Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez are in the process of finalizing a deal for a fight in the first quarter of 2023, sources tell ESPN. It’s expected to be one of the two 130-pound titles vacated by Shakur Stevenson will be on the line in the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event.

There are no signed contracts at this time, sources said, for a matchup that will feature fellow action fighters from Mexico. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told Fight Hype on Wednesday “that fight, I think, is definitely gonna happen.”

Navarrete, ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 126 pounds, will move up to junior lightweight for the biggest fight of his career. The 27-year-old is the WBO’s featherweight champion; he’s made three defenses of the belt he won in October 2020.

Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) also held a title at 122 pounds. A volume-punching brawler, Navarrete is coming off a sixth-round KO of Eduardo Baez in August.

Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) is a former champion at featherweight and junior lightweight. The 31-year-old Olympian suffered the first loss of his pro career in April, a lopsided decision against Stevenson in a unification bout.

ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 130 pounds, Valdez tested positive for the banned stimulant phentermine last summer ahead of a decision victory over Robson Conceicao.



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Sources — Emanuel Navarrete, Oscar Valdez finalizing bout for early ’23

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