Throwback champion Navarrete makes fifth defense
By Bill Tibbs
This weekend, boxing’s big boys, in boxing’s biggest division, take center stage in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena when British heavyweight star Tyson Fury and American champion Deontay Wilder return to the ring to exchange pleasantries for the 2nd time.
However, on the undercard, a rising star, who will come in about 150, or so, pounds lighter will make the 5th defense of his WBO junior featherweight title.
Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (30-1, 26 KO’s) will defend his WBO junior featherweight title against Jeo Santisima (19-2, 16 KO’s) of the Philippines.
Navarrete is working hard to expand his brand and he is doing it the old fashioned way - in the ring. For those keeping score at home this will be the Mexico City champions first fight of 2020, his 5th title defense in 14 months and his 3rd title defense in the last 5 months. In short, this is a working man’s champion, he has a title and is looking to defend it always and often.
Navarrete burst onto the scene in December of 2018 when he upset ascending star Isaac Dogboe with a UD 12 to take his title in New York. He defended the title in a rematch in Arizona 5 months later stopping the former champion (who has never really bounced back from the losses). Last year, 2019, would see Navarrete make 4 title defenses in 7 months and 2020 looks to be another busy year for the champion.
While he would love unification fights against the likes of WBC champion Rey Vargas, or IBF and WBA boss Murodjon Akhmadaliev, he will keep busy mining the top ten in the meantime.
Some people might be asking who little known, Philippines-based challenger Santisima is. However, Navarrete keeps in mind that he was that little known challenger himself at the time he stepped into the ring with red hot champion Dogboe. So, he is looking at every fight, and every title defense, as the toughest fight in his career.
In recent interviews, the rugged, hard hitting slugger made it clear he is going to keep showcasing himself on boxing’s big stages every chance he gets.
“I am motivated to make my fifth defense in less than a year, and especially because I’m proud to be part of a historic card headlined by Wilder versus Fury 2,” said Navarrete. “This is a great opportunity to put on an exhibition for the fans and showcase my talent once again.”
After this card, assuming that Navarrete is successful, Top Rank has shows in New York in mid-March and Quebec, Canada in late March and don’t be surprised to see San Juan Zitlaltepecon, Mexico’s favorite son on either of those shows if he gets a quick stoppage in this one.
This is fighter that likes to tend to his business as often as he can; his business is boxing and business has been good.