Oscar Valdez is believed to be the fan favorite heading into his all-Mexico civil war.

Emanuel Navarrete isn’t too concerned about giving up too much ground ahead of his WBO junior lightweight title defense, even in territory familiar to the former two-division titlist.

“When I fought in [Glendale] earlier this year, I felt the same warmth and embrace as when I fight in Mexico,” Navarrete told BoxingScene.com. “I expect an even greater response when I fight Oscar Valdez.”

“He will have his fans and I will have mine. It will be an amazing atmosphere and will feel like I’m at home.”

The rescheduled Navarrete-Valdez title fight headlines an ESPN telecast this Saturday from Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Navarrete fought at the same venue in his WBO 130-pound, title-winning ninth round knockout of Australia’s Liam Wilson this past February. He was originally due to face Valdez (31-1, 23KOs), a two-time Olympian for Mexico and former two-division titlist from Nogales, Mexico with childhood roots In Tucson, Arizona who had to withdraw from the scheduled bout due to injury.

The crowd was behind Navarrete (37-1, 31KOs), who survived the first knockdown of his career to drop and stop Wilson in the ninth-round of their vacant title fight. He returns for what will be his third career bout in state and second straight in the greater Phoenix area.

“The fans really embraced me,” noted Navarrete, a three-division titlist from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico. “I was never worried about fighting Oscar Valdez here. I know he has a fan base here and in Tucson. I earned one in my last fight and expect a lot of those same fans to come back [on Saturday night].”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox