NOT content with terrorizing fringe contenders at both super-bantamweight and featherweight, Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete will this Saturday (February 4) attempt to continue his path of destruction up at super-featherweight, where he will meet Australia’s Liam Wilson for the vacant WBO title in Glendale, Arizona.

Navarrete, of course, is no stranger to title fights, nor to the WBO. As that organisation’s belt-holder at super-bantamweight and also featherweight it was always likely he would one day seamlessly find his way to a title shot in a third weight class before his career was over.

His featherweight belt, which Navarrete won in 2020 when outpointing Ruben Villa over 12 rounds, was one he defended three times, the last of which was a sixth-round stoppage of Eduardo Baez in August. His super-bantamweight belt, meanwhile, was one the 28-year-old picked up when outpointing Isaac Dogboe back in 2018. From there, he beat Dogboe in a rematch, stopping him in the 12th and final round, and then went on to successfully defend the belt against Francisco De Vaca (TKO 3), Juan Miguel Elorde (TKO 4), Francisco Horta (TKO 4), and Jeo Santisima (TKO 11), all of which served to highlight Navarrete was one of the biggest punchers in the sport.

It’s true, he didn’t appear quite so destructive as a featherweight, going 12 rounds with Villa and also Joet Gonzalez, as well as being extended into the 12th round by Christopher Diaz (at which point Navarette closed the show), but that could have as much to do with the better level of competition at nine stone as Navarrete’s power not being as impactful.

Chances are, on Saturday we will find out one way or the other. We will find out how hard Navarrete hits as a super-featherweight and we will find out whether Liam Wilson is both tough enough to take it and good enough to offer a threat of his own.

So far, the 26-year-old from Queensland is 11-1 (7) as a pro with few signs on this 12-fight record that suggest he will be able to stop Navarrete’s march. Still, last year was clearly a good one for Wilson, seeing as it was the year in which he not only beat Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda over 10 rounds but also Joe Noynay (TKO 2), who had stopped Wilson in the fifth round the previous year.

Now, with a career-best win and a bit of revenge under his belt, there is arguably no better time for Wilson to test his skills against the so-called elite. Yet, even so, it is still Navarrete, 36-1 (30), one must back to win this fight on Saturday, probably by stoppage in the middle rounds, by which point he will have presumably made a third weight class fear his sudden presence.