Oscar Valdez will receive a homecoming on the heels of the biggest win of his career.
A return to Tucson is in store for the two-time Mexican Olympian and unbeaten two-division titlist, who will headline a September 10 ESPN card from the AVA Amphitheatre at Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Valdez will make the first defense of his WBC junior lightweight title, with Robson Conceicao—a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist and current rising contender—as the leading candidate, pending sanctioning body approval as the unbeaten Brazilian is currently not ranked by the WBC in any weight division.
The title defense has been in talks for weeks, with Top Rank on the hunt for a right date and location. Several dates were in play for August and September as well as October 1, before settling on September 10 as first revealed via social media by The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire.
The event will mark Valdez’s first fight since his sensational 10th round knockout of long-reigning WBC junior lightweight titlist Miguel Berchelt this past February at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“Oscar Valdez is really excited about fighting in Arizona again after his big win against Miguel Berchelt,” Frank Espinoza Jr. of Espinoza Boxing Club, Valdez’s career-long manager told BoxingScene.com. “I know he’s very excited to perform in front of fans. As always, Oscar Valdez will be ready to put on a show for everyone watching!”
Valdez (29-0, 23KOs) last appeared in Tucson atop a September 2017 show from Tucson Convention Center, roughly 20 minutes from Casino del Sol. Valdez—originally from Sonora, Mexico but who grew up in Tucson and still has family in the area—also topped an ESPN show that night, making the second defense of his WBO featherweight title in a sensational 12-round war with Genesis Servania, where both fighters hit the deck before Valdez prevailed by unanimous decision.
“Summer just got hotter in Tucson! Oscar Valdez gets a lot of love here,” Michelle ‘Raging Babe’ Rosado told BoxingScene.com, as her Raging Babe company takes the local lead for the event. “I’ve said for years that Tucson is a hidden gem of a fight town. They love their [Arizona] Wildcats and their boxing.
“I expect fans to travel from Phoenix to Tucson for Valdez’s homecoming.”
The fight with Servania attracted more than 4,100 fans in attendance, with a full house expected for his first fight back as a two-division world champion. Valdez has raised his profile on the strength of his tour-de-force performance versus Berchelt, ending his countryman’s four-plus year title reign.
With the win, the next course of progression for Valdez was to re-establish him as a box-office attraction. Tucson has always served as a fun fight town, one that appears to be ripe for world class boxing following the pandemic.
“We’ve had great success in Tucson, and Top Rank was sharp enough to return,” notes Rosado. “I’m thrilled the event is happening at Casino Del Sol. The property is beautiful and it’s where the late Hall-of-Fame promoter Don 'War-A-Week' Chargin often pitched his tent.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox