Emanuel Navarrete, one of boxing’s busiest fighters and a recent world champion at 122 pounds, is ready to showcase his talents one division north entering Friday’s vacant featherweight title bout.
Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs), a native of Mexico, puts his 27-fight win streak on the line when he squares off with Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBO 126-pound title recently left open by unbeaten Shakur Stevenson. The bout is the main event of a Top Rank card from the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The opportunity to move up in weight saw Navarrete leave behind the WBO junior featherweight title that he defended five times in an incredibly short period of time. Counting his 2018 decision win over then-unbeaten Isaac Dogboe to claim the title, Navarrete enters his ninth trip to the ring in a span of just 22 months.
“My body is doing a lot better. I’m growing a little bit more,” Navarrete said during Wednesday’s final press conference. “It was getting a little bit difficult making 122 but now going up to 126, I think I’m more prepared for that.
“With the current situation and the camp we’ve had, [my team] has done a great job. We’ve worked through it, and we’re ready for this match.”
The tall Navarrete scored stoppage wins in all five of his title defenses, which took place over a span of just nine months. He’ll be facing a slick boxer in the 23-year-old Villa, a native of California who is stepping up in class considerably despite recent wins over Alexei Collado and Jose Enrique Vivas to earn the title shot.
Villa has no problem facing fighters looking to knock him out and believes he possesses the right skill set to outfox Navarrete’s advances.
“My last couple of fights, they’ve been aggressive guys who come to beat me and think they’re going to get me off my game plan. But I adapted well,” Villa said. “We always had good game plans and stuck to game plans, and now we’re here fighting for a world title. I feel like I’m ready. I feel like he’s beatable, and my style is the one to do it.”
Although Villa has yet to defeat a fighter the class of Navarrete, he believes the level of challenge will force him to raise his game to a whole new level.
“I want to see the best Ruben Villa. I haven’t even seen him yet,” Villa said. “I feel like Navarrete will bring it out of me. I’m just excited to perform and show you guys what I got. I feel like I’ve been slept on. Maybe a lot of people think I don’t belong here but I’m going to show everyone I’m an elite 126 fighter. Yeah, I’m coming to win and coming to fight.”
- Emanuel Navarrete vs. Ruben Villa — WBO featherweight title
- Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Gonzalo Coria — Middleweights
- Date: Oct. 9 | Time: 10 p.m. ET (main card)
- Location: MGM Grand Conference Center — Las Vegas
- TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: ESPN+ (prelims only), fuboTV
For as much as Villa’s confidence should help him entering this fight, he simply doesn’t possess the power to keep Navarrete off of him and that makes for a dangerous formula.
Navarrete was huge for junior featherweight and he’s not likely to seem all that smaller at his new weight class. He’ll have a six-inch reach advantage over Villa and Navarrete’s ability to keep up a high work rate while swarming with flurries will likely be a problem from the opening bell.
Pick: Navarrete via TKO7
Welcome to FIFA.com News – Pele: The only thing I haven’t done in 80 years is play on the moon
- Pele turns 80 today
- FIFA had the immense privilege of interviewing ‘The King’
- An emotional Pele expressed his gratitude to football
“In Pele’s 80 years, the only thing that’s missing is to land on the moon,” a teary-eyed Pele told FIFA on his landmark birthday. “When there’s football on the moon, I’ll go there and have a little kickaround.”
In this interview, ‘The King’ discussed everything he has achieved with Brazil, Santos and New York Cosmos, told an amusing childhood story and revealed his gratitude to football.
“I’m crying with joy,” he assured his wife Marcia as she passed him a tissue. “Can’t I cry with joy?”
You can watch the full video interview above.
Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras 2: Fight prediction, card, odds, start time, how to watch
When Carlos Cuadras tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, it seemed his Friday night rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada was about to go up in smoke. Instead, Cuadras was able to turn in a negative follow-up test and the bout was saved, as were hopes of a super flyweight unification rematch between Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Cuadras (39-3-1, 27 KO) will battle Estrada (40-3, 27 KO) for the WBC super flyweight championship in the main event from Gymnasio TV Azteca in Mexico City (7 p.m. ET, DAZN). Chocolatito (49-2, 41 KO) will also be in action, putting his WBA version of the 115-pound world title on the line against Israel Gonzalez (25-3, 11KO). The goal of the show for Matchroom Boxing seems to be to get to that unification bout between Estrada and Gonzalez. The two previously met in 2012, with Gonzalez taking a wide decision victory.
