Oscar Valdez: I expect that same Liam Wilson, who sent Navarrete to the canvas

Oscar Valdez faces Liam Wilson for interim world title live on ESPN+ from Glendale, Arizona

Oscar Valdez faces Liam Wilson in the main event live from Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Friday, March 29. The two-division champion of Mexico and the former title challenger of Australia battle it out for the interim belt.

Earlier this week the WBO stated that Valdez vs Wilson is now set for the interim WBO junior lightweight title. The division’s reigning champion, Emanuel Navarrete is scheduled to face Denys Berinchyk for the lightweight belt in May in San Diego.

“If Navarrete is successful in winning the vacant WBO lightweight championship and determines to retain the WBO lightweight championship, the WBO junior lightweight interim champion [winner of Valdez vs Wilson clash] shall be elevated to ‘Full Champion’ status,” per WBO.

Two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (31-2, 23 KOs) is a former WBC junior bantamweight and WBO featherweight champion. The 33-year-old of Nogales, Sonora challenged Navarrete last August, but dropped a unanimous decision.

“I’m going to be ready,” Valdez said at the final pre-fight press conference. “I was preparing myself for a world championship fight. Then we got the news that it’s now for an interim title. So, I’m more than excited and prepared, and we’re going to show that.”

“I was taking this fight as seriously as a world championship fight. I know Liam Wilson. He’s a tough fighter. I was there when he fought Emanuel Navarrete, and he sent him to the canvas. So you better believe that I’m coming with everything because I’m expecting that same Liam Wilson.”

“Liam Wilson is a dangerous fighter. But that makes it more exciting. And the Interim title adds fuel to the fire. I’m very motivated, and I will do everything possible to win this fight.”

Liam Wilson: I should have already become world champion

Oscar Valdez faces Liam Wilson for interim title in Glendale, Arizona
Oscar Valdez and Liam Wilson go face to face | Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Australian contender Liam Wilson (13-2, 7 KOs) is coming off a pair of win by unanimous decision against Jackson Jon England and Carlos Maria Alanis. The 27-year-old native of Redcliffe, Queensland fought Navarrete last February, but suffered the defeat via ninth-round TKO, after knocking the world champion down in the fourth round.

“Every fight for me now is a world title fight,” Wilson 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.”

“I’m glad he was there [for my fight against Navarrete]. The whole world saw what happened. I should have already become world champion. This fight between me and Valdez should have already happened. I won the belt that night. It wasn’t awarded to me. But that’s just the way things played out. But, we’re here now and we’re going to settle the score.”

“I’ve grown as a person. I’ve grown as a fighter. I’ve had a year to reassess my abilities. So, I’m better prepared now. It has all led to my second run at a title.”

In the co-feature on the card, LA’s unified WBC and WBA minimumweight champion Seniesa Estrada (25-0, 9 KOs) meets Nicaraguan-born Costa Rican unified WBO and IBF 105-pound champion Yokasta Valle (30-2, 9 KOs). The pair squares off for the division’s first four-belt undisputed title.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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