2).
This match was rematch from November 23, 2014 when Shiming defeated Phaprom. Phaprom has since won twelve fights in a row.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Shiming was active with his jab in the first round and looked like he was sitting on his punches more than earlier fights. Phaprom’s right eye was swollen by the end of the round.
Phaprom dominated the second round with quick combinations and connected with a short right hook to the chin that sent Phaprom down. Shiming’s timing was on pont in the third round and was picking Phaprom apart with jabs in the fourth round.
Shiming’s accurate pop shotting continued in the fifth and sixth rounds. Phaprom’s frustration was showing in the sixth round as he pointed to his chin to egg him on, and Shiming responded in kind by cracking Phaprom in the chin.
Shiming controlled the pace and distance in the seventh and eighth rounds and his punches were noticeably moving the head of Phaprom. Phaprom was rocked in the eighth round by Shiming and slipped to the mat after missing wildly.
Shiming displayed good footwork in the ninth round, but slipped twice to the mat. Phaprom looked close to going to the mat in the tenth round, but he was able to stay on his feet. Phaprom had a cut near his right eye at the end of the eleventh round and looked like he had no chance at wining the bout.
Phaprom needed a knockout in the last round, but never came close to knocking him down.
The final scores were 120-107, 120-107, and 119-108 for Zou Shiming.
The next bout of the night was between the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire (37-3) and Jessie Magdaleno (23-0) for the WBO World Junior Featherweight Title.
The first round was a feeling out a round and didn’t feature much action, but the fight picked up in the second round as Magdaleno and Donaire started to freely exchange, but Magdaleno was the more accurate puncher and was the first to throw his combinations.
Donaire’s came back strong in the third round and was the aggressor. Donaire’s check left hook was finding it’s target. Magdaleno suffered a cut in the fourth round but it was ruled from a head butt, and it was noticeably affecting the vision of Magdaleno.
Donaire looked good in the fifth round and was more aggressive and landed solid combinations, but Magdaleno switched to a southpaw stance in the sixth round and was effective with his lead right hooks.
Donaire focused more to the body in the seventh round and re-established control, but Magdaleno retook control of the fight in the eighth round with crisp counter right hands and lead straight left hands to the head of Donaire. Donaire’s left eye was starting to show signs of swelling.
Magdaleno had Donaire hurt badly in the ninth round after he cracked Donaire with a check right hook with his back to the ropes. He had Donaire fighting defensively in the final minute of the ninth round and looked like Donaire was close to getting stopped.
Donaire opened up the tenth round with a hard left hand that had Magdaleno hurt and backing up in the opening minute. Both boxers connected with hard check hooks, but Donaire’s right hand was finding it’s target.
The fight was too close to call for either boxer in the final round, but Donaire landed the best punch of the round with a hard straight right hand that got the crowd’s reaction and he may have busted Magdaleno’s nose in the final round.
The final scores were 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 for Jessie Magdaleno.
Oscar Valdez (20-0) and Hiroshiga Osawa (30-3-4) for the final fight on the undercard for the WBO World Featherweight Title.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance, and Osawa was a little wild early on. Valdez sat on his body punches on the opening round and established himself as the more powerful boxer early on.
Valdez was sharp with his jabs in the second round and had Osawa rocked with hard left hooks in the second round. Osawa looked like he was close to going down in the final minute of the round.
Valdez landed some bombs in the third round with both his left and right hands, but Osawa was taking the shots well.
Valdez landed a crisp left hook to Osawa’s chin in the fourth round and sent him to the mat suddenly. Valdez landed several hard right hands when Osawa got back to his feet, but Osawa somehow survived the round.
Valdez obliterated Osawa in the fifth and sixth rounds and barely got hit with any punches.
Valdez wobbled Osawa in the eighth round with a hard left hook and jumped on him with combinations by the corner. Osawa didn’t return any punches and the referee jumped in and stopped the fight.
Oscar Valdez wins by TKO at 1:50 of the seventh round.
Top Rank PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Shiming vs. Phaprom, Donaire vs. Magdaleno, Valdez vs. Osawa
Top Rank PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Shiming vs. Phaprom, Donaire vs. Magdaleno, Valdez vs. Osawa
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Philippine Senator and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring and chase another world title as he faces Jessie Vargas for Vargas’ WBO Welterweight Title.
Pacquiao has long been a mainstay with HBO Boxing and nearly all of his pay per views were distributed by them. However, HBO has chosen to go forward with the Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev PPV bout in the month of November and is letting Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing distribute Pacquiao’s PPV on their own.
Top Rank has wisely decided to stack their card with four world title fights in what should be an entertaining night of fights. The card will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The following is a preview of all four world title bouts.
Zou Shiming (8-1) vs. Prasitsak Phaprom (39-1-2); WBO World Flyweight Title
This is a rematch of a bout that happened on November 23rd, 2014 in which Shiming defeated Phaprom by decision.
Zou Shiming was supposed to be Top Rank’s vehicle to grow the sport of boxing in China and establish a strong foothold there. He was successful in helping Top Rank break into the Chinese market, but he has lost some of his luster since losing to Amnat Ruenroeng in an IBF Flyweight Title fight in March of 2017.
Shiming is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won the Bronze in 2004. He’s the most decorated amateur boxer to ever come out of China and is currently trained by Freddie Roach. Phaprom does not have the amateur accolades that Shiming possesses.
Both boxers are thirty five years old and neither can be considered to be in the midst of the physical prime. Shiming will have a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Shiming is not known for his power and many pundits question whether his amateur abilities can translate to the profressional stage He only has two stoppage victories on his resume while Phaprom has stopped twenty four of his opponents.
Phaprom has been very active and has fought five times in 2016. However, Phaprom has fought almost exclusively in Thailand and has only fought outside of it once, when he first faced and lost to Shiming. He also doesn’t have any big name victories on his resume, but has fought thirteen more times since losing to Shiming.
This will be Shiming’s third fight in 2016, and he has defeated the likes of Phaprom, Jozsef Ajtai, Natan Coutinho, and Luis de la Rosa. His lone loss was to Amnat Ruenroeng.
This rematch should play out in a similar fashion to their first bout, with Shiming ending the fight as the winner.
Nonito Donaire (37-3) vs. Jessie Magdaleno (23-0); WBO World Junior Featherweight Title
Nonito Donaire is the second most Filipino boxer in the world today, but this will be the first time he has ever fought on the same card as Manny Pacquiao.
Donaire’s best days might be behind him. He’s thirty three years old and will be nine year older than Magdaleno come fight night. However, he will be about one inch taller than Magdaleno and will have about a two inch reach advantage.
Both boxers have had successful amateur careers. Donaire was a National Junior Olympics Flyweight Champion, a National Light Flyweight Champions, and a Silver Gloves Champion. Magdaleno was a US National Champion in the bantamweight division and a National Golden Gloves Champion in the bantamweight division.
Both boxers come from a family of boxers and have brothers who compete or have competed professionally. However, Donaire is a former title holder in the flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, and featherweight divisions while Magdaleno is still chasing his first world title.
Donaire has been in the ring with some of the best the sport has to offer. He has defeated the likes of Zsolt Bedak, Cesar Juarez, Vic Darchinyan, Jorge Arce, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jeffrey Mathebula, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Omar Narvaez, and Fernando Montiel. His losses were to Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, and Rosendo Sanchez in the second fight of his career.
This will be a big step up for Magdaleno, and he has never fought someone as a professional on the level of Donaire. He has defeated the likes of Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castandeda.
This might be the last swan song for Donaire. There’s been a noticeable drop in his speed and power since he lost to Rigondeaux and he was stopped, quite brutally, by Walters. He’s still a good boxer and is experienced enough to give Magdaleno a tough time inside the ring, but Magdaleno is just entering his prime and should be able to defeat the older Donaire.
Oscar Valdez (20-0) vs. Hiroshiga Osawa (30-3-4); WBO World Featherweight Title
Oscar Valdez is one of the most promising young champions on the roster of Top Rank Promotions. He’s also featured in one of the biggest mismatches of the night.
The one, and perhaps only, advantage Osawa will have on Saturday night is that he is about an inch and half taller and four inches longer than Valdez. However, Valdez is the better technical boxer, the more powerful puncher, the quicker fighter, and will be about six years younger than Osawa.
Valdez has an impressive eighteen knockouts and has stopped four of his past five opponents. Osawa stopped nineteen of his opponents but is currently riding an eight fight stoppage victory streak.
Valdez has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Osawa has no such amateur background.
Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. Valdez fought four times in 2015 and fought twice in 2016. Osawa fought three times in 2015 and once in 2016.
Osawa has fought exclusively in Asia and his resume does not include any big name victories. He has losses to unheralded boxers such as Mitsuya Omura, JR Sollano, and Daiki Koide. Valdez only recently won WBO Featherweight title, and has impressive victories over Evgeny Gradovich, Matias Rueda, Chris Avalos, Ruben Tamayo, and Jose Ramirez.
Valdez is the most likely boxer to score a stoppage victory on Saturday night.
Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2) vs. Jessie Vargas (27-1); WBO World Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao, despite being a Senator for the Philippines, is still considered a top talent in the welterweight division and one of the sport’s biggest draws.
He’s publically stated his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch, but he first has to get past a tough, young, opponent in Jessie Vargas.
Pacquiao, at the age of thirty seven, is ten years older than his opponent and considered by many to be past his physical prime. Pacquiao will also be giving up four and a half inches in height as well as four inches in reach to his younger opponent.
The one thing that Vargas does not have is power. He’s only stopped ten of his opponents, but he did stop Sadam Ali in his last bout. Pacquiao has stopped thirty eight of his opponents, but his last stoppage victory was in 2009, twelve fights ago, against Miguel Cotto.
Vargas has an impressive amateur background. He’s a two time Mexican National Champion and a two time US Junior National Champion. Pacquiao turned professional as a teenager and does not have the amateur accolades that Vargas has.
Vargas has a good professional resume but it still pales in comparison to Pacquiao. He has defeated the likes of Sadam Ali, Antonio DeMarco, Anton Novikov, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Ray Narh, Aaron Martinez, Steve Forbes, and Josesito Lopez. His lone loss was a close bout to Timothy Bradley.
Pacquiao, clearly, has a hall of fame resume. His notable victories include Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, Shane Mosley, and Lehlo Ledwaba. His losses were to Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley, and three losses early on in his career to Singsurat, Torrecampo, and Erik Morales.
Pacquiao had erased any concerns about his demise in his last bout with Timothy Bradley Jr., which he won fairly convincingly. Vargas’ age and reach may give Pacquiao some problems early on, but it’s not something that Pacquiao hasn’t handled before.
Pacquiao should walk away with another decision victory, but it will be a tougher than expected fight.
HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Valdez vs. Rueda, Crawford vs. Postol
HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Valdez vs. Rueda, Crawford vs. Postol
By: William Holmes
Terence Crawford is one of boxing’s best talents and one of Top Rank’s most prized assets. Continued success will likely lead to future and bigger pay per view bouts, but Saturday night will be the first time that he’ll test the waters of pay per view. He will take on Golden Boy Promotions’ Viktor Postol, a credible challenger and a current undefeated title holder, for the WBC and WBO Junior Welterweight Title.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions
Top Rank tried to place WBO Super Middleweight Champion Gilberto Ramirez in the co-main event of the evening in an effort to attract Mexican fans, but an injury to his middle finger on his right hand forced him to withdraw.
However, two time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez will fight in the co-main event when he takes on Argentinian Matias Adrian Rueda for the WBO Featherweight Title and is one of Mexico’s best young fighters.
The following is a preview of both of the world title fights on the HBO Pay Per View Card, televised live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oscar Valdez (19-0) vs. Matias Adrian Rueda (26-0); WBO Featherweight Title
Oscar Valdez was electric in his victory over Evgeny Gradovich in his last bout. He took on, an easily and badly defeated the former world champion in only four rounds.
He has seventeen stoppage victories and has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Rueda is also known for his power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents and is currently riding a ten fight knockout streak.
Neither boxer should have a significant edge in either reach or power. Valdez, however, has a much deeper and successful amateur backgroundValdez is a former bronze medalist in the World Amateur Championship and a Gold Medal Winner at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. He also qualified for the Olympics in 2008 and in 2012.
Valdez also has the better profressional resume. He has defeated the likes of Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, Ruben Tamayo, Jose Ramirez, and Alberto Garza. He has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will be his second fight in 2016.
Rueda has also been active and fought four times in 2015 and this will also be his second fight in 2016. However, his professional record is void of any impressive wins. This will only be the second time he has fought in the United States and has beaten a large list of unknown boxers in Argentina.
Oscar Valdez was very impressive in his last bout and he will likely steamroll through Matias Adrian Rueda.
Terence Crawford (28-0) vs. Viktor Postol (28-0); WBC/WBO Junior Welterweight Title
This is the best fight that could be made in the junior welterweight division. Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions put aside their differences to match up their two best junior welterweights.
Terence Crawford dominated the lightweight division before jumping up to the junior welterweight division, and the difference in size will likely show as he will be giving up three inches in height and three and a half inches in reach to Postol.
Both boxers were successful on their respective national circuits in the United States and in the Ukraine, but neither experienced major success on the international amateur stage.
Crawford fights out of an orthodox stance, but also switches stances constantly while fighting and confuses his opponent while doing so. Postol fights out of an orthodox stance and has been improving in using his reach to hurt his opponents.
Postol’s best wins were against Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin. He has also beaten Henry Lundy and DeMarcus Corley.
Postol is good enough to beat most junior welterweights, but this writer does not think he is good enough to beat Crawford. Crawford will have to be slick and get within range while avoiding the jabs of Postol, but Crawford has shown his in-ring savy and intelligence are the best weapons he has.
As long as Crawford remains focused and doesn’t look past Postol towards a possible fight with Pacquiao, he should emerge victorious.