Emanuel Navarrete has turned his attention toward adding another featherweight title to the WBO belt he won earlier this month with a victory over Ruben Villa.
Mexico’s Navarrete revealed Villa that he wants to battle IBF champ Josh Warrington in his next bout. England’s Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs) is committed to facing China’s Can Xu (18-2, 3 KOs) next on an undetermined date for his IBF belt and Xu’s secondary WBA 126-pound championship.
If Warrington wins what officially would be billed as a title unification fight with Xu, the Leeds, England, native is Navarrete’s preferred foe. The 25-year-old Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs) believes he and Warrington would make for a more entertaining encounter than he and Villa produced at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“At the end of the day, I’m a champion now,” Navarrete told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna. “I hold the belt and I wanna unify against anybody. But if you give me a choice, I want Josh Warrington. I think his style and my style would mesh perfectly in the ring. He’s a fighter that doesn’t run. He comes forward. He throws a lot of punches. I throw a lot of punches. That’s gonna be an attractive fight when it happens.”
Shakur Stevenson had hoped to fight Warrington when the unbeaten southpaw owned the WBO featherweight title. Once it became clear that Warrington was committed to boxing Xu next, Stevenson vacated his 126-pound championship to remain in the 130-pound division.
Navarrete, who was the WBO’s number one contender, beat the second-ranked Villa to win the then-unclaimed championship Stevenson gave up over the summer.
An aggressive, stronger Navarrete dropped the previously unbeaten Villa twice, once apiece in the first and fourth rounds. The 23-year-old Villa (18-1, 5 KOs), of Salinas, California, won some rounds on the scorecards and got back into their fight after getting up from that second knockdown and suffered a close loss on all three scorecards.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Max De Luca scored six rounds apiece for Navarrete and Villa, but Navarrete won 114-112 on each of their cards due to those two knockdowns. Judge Patricia Morse Jarman scored seven rounds for Navarrete, who won 115-111 on her card.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.