Emanuel Navarrete survived a knockdown to become a world champion in three divisions.
Navarrete, who boasts an impressive record of 37 wins and one loss and 31 knockouts, triumphed in the ninth round following a TKO win over Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. In doing so, Navarrete earned himself the vacant WBO junior lightweight world title.
Navarrete has now established himself among the most highly-acclaimed Mexican boxers who have achieved championship titles in three different weight divisions: Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez being of that ilk.
But it all could have been so different. At the start of the match, Navarrete had the upper hand. But in the fourth round, he was badly hit with a left hook, which allowed Wilson to land a number of further punches and ultimately send Navarrete to the canvas.
The Mexican was able to recuperate but then was wounded again by a right hook in the sixth round. Navarrete remained composed and then launched a fierce attack on Wilson’s body, which made him weaker in the eighth round.
Navarrete followed up with a powerful right hand that sent Wilson down hard. His relentless punching was too much for Wilson, and the referee had no choice but to terminate the bout, with all the judges having Navarrete ahead at the time of the stoppage.
In his post match comments, the Mexican said: “The satisfaction of winning like this is enormous. I think that I needed this test in order to be able to say my career is more complete. Now that I know that I can hit the canvas and get back up and keep fighting, I’m more than happy because I know that I can continue forward.”
As for Wilson, he was understandably in a sombre mood: “Tonight, I came up a bit short, and I’m disappointed. But I knocked him down in the fourth round, and I felt that the count was a bit long. We’ll have to review it and see what people think. He’s a true champion, though. I thought I won the fight in that sense because I think it was about a 20-second count. I’ll review it and see what happens there. I want to come back. I’m a true champion.”
Rest Of The Card
Arnold Barboza Jr def. Jose Pedraza via unanimous decision
Richard Torrez Jr. def James Bryant via first round TKO
Andres Cortes def. Luis Melendez via unanimous decision
Nico Ali Walsh def. Eduardo Ayala via unanimous decision
Lindolfo Delgado def. Clarence Booth via unanimous decision
Emiliano Fernando Vargas def. Francisco Duque via unanimous decision