Originally reported in the LA Times column “The Fight Corner” and tweeted by Lance Pugmire, sportswriter for the LA Times, Nogales native, Tucson raised and WBO Featherweight Champion of the World Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) will make a title defense return to the Old Pueblo on January 12 on a card that will be on ESPN.
This will be the former Mexican olympian’s first time answering an opening bell since suffering a broken jaw midway through a title defense fight he had with Scott Quigg in a rainy and soaked StubHub Center on March 10th, 2018. It will also be Valdez first bout with new trainer Eddy Reynoso who trains Canelo Alvarez as well. Valdez left long time trainer Manny Robles a few months after defeating Quigg.
In true legendary fashion Oscar Valdez suffered his gruesome injury in the 7th round and through 5 more rounds to win a unanimous decision. Valdez left massive amounts of blood,sweat, heart and soul all over the canvas. Quigg suffered a badly broken nose himself. Their performance has many boxing journalists widely regarding the bout as a Fight of the Year candidate.
Pugmire has reported that Valdez will face Andoni Gago (20-3-3, 6KOs) of Spain.
Most will regard this bout as a tune up fight for Valdez as he eyes bigger names in the featherweight division.
“Most casual fans think like this: ‘If I haven’t heard of that fighter, he’s a bum,'” Valdez told me prior to his show down at the TCC in September of 2017 as he told me he cautions fans on overlooking fighters simply because they have not yet made a name for themselves.
Carl Frampton (26-1, 15KOs) is the biggest name murmered in boxing press circles as the top fight for Valdez to land in 2019. A Framption vs Valdez fight will most likely never happen in Tucson. Frampton being the huge draw that he is would more likely demand a more neutral sight, capable of drawing more people into an arena or stadium. New York has been mentioned where a pro Frampton crowd could be massive.
Frampton has been quoted as saying that Valdez has most definately earned a tune up fight prior to the two meeting up at some point in the futre after the injury he suffered and taking a fight against an overweight Quigg and risking everything in the process.
Valdez earned an enormous amount of credit, popularity and fans with how he handled himself before, during and after the Quigg bout.
First thing’s first. Valdez has a Gago fight in front of him.
When Top Rank and ESPN announce the card officially, we at AllSportsTucson.com will have a complete break down of all the fighters as well as ticket info and all the web links you will need.