Glendale, Arizona - Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31 KOs) became a three division world champion, as he captured the vacant WBO super featherweight title on Friday night.
Navarrete went through adversity in the fight.
The Mexican slugger was dropped hard and was forced to rally as the fight played out to stop a very game Liam Wilson (11-2, 7 KOs) in the ninth round.
In the fourth round, Wilson - a 20-1 underdog in some betting circles - shocked everyone when he landed several hard punches and dropped Navarrete to the mat.
Navarrete got back to his feet in serious trouble, but there wasn't enough time for Wilson to finish him off. Navarrete spit out his mouthpiece and banked additional time to recovery. From the point of going down, 27 seconds would pass before the action resumed.
During wild exchanges in the sixth, Wilson would rock Navarrete again - but once again he was unable to follow up further. Navarrete would take control as the contest continued.
The ninth round would see Navarrete land a big hook for a knockdown at the start. Wilson got up, with Navarrete going after him with heavy shots and eventually wore him down with punches to force the stoppage.
“I’m made of a lot of work, strength, lots of heart, and the Mexican spirit that never lets me down,” Navarrete said. “Liam is a warrior. He was able to land a shot that stunned me a lot. Obviously, we tried to take things calmly. Fortunately, we were able to recover our calmness. We went out to recover a bit. We returned to 100%. And we began to engage.
“The satisfaction of winning like this is enormous. I think that I needed this test in order to be able to say my career is more complete. Now that I know that I can hit the canvas and get back up and keep fighting, I’m more than happy because I know that I can continue forward.”
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