Emanuel Navarrete will spend the last day of his first year as a 122-pound title the same as it when it all began—in the ring with a major title at stake.
The 24-year junior featherweight will return to the ring on Dec. 7, as he attempts the fourth defense of his title versus countryman Francisco ‘Panchito’ Horta. The bout—which will stream live on ESPN+ from the 10,000-seat Auditorio GNP Seguros in Puebla, Mexico—will mark his fifth ring appearance in exactly 52 weeks, beginning with title winning effort over Isaac Dogboe last December.
“I am very happy, I already want to get in the ring,” Navarrete (29-1, 25KOs) declared during a press conference held on site Wednesday afternoon to formally announce the event. “I am a professional in every regard and I am training very hard. I paid the price to win this championship and therefore I want to defend it with all my heart and desire.”
Navarrete ended 2018 with a bang, ending Dogboe’s title reign and Fight of the Year run after scoring a 12-round decision last December in New York City. three defenses have followed, all ending inside the distance and taking place within a four month span.
In Horta, he faces an opponent who steps up in class but insists he is game for he cause and ready to shock the world.
“On December 7, I will introduce myself to the public,” noted Horta (20-3-1, 10KOs), who carries a 13-fight unbeaten streak into his first career title fight. “Expect a war. We are going for the world championship.”
It will be a tall order for the 26-year old challenger from Cancun. Navarrete has quickly emerged as a top player in the junior featherweight division, delivering a one-sided beating to Dogboe en route to a 12th round stoppage in their rematch this past May, followed by early knockout wins over Francisco de Vaca and Juan Miguel Elorde four weeks apart over the summer.
The end game here is not just to end the year with a bang but to extend his streak of opponents failing to hear the final bell.
“I always go for the knockout,” stated Navarrete, whose title-winning decision over Dogboe is the lone time he’s been forced to go the scorecards in his past 12 fights. “I think it’s best to win by knockout and on December 7 the people of Puebla will see a great fight!”
A full undercard is expected to be announced in the coming days. The one supporting bout made available to the public pits Nezahualcóyotl’s Silvia Torres (20-1-2, 7KOs) versus local attraction Gabriel Sanchez (6-3, 0KOs) in a junior flyweight contest.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox