Oscar Valdez: ‘I want Carl Frampton’

WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (left) vs. Genesis Servania. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (left) vs. Genesis Servania. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Nogales, Mexico native Oscar Valdez, 23-0 (19), returned to Tucson, Arizona, last Friday night, a city he called home for a time growing up as a child, to defend his WBO world featherweight title. Valdez defeated Genesis Servania, 29-0 (12), via unanimous decision in a fight that would see both boxers have their moments.

 

A capacity crowd at the Tucson Arena cheered on its hometown hero from the opening bell and they were repaid with a great effort from Valdez. The fight would see both fighters take a trip to the canvas. Valdez fended off the challenge of a game, rugged Servania, of Bacalod City, Philippines, over 12 frames but Valdez had to pack his lunch pail and work hard to get the win. One of boxing’s most exciting fighters, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Valdez is fast establishing himself as a fighter who welcomes a good dustup. Servania, like Valdez, was entering the ring undefeated. And, in his first fight in the United States, Servania was looking to score the upset and take the tile from Valdez, who was making the third defense of the belt he won against Matias Rueda in July of 2016 in Las Vegas.

 

Servania landed some good punches early and showed he was there to make some noise. In an applecart-upsetting script, Servania dropped Valdez in the fourth, catching him with a right hand after Valdez moved off the ropes with his hands down. Valdez rose, looking more frustrated than hurt, but it was clear Servania had some pop.

 

Valdez came out in the fifth round and dropped Servania. At this point, the Tucson faithful got to see why Valdez is one of boxing most explosive warriors. After the knockdown, Valdez stepped on the gas and looked to make it clear that there would be no upsets on his watch.

 

Valdez regrouped, maintained his composure, slugging and boxing his way to a convincing and impressive 12-round unanimous decision over Servania in a fight that would see both fighters slugging it out at the final bell. Valdez remained undefeated, retained his title and the Tucson fans went home happy.

 

In post-fight interviews, Valdez made it clear that, while he was pleased with his performance, he was surprised in finding himself sitting on the canvas for a brief moment during the fight.

 

“I never thought I was gonna be on the canvas like that,” Valdez said after the bout, “but this is boxing. This is what it is. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really hurt. I was really surprised. I was like, ‘OK, I’m on the floor. But now, nothing happened. I’m gonna get up and I’m gonna do my work.'”

 

While Valdez had a couple of bouts earlier in his career at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, this was his first gig in Tucson, where he had lived for part of his childhood. And Valdez was looking to impress.

 

“I let the crowd sometimes get to me,” Valdez said. “I wanna show my crowd a good fight. I got a little too careless and I got hit. This is boxing but I learned a lot from this fight definitely.”

 

Aggressive, exciting and all-action, Valdez is a fighter with some great options. Working in the featherweight division that boasts WBC champion Gary Russell Jr., WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz and IBF champion Lee Selby, the options are plentiful.

 

However, former two-division world champion Carl Frampton may be on the radar for Valdez.

 

Valdez promoter, Top Rank CEO and Hall-of-Famer Bob Arum knows how to mine a good market better than anyone and hints the massively popular Irish banger Frampton, 23-1 (14), may be the fight to look at for Valdez. A win against Frampton could be that signature fight that would certainly take Valdez’s profile to the next level.

 

“We’re going to try to get Frampton,” Arum said. “We would do it next year, and we would put it maybe someplace in Texas or maybe Las Vegas. Frampton would probably object to coming to Tucson but we can find a place to do that fight. It’s a great fight.”

 

As far as Valdez is concerned, he is ready to go with whomever is the best and biggest fight available. “I’m ready for whomever,” he said, “but Frampton or Leo Santa Cruz, I am ready, whomever it is. But I want Frampton. He has the name. Let’s do it.”

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

 

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