Miguel Berchelt to defend WBC junior lightweight title against Oscar Valdez on February 20
The anticipated showdown between WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez will take place on February 20, Top Rank’s Carl Moretti confirmed to The Ring Monday evening.
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole was the first to report the fight.
The 12-round bout will likely take place at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Top Rank has promoted cards during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will air live on an ESPN platform.
The clash between the two boxer-punchers from Mexico is one of the highly-anticipated fights in the sport. Both fighters throw a high volume of punches and their styles compliment one another in the ring.
The all-Mexico clash was scheduled to take place this past Saturday night, but was postponed early last month after Berchelt tested positive for COVID-19. According to ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez, Berchelt had taken a weekly test for COVID-19 throughout October as protocol for the upcoming Valdez fight. Berchelt, who is co-promoted by Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions, had been in quarantine since testing positive.
Berchelt (37-1 1 NC, 33 knockouts), who resides in Merida, Mexico and is ranked No. 1 by The Ring, is scheduled to make the seventh defense of the WBC title against Valdez. In his last bout on June 27, the 28-year-old stopped journeyman Eleazar Valenzuela in round 6 in Mexico City. Since there was no commission present at ringside that night due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight was later ruled a no-contest.
Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) stopped Jayson Velez of Puerto Rico in round 10 of his last bout on July 21, which took place in Las Vegas. The former WBO featherweight titleholder from Nogales, Mexico has now stopped three of his last four opponents.
For the last two years, the 29-year-old Valdez has utilized the services of trainer Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Ring Magazine middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, heavyweight fighters Andy Ruiz and Frank Sanchez, WBC junior featherweight titleholder Luis Nery and unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia.
Valdez is also promoted by Top Rank and is managed by Frank Espinoza.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has stated in previous interviews he would like the Berchelt-Valdez fight to take place before a crowd, but having the fight take place inside a bubble in Las Vegas is the safest option for now.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing