Mexican fighters take center stage at Top Rank Boxing in Glendale

Oscar Valdez falls to his knees in euphoria after his TKO victory over Liam Wilson during their bout for the WBO interim junior lightweight title. (Photo by Joe Eigo/Cronkite News)

By Joe Eigo

April 23, 2024

Oscar Valdez, born in Nogales, Mexico, and raised in Tucson, now holds the WBO interim junior lightweight belt.

GLENDALE – The pageantry and build-up for a boxing match is unlike anything in sports.

For Top Rank’s latest event in Arizona, the intensity began to build during the Wednesday press conference before the March bout at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

In the main event, former two-division world champion Oscar Valdez took on Australia’s Liam Wilson for the WBO interim junior lightweight title. In the co-main event, four belts were on the line in the minimumweight title unification bout between Seniesa Estrada and Yokasta Valle.

The tension began to build at the presser, when the four fighters answered questions just feet away from their opponents, creating an uncomfortable but unique dynamic. The fighters would then pose face to face before leaving to begin their weight cut and then weigh-ins the following afternoon.

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At weigh-ins, the tensions rose even more, with the fighters pushing themselves to make their contracted weight. There is something mind-blowing about combat sports weigh-ins, knowing these fighters will battle hard the following night after pushing their bodies to the limit just to make weight.

Upon the ring of the first bell on fight night, the crowd favorites were clear. Throughout the card, many Mexican boxers took center stage, and many Mexican fans packed the house to support their fighters.

Among the fights on the undercard, Lindolfo Delgado dominated Carlos Sanchez and finished him off with a seventh round knockout after knocking him down hard in the fifth round.

As the women who were squaring off in the co-main event arrived at the ring, the tension in the building was palpable. Even thought there is respect between the fighters, their desire to get their hands on each other could be felt through Desert Diamond Arena.

In the end, Estrada outdueled Valle, winning by unanimous decision, in what could only be described as an absolute battle between two fighters with their eyes on the ultimate minimumweight throne.

In the main event, Valdez outclassed Wilson, forcing the referee to step in during the seventh round to secure his TKO victory over the Australian. Valdez, born in Nogales, Mexico, and raised in Tucson, now holds the WBO interim junior lightweight belt, hoping for the chance to unify later down the line.

“(Arizona) is my home,” Valdez said. “I was born in Nogales (Mexico), but I did my elementary school here in Tucson. I made a lot of great friends, most of my family members are still here … of course I’ve got a great relationship with Arizona. I love it.”

Valdez’s victory and the card as a whole served as quite the victory lap for the Mexican boxing community, continuing to build on the legacy of the legendary Mexican warriors that paved the way.

Author

  • Joe Eigo

    Joe Eigo expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Eigo is in his third semester at Cronkite News. He has previously worked with Inferno Intel, WCSN, The State Press and The Racing Experts.

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