Oscar Valdez is set to head home.
The unbeaten two-division and reigning WBC junior lightweight titlist will next face 2016 Olympic Gold medalist and current 130-pound contender Robson Conceicao. The bout will top an ESPN+ telecast to take place September 10 at AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol at Casino del Sol in Valdez’s childhood hometown of Tucson, Arizona.
In the chief support, Gabriel Flores Jr. continues his rise as a junior lightweight contender as he faces no-nonsense Luis Alberto Lopez in a scheduled ten-round affair.
Top Rank formally announced the show on Tuesday, confirming an earlier report from BoxingScene.com.
“Oscar Valdez is coming off a career-best performance and wants to put on a spectacular showing in front of the great Tucson fans,” said Top Rank chairman and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Conceição has been waiting for this shot ever since he turned pro, and having promoted him for his entire career, I know he’ll be at his very best.
“We have a great co-feature, as the young Flores wants to prove he is a contender to watch, and he can do that by beating a tough Mexican in Luis Alberto Lopez.”
Valdez will make the first defense of the WBC junior lightweight title he claimed in a tenth-round knockout of Miguel Berchelt this past February 20, delivering one of the year’s best performances in unseating the long-reigning champ. The win saw Valdez (29-0, 23KOs)—a two-time Mexican Olympian—become a two-division world champion after having previously held the WBO featherweight title. Included in his three-year featherweight title reign was a twelve-round win over Genesis Servania, with both fighters scoring knockdowns before Valdez prevailed by unanimous decision in their September 2017 war at Tucson, Arizona.
The 30-year-old now returns home with another title in tow.
"I am very excited to fight in my second home, Tucson, Arizona, where I will have my first defense of the WBC super featherweight world title,” Valdez said. “It motivates me to know that I will defend the title in front of my friends and my family, and I will be willing to put it on the line as in all my fights. I'm coming to give a great show to my people, and I can't wait to see you on Sept. 10."
Conceicao (16-0, 8KOs) was teased as the title challenger for months. His status was upgraded after entering the WBC junior lightweight Top 15 rankings in the most recent ratings update, clearing the way for his first career title fight.
“I've been waiting my whole life for this opportunity, and that's why I'm training with great determination,” vows Conceicao, who is coming off of a seventh-round knockout of Jesus Ahumada this past April 13 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I will represent my family and Brazil. I already won a gold medal for my country and now I will bring home a world title. With great determination, I will deliver a great performance. It will be a true spectacle!"
The evening’s co-feature attraction will see Flores once again appear in supporting capacity to Valdez. The two shared the ESPN stage on February 20, with the 20-year-old Flores—originally from Stockton, California and now based out of Las Vegas—earn his best win to date with a sixth-round stoppage of former title challenger Jayson Velez.
“This is the next step in my journey towards a world title, and I will convincingly defeat Lopez,” Flores said. “I’m going to prove once again that I’m ready for the next level.”
Mexicali’s Lopez (22-2, 12KOs) enters riding a five-fight win streak since moving up from featherweight.
“I appreciate matchmaker Brad Goodman and Top Rank for the opportunity to fight Gabriel Flores Jr,” Lopez said of the fight. “I know he’ll be prepared to give everything on Sept. 10, but so am I, and I guarantee nothing but my very best. I’m a man of few words, and I’ll let my actions do the talking inside the ring.”
Preceding the main card and as previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Junto Nakatani will make the first defense of his WBO flyweight title versus former junior flyweight champ Angel 'Tito' Acosta. The bout will mark the celebrated U.S. debut for Nakatani (21-0, 16KOs), an all-action 23-year-old southpaw from Sagamihara, Japan.
Also on the show, blue-chip welterweight prospect Xander Zayas (9-0, 7KOs) will appear in a scheduled six-round contest at junior middleweight.
Rounding out the undercard in scheduled eight-round bouts are lightweight prospect, Raymond Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs), 2016 Mexican Olympian and junior welterweight prospect Lindolfo Delgado (12-0, 11 KOs), René Telléz Girón (15-1, 9 KOs) and Mexican junior welterweight knockout artist Omar Aguilar (21-0, 20 KOs).
Per Top Rank’s announcement, tickets will go on sale beginning July 27, starting at $25 and made available through Etix.com.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox