Oscar Valdez Vs Liam Wilson For WBO Interim Super-Featherweight Title

March 28, 2024
2 weeks
Oscar Valdez vs Liam Wilson

The WBO has ordered the fight between Oscar Valdez and Liam Wilson will be for its interim super-featherweight title, handing the winner a shot at champion Emanuel Navarrete.

Mexico’s Valdez (31-2-0 23 KO) takes on Australian Wilson (13-2-07 KO) on Friday night at the Desert Diamond Arena, Glendale, Arizona.

Valdez, a two-weight world champion, fought for a world title in his last fight when he came up short against Navarrete for the WBO belt last August. It was the 33-year-old’s second defeat in his past three fights having suffered the first loss of his successful career to Shakur Stevenson in April 2022.

Wilson, meanwhile, has also fought and lost to Navarrete in a world title fight when he contested the vacant WBO strap in February last year. His defeat came via ninth-round stoppage.

With Wilson ranked second and Valdez fourth by the WBO, the winner will be catapulted to mandatory challenger status and could earn a shot at revenge against Navarrete.

Valdez Aims To Revive Career

Whether a rematch takes place will depend on the outcome of the Mexican’s next fight; Navarrete is stepping up to lightweight to face Denys Berinchyk for the vacant WBO world title on May 18.

Should Navarrete win and choose to remain at lightweight, the winner of Valdez Vs Wilson will be elevated to world champion status. If Navarrete opts to return to super-featherweight, then a bout will be scheduled with the champion.

In an email sent to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents Valdez, the WBO wrote: “This bout is sanctioned subject to the following conditions: (i) the winner of Valdez/Wilson must face the WBO Jr. Lightweight champion (Navarrete) within 120 days after Navarrete/Berinchyk bout scheduled for May 18, 20241 to terminate the Interim Champion status, if that were the case (Navarrete returning to the Jr. Lightweight division).

“(ii) If Navarrete is successful in winning the vacant WBO Lightweight championship and determines to retain the WBO Lightweight championship, the WBO Jr. Lightweight Interim champion shall be elevated to “Full Champion” status and must face within 180 days after the Navarrete/Berinchyk bout, the WBO Jr. Lightweight Mandatory Challenger designated by this Committee, if that were the case (Navarrete stays in the Lightweight division).

“And (iii) if Navarrete loses the bout against Berynchyk, this Committee shall reserve its right to determine whether the WBO Jr. Lightweight Championship shall be declared or not declared vacant.”

Wilson ‘Very Dangerous’

For Valdez, this represents a golden opportunity to return to world title contention after a pair of damaging defeats to Navarrate and Stevenson that suggested his best days might be behind him.

However, the Mexican insists he is only looking ahead and is targeting a massive fight with pound-for-pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko – once he has beaten Wilson.

“I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to step into the ring,” Valdez told BoxingScene. “I’m physically and mentally ready for this fight and to give the fans a great fight. My style and Liam Wilson’s style will be a fan-friendly fight. I’m excited and anxious to showcase my skills again.”

As for his hopes of facing Lomachenko, Valdez added: “It would be stupid for any fighter to leave that opportunity [against Lomachenko] – it’s a dream fight for me. He’s a world-class, pound-for-pound fighter. You always have a shot at it boxing. Every fighter who steps in the ring has a chance.”

While much of the focus is on Valdez and his hopes of reviving his career, Wilson is not a fighter to be taken lightly, and the Australian has his own world title aspirations. While Valdez was largely outclassed by Navarrete, Wilson gave the Mexican a tough challenge and will be aiming to take his revenge if he beats Valdez.

“Every fight for me now is a world title fight,” he said. “So, I’ve prepared really hard for it. This is my second run at a world title. And I’ve shown in the past that if I can get a second run, I can be very dangerous. I’m very ready for this fight.”