Oscar Valdez and Liam Wilson will meet at the site where each suffered their most recent defeat.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that plans are underway for Valdez-Wilson to take place on March 29 at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The two sides are in advanced talks to reach a deal for a junior lightweight clash that would air live on an ESPN platform.
ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger was the first to report the development.
Both boxers were dealt a loss by Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (38-1, 31KOs) in separate WBO junior lightweight title fights at the venue.
Valdez (31-2, 23KOs) has not fought since his competitive but clear defeat to his countryman at Desert Diamond Arena last August 12. The two-time Olympian and former two-division titlist from Nogales, Mexico lost by scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109 in their entertaining title fight, which saw Navarrete lodge his first successful defense of his third divisional title reign that evening.
The two were due to meet at this very site last February 3.
Valdez was forced to withdraw due to a prior back injury that never fully healed in time to proceed with training camp. He was replaced in that bout by Australia’s Wilson (13-2, 7KOs), who became the first to floor Navarrete with a surprise knockdown late in round four. The visiting Queensland boxer was unable to maintain the momentum. Navarrete rallied to drop and stop Wilson in the ninth round of their vacant WBO junior lightweight title fight.
Wilson has since won two in a row in his Australia homeland. Both fights went the ten-round distance, the most recent in a competitive decision victory over countryman Jackson Jon England (15-3, 8KOs) last December 15 in Pyrmont.
This will mark Wilson’s second in the U.S., both at the same location.
The show will air opposite the Sweet 16 round of the 2024 NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament. The Final Four and championship game will take place at nearby State Farm Stadium, across the street from Desert Diamond Arena and home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Event promoter Top Rank took a similar approach last year; Navarrete-Wilson was scheduled the week before Super Bowl LVII, which was held at State Farm Stadium.
Valdez has childhood roots in Tucson, Arizona, roughly two hours from the greater Phoenix area where the 33-year-old remains a popular draw.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox