Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Emanuel Navarrete wants other 122-pound titleholders after Juan Miguel Elorde

WBO 122-pound titleholder Emanuel Navarrete, The Ring's No. 2-rated junior featherweight. Photo by Mikey Williams / TOP RANK

LAS VEGAS – In throwback fashion, Emanuel Navarrete makes the second defence of his WBO junior featherweight title in the space of three weeks at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

The Mexican, who’s now 28-1 (24), stopped Francisco De Vaca in three in California on September 14, meets Filipino Juan Miguel Elorde – grandson of the great Flash Elorde – and while he wants the big fights at 122 pounds, he’s on borrowed time at the weight.

Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde. Photo by Mikey Williams / TOP RANK

“I battle a little bit [to make weight], but I feel well,” he said, after facing off with Elorde at the final press conference. “This year and maybe two more fights next year and that will be it at 122.”

He reckons that in his career he could go as high as 140 pounds, but he wants the big fights before focusing his attentions elsewhere.

“I want to do my best at 122 and as long as my body permits it, but if not I will move up and I have a great career ahead of me,” he added.

But he will not call anyone out. Other champions at the weight include Rey Vargas and Daniel Roman. He’d like both but stopped short of naming names.

“The guy that gives me the opportunity [is who he wants to fight] and whoever wants the fight first,” he said. “I want to face the champions.”

And while he knew there was a chance to appear on this Mexican Independence Day weekend show, he was aware he had to get rid of De Vaca first. Even then, he wasn’t sure that he’d make it to Vegas.

“I was very surprised but I knew it was a great opportunity so we had to train harder, I took a day off and got back in the gym,” he continued. “If he [Bob Arum] lets me I’m going to fight in December too. I’m going to give it my all and show I’m doing everything the right way.”

Vargas will be an interested spectator at ringside on Saturday.

“Thank you for bringing him so you can see who he’s going to face,” he said to his promoter.

Navarrete rose to prominence by defeating Isaac Dogboe in an upset, and then defeating the Ghanaian again in a rematch.

Now he’s the A-side, but that doesn’t change anything in his mindset.

“Not at all,” he said. “I train hard the same way no matter if I’m the favourite or not.”