Emanuel “El Vaquero” Navarrete visited the canvas, but he got back up to become a three-division world champion.
Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) captured the vacant WBO junior lightweight world title with a hard-earned ninth-round technical knockout victory against Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) Friday night at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
In the early rounds, Navarrete controlled the fight by pushing the action with his awkward style. But in the fourth round, he was hurt badly by a left hook, which allowed Wilson to land several more shots and eventually drop Navarrete. The Mexican warrior was able to recover, but was hurt once again with a right hook in the sixth.
Navarrete kept his cool and eventually began a vicious assault to the body, which weakened Wilson in the eighth round. “El Vaquero” then caught Wilson with a right hand that sent him down hard. Wilson did his best to survive the onslaught, but Navarrete’s relentless punching was too much and forced the ref to call a halt to the fight at 1:57 of the ninth.
At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Navarrete ahead (76-75 and 77-74 2x).
“Tonight, I came up a bit short, and I’m disappointed,” Wilson said. “But I knocked him down in the fourth round, and I felt that the count was a bit long. We’ll have to review it and see what people think. He’s a true champion, though. I thought I won the fight in that sense because I think it was about a 20-second count. I’ll review it and see what happens there.
“I want to come back. I’m a true champion. This is my 12th fight, but no excuses. I love to fight, and I love challenges. I’d fight any other champion any day of the week. He’s a tough champion. With all due respect to him, he’s very awkward. But this is boxing, and stuff happens. All credit to him. I hope he goes on to do great things. I’ll be back. Make no mistake about it.”
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