Navarrete Knocks Out Eduardo Baez
To Retain Featherweight Title
Photos: Mikey Williams - Top Rank
It took some time for Emanuel Navarrete to warm up. But
when he did, that was all he wrote. Navarrete defended
his WBO featherweight world title with a sixth-round
stoppage over Eduardo Baez on Saturday evening at
Baez (21-3-2, 7 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, appeared on
his way to a shocking upset until a body shot floored
him for the count.
Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) was trailing on two of the
three judges' cards (50-45 and 48-47) at the time of the
stoppage, while one card had Navarrete ahead 49-46.
Navarrete had not fought for more than 10 months, his
longest layoff since winning his first world title in
December 2018. The rust came off in a flash in the sixth
round, and now Navarrete can look ahead to future title
defenses at featherweight or perhaps a move up to junior
“I expected a fight like this. I never underestimated
Eduardo Baez. I knew that he was an excellent fighter
and the fact that he hit pretty hard. It was a lot more
complicated than I anticipated. But then came that shot,
and I was able to finish him," Navarrete said. “That’s a
very Mexican punch. It comes with my blood. And you can
see, I don’t throw a perfect left hook like you’re used
to seeing. But this one came out perfect for me. And you
saw the result because not many guys can take that
Santillan Wins Decision in Hometown
Make it 30 for 30 for Giovani Santillan. The San
Diego-born welterweight contender improved to 30-0 with
a 10-round decision over the previously undefeated Julio
Luna (19-1-2, 10 KOs) by scores of 100-90 2x and 96-94.
It was a rugged affair fought mostly in close quarters,
and there were multiple head clashes. Santillan and Luna
landed 150 power shots apiece, and Luna landed 22 more
blows. The 100-90 scorecards came as a surprise, but the
end result was a triumphant homecoming for Santillan.
“It was a lot tougher than I expected. Luna gave me a
great fight, and I am just thankful for the opportunity
to fight once again in my hometown," Santillan said.
Liver Shiver: Ali Walsh Stops Reyes Sanchez in Rematch
Nearly 50 years after his grandfather fought in this
same venue, Nico Ali Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs) made an emphatic
statement in a rematch against Reyes Sanchez (7-3, 3
KOs). Ali Walsh, who struggled to defeat Sanchez by
majority decision last December, knocked out Sanchez
with a left hook to the body in the second round. It was
the first fight for Ali Walsh with his new head trainer,
Kay Koroma, and the new pairing paid dividends.
“I feel amazing. This was a special win because it was a
rematch. It’s everything I’ve been working towards. My
hard work is now showing in the ring. I want everyone to
see that it’s a new me," Ali Walsh said. “It was so
gratifying. Timothy Bradley called it in the fighter
meetings yesterday. It was a beautiful shot. It was the
shot I was looking for. It was the shot I was dreaming
about, and it happened because I worked so hard for it.”
In other results:
Junior Welterweight: Lindolfo Delgado (16-0, 13 KOs) UD
8 Omar Aguilar (24-1, 23 KOs), Scores: 77-75 and 79-73
2x. In a battle of unbeaten Mexican prospects, Delgado
and Aguilar combined to put forth one of the year's best
action brawls. Delgado, a 2016 Olympian, bloodied
Aguilar's nose in the opening round, but Aguilar's sheer
pressure was effective. Delgado turned the tide in the
fourth round, landing a counter right uppercut that
stunned Aguilar, who held on and stumbled into the
ropes. The last half of the eight-rounder saw Delgado
use his counterpunching to offset Aguilar's constant
forward motion. When the final bell rang, the result was
not in doubt, and Delgado swept it on the judges'
scorecards in a career-best showing.
Junior Lightweight: Austin Brooks (8-0, 2 KOs) UD 4
Oliver Galicia (5-1-1, 3 KOs), Scores: 40-35 3x.
Southpaw hometown favorite Brooks dropped Galicia with
straight left in the opening round and cruised to the
Junior Lightweight: Xavier Martinez (18-1, 12 KOs) KO 5
Alejandro Guerrero (12-3, 9 KOs), 2:57. Martinez bounced
back from his first career defeat with a one-sided
beatdown over former U.S. amateur standout Guerrero.
Martinez found his rhythm in the middle rounds, stunning
Guerrero with a counter right hand at the end of the
fourth. In the fifth, an explosive flurry against the
ropes prompted referee Eddie Hernandez Sr. to step in.
Lightweight: Miguel Contreras (12-1-1, 6 KOs) UD 8 Josec
Ruiz (23-7-3, 16 KOs). Scores: 80-72 2x and 79-73.
Contreras, from Bakersfield, California, thrilled the
home state fans with a pressure fighting exhibition that
left Ruiz in retreat for most of the fight. "The
Caveman" poured it on in the fifth and sixth rounds, but
Honduras' Ruiz, who has only been stopped once as a pro,
survived to the final bell.
Featherweight: Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs) KO 2
Yeison Vargas (20-11,15 KOs), 1:24. Lopez, the IBF No. 1
featherweight contender, lived up to his lofty ranking
with a one-sided stoppage over Vargas. He landed a left
hand to the body in the second that put Vargas down for
Heavyweight: Antonio Mireles (5-0, 5 KOs) KO 2 Kaleel
Carter (2-2, 2 KOs), 1:52. Mireles overcame adversity
for the first time in his young career, as Carter scored
a knockdown in the opening round. A short left hand
started the damage, but Mireles recovered and fought
with a purpose in the second. Mireles' combination
punching stunned Carter, who turned his back and forced
the referee to wave it off.