Former champions Oscar Valdez and Carl Frampton fighting Nov.30
By Bill Tibbs
Former featherweight world titleholder Oscar Valdez (26-0, 20 KO’s) returns to the ring this Saturday to start a new phase of his career at the 130-pound weight limit.
This is a jump up from featherweight after he vacated his belt earlier in the year after he decided that, after 6 title defenses, it was just taking too much of a toll on his body to make the 126-pound limit.
Valdez will make his junior lightweight debut in the 10-round main event against Andres Gutierrez (38-2-1, 25 KO’s).
Also appearing on the card will be former junior featherweight titleholder Carl Frampton who was schedule to make his Top Rank debut in New York a few months back but an accidental handy injury caused the cancellation of that bout.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum has stated that victories by both fighters could lead to world title shots before long as both boxers, as former world champions and popular attractions, would be fast tracked into championship bouts.
Valdez beat Jason Sanchez in June in his last title defense and then decided it was time to move up. Valdez quickly established himself as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters after turning pro in 2012 and has been perfect in 26 outings so far, including 6 world title defenses, after winning a featherweight world title in the summer of 2016.
Now campaigning at the 130-pound limit sees him potentially in the mix with champions like the WBC’s Miguel Berchelt, WBO champion Jamel Herring, IBF boss Tevin Farmer or WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz. Any of those names going up against Valdez would be a huge fight for boxing fans.
In recent interviews, both fighters made it clear that they were looking forward to the fight as both fighters know that a win is the next step towards big things down the road. A win for the already established Valdez puts him right in the title mix and an upset victory for Gutierrez throws him into the fray as well. Gutierrez, who lost in a WBA world featherweight title bid to Abner Mares in 2017, is looking to capitalize on title try # 2.
"I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity," Gutierrez said. "I hope Valdez is prepared for a war. I’m now training in Las Vegas. Boxing fans, get ready for a true Mexican-style battle."
And, while Gutierrez knows this is the opportunity of a lifetime, Valdez has no plans to let him pull off the upset.
"I’m looking forward to Nov. 30, as it’s my first fight as a junior lightweight," Valdez said. "I know my opponent is tough, but I plan on putting on a show for the fans. This is my third camp with (trainer) Eddy Reynoso, and it’s going great. This is an important first step towards another world title, and I plan to make the most of it."