It has been a while since Emanuel Navarrete had to face adversity, but in the Desert Diamond Arena he was close to suffering his first loss in over ten years. However he built his way back in the fight to get the victory.
Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) became a three division champion by defeating Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) by 9th round technical knockout to capture the vacant WBO super featherweight championship. Navarrete was the WBO champion at super bantamweight and featherweight before moving up to 130 to win another world title.
In the opening rounds Navarrete was successful with combinations and catching Wilson with counter left hands. In the fourth round, he threw a combination but was countered by a left hand which stunned him. Wilson followed up with an attack that led to Navarrete being put to the canvas with under a minute left in the round. The Mexican got up and responded with flurries in the fifth round to get back in the fight, then in the seventh round scored multiple power shots to have Wilson in trouble. Wilson was weakened by the body attack of Navarrete as Wilson’s left hand was dropping low in the eighth round, and in the ninth round Navarrete scored a knockdown 20 seconds in. Wilson got up from the canvas, but the onslaught from Navarrete in the next minute forced referee Chris Flores to stop the bout.
“The satisfaction of winning like this is enormous,” Navarrete said after the victory. “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.”
“I’m made of a lot of work, strength, lots of heart, and the Mexican spirit that never lets me down. Liam is a warrior. He was able to land a shot that stunned me a lot. Obviously, we tried to take things calmly. Fortunately, we were able to recover our calmness.”
Liam Wilson was disappointed that he came up short, but he feels like he could compete for a world title real soon.
“I want to come back. I’m a true champion. This is my 12th fight, but no excuses. I love to fight, and I love challenges. I’d fight any other champion any day of the week. I’ll be back. Make no mistake about it.”
Former WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez stepped in the ring after the bout to state that he will fight Navarrete later this year. He was supposed to fight Navarrete on this date but had to pull out due to injury, and he was showing concern when Navarrete was knocked down in the 4th round. However, he is glad that Navarrete pulled it out for them to battle in the future.