Home Boxing News Oscar Valdez reignites his career, Liam Wilson heads back to the drawing...

Oscar Valdez reignites his career, Liam Wilson heads back to the drawing board

Oscar Valdez lands on Liam Wilson. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Mexico’s Oscar Valdez 32-2 (24) got his career back on track with a gritty win over determined Australian Liam Wilson 13-3 (7) at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Friday night.

The 33-year-old former two-weight world champion was looking down the barrel of his third defeat in four outings, but he dug deep when hurt to manufacture a seventh-round knockout of Wilson in their battle for the vacant WBO interim super featherweight title.

Wilson, 28, from Caboolture in Queensland got off to a good start, using his height and reach to keep the fight on the outside for the first two frame. Valdez was cautious in his approach but he did have some success in the second, bloodying the visitor’s nose.

Valdez came out more aggressively in the third but Wilson was able to time him with counterpunches, landing rips to the body and uppercuts to the head. The fourth saw Valdez force the fight to the inside where he landed short, hard shots. Never one to back down from a fight, Wilson went with him and had some good success in the last minute of the stanza.

The fifth round was fought on largely even terms. Wilson was setting the pace but Valdez had found his rhythm and range. When the bell rang, Valdez returned to his corner bleeding from his mouth.

The sixth round saw excellent two-way action with Valdez getting the better of the exchanges in close. Midway through the round he snapped the head back of Wilson with a right uppercut. Wilson had success at range with his snaking right cross.

It was back in the phone booth to start the seventh. Wilson, looking for a tactic to break Valdez’s surge, switched southpaw with little effect. With one minute remaining Valdez laid hands on Wilson, rocking him in centre ring and swarming all over him.

Wilson clinched but Valdez broke free. Sensing it was now or never, Valdez emptied his cannons. Tough and brave, Wilson remained on his feet. But with very little offence coming back from him, referee Mark Nelson stepped in to stop the contest at the 2:48 mark.

After the fight Valdez admitted it was one of the toughest fights of his career.

“Several times he nearly had me, he did hurt my ribs, he can punch,” Valdez said.

“It crossed my mind a few times (retirement), but I wanted to be an example that you might lose in life and boxing.

“It’s got to be up there with my best wins. I refused to give up, a lot of people wrote me off… I’m crying again but this time it’s joy.

“I said to Liam not to give up. I lost before, but it doesn’t mean you are done.

“He almost got me. I have to take my hat off to him. I know he can be a world champion.”

Wilson, whose tendency to abandon his boxing in favour of brawling has been a signature of his career, vowed to return.

“That’s the way boxing goes, since I was a young kid, I dreamed of being in these fights,” said Wilson.

“It’s still early in my career, this was my 16th fight. I want more hard ones, line them up. I’m still young, I have a lot of years to go in this sport… I’ll be back.

“I tried to box the first few rounds, but my heart got the better of me. I want to be in tough fights, but it’s probably not the best. I have to learn from it and start using my boxing brain.

“He was a bit tricky inside, I thought I hurt him to the body, but Oscar is a true champion.

“My heart gets the better of me… I’m sorry.”

Both Valdez and Wilson lost to former three-weight world champion Emanuel Navarrete 38-1-1 (31) at the same venue last year.

Reflecting on that setback, Valdez had some sage words about his own experience that could easily apply to Wilson.

“I want to be an example,” he said. “In boxing, you might lose. In life, you might lose. But you have an obligation to come back strong.”