Eddy Reynoso is pleased with the progress made in the fighter he believes will be his next world champion.

The 2019 Trainer of the Year is working with former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez for their fifth straight fight together and their third with a major title at stake. Valdez enters as the challenger this time, as the Nogales, Mexico native faces countryman and long-reigning WBC junior lightweight champ Miguel Berchelt (38-1, 34KOs) in their highly anticipated ESPN headliner this Saturday from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

“Oscar is preparing well for that fight, he’s very strong right now,” Reynoso told BoxingScene,com. “He’s been boxing very well. We are all very confident that he will come away with the win and the world title on Feb. 20.”

Valdez (28-0, 22KOs) joined the Reynoso family stable in 2018, months after recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a March 2018 unanimous decision win over former 122-pound titlist Scott Quigg. The bout marked the fourth defense and most challenging fight of his featherweight title reign.

An all-action fighter to that point, Valdez sought the tutelage of Reynoso—best known for his career-long work with pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez—to improve his overall game. Two more title defenses followed since their union before Valdez vacated his featherweight strap in 2019 after a 12-round win over Jason Sanchez.

Two wins inside the distance have come since moving up to junior lightweight. Valdez had to climb off the canvas to rally back in a 7th round stoppage of late replacement Adam Lopez in 2019. Most recently, the now 30-year old two-division title hopeful scored a 10th round knockout of former title challenger Jayson Velez last July.

“He has continued to work hard on his counterpunching. We’ve worked on increasing his lower body strength, his balance and tightening up his defense,” reveals Reynoso. “We’re getting him to box more. We are always working on perfecting every area and he continues to respond well.”

Getting caught up in a slugfest with Merida’s Berchelt—who has stopped 16 of his last 17 opponents—is not part of the blueprint. That said, home viewers are expecting a fight of the year contender given the meshing styles. Should it come to that, the four extra points he would have to shed at featherweight are expected to serve him well.

“He is getting stronger,” insists Reynoso, who also trains current flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez, unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia and former heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz. “He was already struggling to make 126 pounds and feels much better at this weight.

“Our job is to continue to enhance those areas, keep him on the right diet and supplement program and increase his muscle mass. We are pleased with the results so far and the fans will see the difference in the ring.” 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox