Oscar Valdez Will Stop At Nothing To Complete His Mission
One of the top goals for Top Rank has been to produce a fight in the featherweight division between two of the top fighters within it. If all goes according to plan for Oscar Valdez tonight, July 21, he will be one step closer to his goal.
Valdez (27-0) is set to face off against Jayson Velez inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Breathing down his neck is an opportunity to face WBC Super-Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt.
“My goal is to become world champion this year,” Valdez stated to Boxing Scene. “That’s where all of my focus is, winning the fights in front of me and moving toward winning that second world title.”
Valdez turned pro in 2012. Winning the WBO-NABO Featherweight Title from Evgeny Gradovich, Valdez beat Matias Rueda for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title, defending it six times. He has since beaten fighters like Miguel Marriaga, Scott Quigg, and Carmine Tommasone. The 29-year-old last fought in November, beating Adam Lopez via TKO.
Valdez (27-0) is a –2000 favorite while Velez is the +1000 underdog. Leaving one division for another, Valdez wants to prove he can face the tough competition out there.
Berchelt (37-1) is on a 16-fight win streak dating back to 2014. An interim champion, he beat Francisco Vargas for the WBC Super-Featherweight Title. Berchelt has defended it six times, with four of those wins coming via some form of knockout.
“That’s one of the reasons I really wanted to fight Miguel Berchelt for my first championship fight at 130,” Valdez went on to say. “It’s a fight the fans really want to see because it’s the best fighting the best. You look at this division and the champions. Joseph Diaz, Leo (Santa Cruz), Jamel Herring—the toughest one out of them all is Berchelt. I want to beat the best there is, and he’s the best.
Berchelt last fought in June, beating Eleazer Valenzuela via TKO. The fight was then ruled a no-contest after the Mexico City Boxing Commission ended up not sanctioning the fight.
In order to face Berchelt, Valdez must get past Velez. “La Maravilla” last fought in February, losing to Jamie Arboleda via split decision. Velez is looking to play spoiler to take Valdez’s spot. Valdez is not taking his opponent lightly and will work extremely hard to get what he wants.
“I have a far tougher challenge ahead,” Valdez said. “Jayson Velez is here with big dreams just like me. I have to win this fight to get to Miguel Berchelt. For Jayson Velez, this is his opportunity to get another big fight. I don’t underestimate any opponent because I know they always get up for me.
“I know what Jayson Velez brings to the table. He has a few losses, but is still a tough fighter and his last fight (a disputed points loss to unbeaten Jaime Arboleda this past January) showed what he’s still capable of at this level.”
Top Rank’s main card begins at 8 p.m. ET. Everything will be airing on ESPN and FIGHT SPORTS will be providing coverage.