By Steve Kim
2016 was a big one for Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs) as he fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a world champion. On July 23rd he blew out Matias Rueda in two rounds to capture the WBO featherweight title.
He made the first defense of that crown on November 5th by stopping Japanese challenger, Hiroshige Osawa in seven. Now, he'd like to consolidate the division.
Valdez said to BoxingScene.com in a recent interview - "If it were up to me I'd unify my title. There's a lot of good fighters out there. You got great fighters like Lee Selby, Abner Mares, (Leo) Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and those are fights people want to see and I would want to fight those guys.
When asked if there was one particular fight he yearns for the most, he answered - "Gary Russell (27-1, 16 KOs) because he has that green (WBC) belt."
Currently the featherweight division is filled with well-regarded belt-holders and solid contenders.
"They're all very good fighters, I've got nothing but respect for them, it's nothing personal but if you want to be considered the best you have to fight the them - so why not?," said Valdez, from the Jackrabbit Boxing Academy in Long Beach where he put his days work with trainer Manuel Robles.
As of now, Valdez does not have his next fight scheduled.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.