IT’s an interesting time to be a featherweight. In the UK, unheralded Josh Warrington has strung together a series of superb wins that have placed him near the top of the 126lb pile, while on the other side of the Atlantic, Gary Russell Jnr has shown signs of upping his one-fight-a-year-against-a-mediocre-opponent schedule by talking to Eddie Hearn about joining DAZN. Another key player in this shifting landscape is Oscar Valdez, the two-time Mexican Olympian who on Saturday (June 8) defends his WBO belt against Jason Sanchez at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. The show is promoted by Top Rank and televised by ESPN in the USA.
It looks a routine outing for Valdez, because although Albuquerque’s Sanchez is unbeaten at 14-0 (7) he has yet to encounter a world class name. Yet for the champion, the stakes are high – victory keeps him on course for a showdown with either Warrington, assuming the Leeds man retains against Kid Galahad on June 15, or Russell, if the Washington talent does leave the PBC for Matchroom.
Said Valdez, “I’m excited to be back in the ring for the sixth defence of my world title. I know there is a big target on my back because I’m the champion, but nobody is going to take this title away from me.”