Emanuel Navarrete vacates WBO 122-pound title, will be named mandatory challenger at 126
Emanuel Navarrete officially vacated the WBO junior featherweight title and is moving up to 126 pounds, it was announced on Saturday.
The move comes days after Shakur Stevenson vacated his WBO featherweight title in order to campaign in the junior lightweight division.
In an email sent to the WBO, Guillermo Brito Rodriguez, who advises Navarrete, made a request to officially place the 25-year-old as the mandatory challenger for the featherweight title. The sanctioning body has a rule that allows their titleholders to become the mandatory challenger should they vacate and move up in weight.
The WBO president, Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, approved the move and will place Navarrete accordingly. Unbeaten featherweight Michael Conlan is currently the No. 1 ranked contender for the WBO title.
Valcarcel stated that Navarrete vs. Conlan is a possibility, but there has also been talk of a fight between Navarrete and former WBO junior featherweight titleholder Jessie Magdaleno to fill the vacancy. All three fighters are promoted by Top Rank.
Navarrete (32-1, 28 knockouts), who resides in the Mexico City area, won the WBO junior lightweight title in December 2018 by defeating Isaac Dogboe via 12-round unanimous decision. He made five successful defenses in nine months, with the latest being an 11th-round stoppage of Jeo Santisima of the Philippines.
In previous interviews with The Ring, Navarrete expressed hopes of unifying at 122 pounds against WBC titleholder Rey Vargas or IBF and WBA titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev before moving on to featherweight. He also mentioned the possibility of facing Ring Magazine bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, had the unbeaten Japanese star elected to make the jump.
In his last bout, on June 20, Navarrete battered Uriel Lopez before stopping him in Round 6 in Mexico City.
Navarrete, who is also co-promoted by Zanfer Promotions, is currently rated No. 2 by The Ring at 122 pounds.