by Rick Reeno
It was officially announced that Mexican Olympian Óscar Valdez signed a promotional agreement with Top Rank. Valdez qualified for the 2008 Olympics at the age of 17 and became the first Mexican Youth World Champion. Valdez upset 2007 PanAm champion Carlos Cuadras at the semifinal of the 2007 National Championships and winning the bantamweight championship in his next bout. In Beijing however he lost in his first bout, 4-15, to eventual winner Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan.
He won the 2008 Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships and won bronze at the Milan's 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships (seniors), becoming the first Mexican to achieve a medal at a World Champhionships in the history of the sport in Mexico.
Valdez won his first fight in the 2012 Olympic Games, defeating India's Shiva Thapa by a margin of 14-9. In his second fight of the games he saw off Tajikistan's Anvar Yunusov by a margin of 13-7 then lost 13:19 to John Joe Nevin.
"We are real excited and look forward to working with Top Rank. We are really happy. We feel that this was a good fit for Oscar," said Valdez's manager Frank Espinoza to BoxingScene.com.
The bulk of Espinoza's stable, including champions Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce De Leon, are promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, but he explained his reasons for going with Top Rank.
"Top Rank really pursued him strongly and they really showed that they wanted Oscar. They presented a solid offer. We came to terms and now we look forward to working with them," Espinoza said.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum is excited about the signing. Valdez was being strongly pursued by Golden Boy, among others, and the Mexican Olympian is the second big amateur to get signed by Arum's company in the last week. This past Monday, Top Rank officially announced their signing of Puerto Rican Olympian Felix Verdejo.
"We are very, very excited. We feel that he is going to be a tremendous star, both in Mexico and among the Mexican-Americans here. We can't wait to get started with his career," Arum said to BoxingScene.com.
Arum said the track record of Top Rank was the biggest reason for his company being able to sign top amateurs like Valdez and Verdejo.
"Whatever everybody else was offering, the kids themselves wanted to come to Top Rank - because they are not stupid. Every single major fighter in the last 10, 15 years was developed by Top Rank," Arum said.
Valdez, who debuts as a featherweight on November 3 in Mexico, thought long and hard and felt Top Rank was the best fit for him.
"I thought about it long and hard, but I felt Top Rank was the right company for my career. I look forward to working with Top Rank," Valdez said.