Emanuel Navarrete and Liam Wilson have agreed to a deal for a WBO junior lightweight title fight on Feb. 3 in Glendale, Arizona, a source told ESPN.
Navarrete was set to meet Oscar Valdez in a highly anticipated ESPN/ESPN+ main event, but as BoxingScene first reported, Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) suffered an injury and withdrew from the fight for the vacant 130-pound title. The nature and severity of the injury was undisclosed.
Navarrete-Wilson will be supported by an intriguing co-feature between Jose Pedraza and Arnold Barboza Jr., both of whom are ranked in ESPN’s top 10 at junior welterweight.
Navarrete, ESPN’s No. 1 featherweight, holds the WBO title at 126 pounds but will move up four pounds when he’ll be heavily favored to become a three-division champion. The lanky volume-puncher from San Juan Zitaltepec, Mexico, has made three defenses of the title he won in October 2020.
Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) also held a title at 122 pounds. He’s coming off a sixth-round KO of Eduardo Baez in August.
Wilson (11-1, 7 KOs) is the next available contender in the WBO’s 126-pound rankings, though he isn’t rated in ESPN’s top 10. The 26-year-old has never competed outside Australia and has never faced a notable opponent.
They’ll vie for one of the two titles vacated by Shakur Stevenson after he missed weight in September.
Valdez, a two-time Olympian from Mexico, was routed by Stevenson in April. His September 2021 victory over Robson Conceicao was marred by a positive test for the banned stimulant phentermine weeks before the bout.
The 31-year-old figures to land a shot at Navarrete once he has recovered if “Vaquero” wins as expected.
Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs), a 33-year-old Puerto Rican, was set to fight Teofimo Lopez this past Saturday but fell ill. Now, Pedraza will meet Barboza in a fight with title implications at 140 pounds. A former titleholder at 130 pounds, Pedraza is rated No. 10 by ESPN at 140. He’s coming off a draw with Richard Commey in August.
Barboza (27-0, 10 KOs) is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Danielito Zorrilla in July. A 30-year-old from Los Angeles, Barboza is rated No. 6 by ESPN at 140 pounds.
Emanuel Navarrete, Liam Wilson agree to title fight