At just 25, Emanuel Navarrete has quickly climbed up the ranks of the junior-featherweight division. Making his pro debut in 2012, “Cowboy” has added more fights to his resume as the years go on. As a result, he has had a strong hold on the division as WBO Junior-Featherweight Champion.
After storming through the competition, Navarrete (31-1) earned a Top Rank contract and the opportunity at the WBO Junior-Featherweight Title. He beat Isaac Dogboe via unanimous decision for the title and beat him via TKO in the rematch. Happy to prove people wrong, Navarrete told Top Rank how confident he was heading into the fight.
“The key was that I always trained for a victory,” Navarrete stated. “I never thought that I was going to lose or that it was good that I was going for a title. A lot of them told me that I was going to the United States but that I was going there to lose. ‘You are going for the world title. You are going to enjoy it, but you are going to lose.’ The answer or the comment always was that, ‘You are going to lose, they are going to rob you, or whatever, but you are going to lose,’ and I told them that I was going to win…I enjoyed winning that way because I showed a lot of people that were saying that I couldn’t do it, that I did do it, and I brought the world title to Mexico.”
Following the wins over Dogboe, Navarrete has defended the title four more times. He beat Francisco De Vaca, Juan Miguel Elorde and Francisco Horta, all via TKO. Fighting four times in 2019, he last fought in February, beating Jeo Santisima via TKO. The coronavirus has affected his training and his desire to fight, but that hasn’t stopped him from working out and bettering himself. The time away has given him time to reflect and feel better about himself and his craft.
Currently dealing with a hand injury, Navarrete’s health is now priority number one. Fighting through the pain originally, the man with 27 wins via knockout wants to secure his power and his future. He believes the time off will help him in the end. The confidence in his skills and champion status can only be as a result of the opportunities that he has earned.
“I knew that obviously we work hard for certain things and certain goals,” Navarrete continued. “The moment that Bob Arum mentioned I felt like one of the stars in boxing or one of the most important champs in boxing… because representing my country on such an iconic date and in Las Vegas, it’s something a lot of people can’t say that they have done.
“When they gave me the opportunity to do it, it helped me a lot with my confidence because I knew that they were trusting me, that they wanted to see me for a reason. It gave me confidence because I have always thought that I must put on a good show for the people. They are the ones that choose who are the stars.”
As far as future matchups go, Navarrete always wants an increase in competition. He has an interest in the winner of Naoya Inoue v. Johnriel Casimero, with intentions of moving up in weight.
“They were supposed to face each other in April,” Navarrete said of the bout. “I don’t know if it will happen, but if it happens, it will have to be right after we get through the pandemic. It would have to happen right away because the truth is that I’m seriously thinking of moving up to 126, and the only thing that could keep me at 122 would be a big fight against Inoue or a possible unification against one of the champions. That is the reality of why I would stay around at 122. If it’s not that way, I will move up to 126.”