Cuadras is more than a mere stepping stone to a bigger fight, however. In September 2017, Cuadras battled Estrada in a highly-competitive bout. Estrada took the fight on the judges’ scorecards, winning 114-113 on all three scorecards. A knockdown by Estrada in Round 10 was the deciding factor in that fight, buti it showed that Cuadras can hang with Estrada. An upset win by Cuadras could also result in a rematch, as he has his own loss to Gonzalez in a bloody fight in 2016.
Estrada defeated Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in April 2019, a victory that established him as the top 115-pound fighter in the world and landed him the WBC world title. After one successful defense, he was linked up with Cuadras, who has struggled a bit since that first meeting with Estrada, including a stint in rehab after refusing a drug test following a loss to McWilliams Arroyo in 2018.
Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.
Chocolatito had staked a claim to a spot as arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport when he ran into Rungvisai, who handed Chocolatito the first two losses of his career. After a few rebound wins, he proved he still had plenty to give in the ring by thrashing Khalid Yafai for a ninth-round TKO win to capture the WBA title.
In Israel Gonzalez, Chocolatito faces a fighter who has lost his two prior shots at world championships. Gonzalez lost a shot at the IBF super flyweight title against Jerwin Ancajas in February 2018 and then lost to Yafai in a shot at the WBA title in November of that year.
In the opening bout of the card, Julio Cesar Martinez (16-1, 12 KO) will put his WBC flyweight title on the line against Moises Calleros (33-9-1, 17 KO). Calleros is stepping in for Maximino Flores after Flores tested positive for COVID-19, taking down a bout that looked like a thriller on paper. Martinez has established himself as a must-watch talent, impressing with every outing over recent years before thrashing Cristofer Rosales to win the vacant WBC flyweight title.
Estrada vs. Cuadras 2 card, odds
Juan Francisco Estrada (c) -575
Carlos Cuadras +425
WBC super flyweight title
Chocolatito Gonzalez (c) -2000
Israel Gonzalez +1000
WBA super flyweight title
Julio Cesar Martinez (c) -2200
Moises Calleros +1100
WBC flyweight title
Estrada should not be looking past Cuadras, and likely won’t be after their first fight was so close. That said, the two men have gone in different directions since that first meeting. Cuadras had the stint in rehab and then pieced together some middling wins after returning to the ring. Meanwhile, Estrada has proved himself an elite fighter in the division and is likely one win away from getting the rematch he has wanted for nearly a decade. Expect Cuadras to give everything he has and present the best version he has left of himself, but it likely will not be enough against a man who is now simply a better fighter. Pick: Estrada via UD
Kapil Dev undergoes heart surgery
Kapil Dev, India’s greatest allrounder and their 1983-World-Cup-winning captain, has successfully undergone an angioplasty. Dev, who is 61 years old, is understood to be in a stable condition following the procedure, which took place on Thursday evening.
According to Sportstak, who spoke to Dev’s wife Romi, the former India captain had complained of uneasiness on Thursday. At the recommendation of the family doctor Dev went to hospital where it was determined he had a blocked artery in the heart.
An angioplasty is a medical procedure that widens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries – the main blood vessels supplying the heart.
In a statement issued on Friday, Fortis Escorts, the hospital where he underwent the procedure, said Dev is in the ICU but “stable”. The statement said Dev arrived at Fortis at 1 am on Friday complaining of chest pain.
“He was evaluated and an emergency coronary Angioplasty was performed by Dr. Atul Mathur, Director of Cardiology Department, in the middle of night,” the statement said. “Currently, he is admitted in ICU and under close supervision of Dr. Atul Mathur and his team. Mr. Kapil Dev is stable now and he is expected to get discharged in couple of days.”
Get well soon Paaji @therealkapildev
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) October 23, 2020
My prayers are with you hope you get well soon #Kapildev paji
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) October 23, 2020
— Madan Lal (@MadanLal1983) October 23, 2020
Dev, who played 131 Tests and 225 ODIs from 1978 to 1994, is widely hailed as one of the finest allrounders to have played the game. With 5248 runs at 31.05 and 434 wickets at 29.64, he remains the only cricketer to have achieved the double of 5000 Test runs and 400 wickets, and one of only two, alongside Ian Botham, to have completed the 5000-300 double.
An outswing bowler of great accuracy and skill, Dev broke Richard Hadlee’s record for most Test wickets (431) in 1994, and his mark of 434 stood until 2000, when Courtney Walsh went past it. Muttiah Muralitharan now holds the record for most Test wickets (800) while James Anderson – who currently has 600 – has the most Test wickets by a fast bowler.
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