Oscar Valdez talks about a chance at revenge in his first title defense on Sept. 10 against Robson Conceicao

Oscar Valdez was 18 the final time he fought Robson Conceicao. A lot has modified for Valdez, the WBC junior light-weight titlist, since then. For one, clearly, Valdez is now a two-division beltholder. The 30-year-old from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, is among the most enjoyable fighters on this planet in the present day.

And on September 10, Valdez (29-0, 23 knockouts) will get an opportunity at some candy revenge when he takes on the 32-year-old Brazilian Conceicao (16-0, 8 KOs) on ESPN from the On line casino Del Sol Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

Conceicao is the 2016 Olympic light-weight gold medalist.

Refreshed off his explosive, thrilling Tenth-round stoppage over Miguel Berchelt for the WBC 130-pound belt in February, Valdez, The Ring’s No. 2-ranked junior light-weight, is within the working for the 2021 Fighter of the Yr with Eddy Reynoso stablemate Canelo Alvarez, Tank Davis and world junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor.

Valdez has not misplaced in a decade, since he was 20, dropping a 19-13 choice Eire’s John Joe Nevin as a bantamweight in 2012 Olympics. Earlier than that, Valdez misplaced to two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko, and earlier than that, at 18, to Conceicao within the Pan-Am Video games.

Valdez, who simply signed a brand new three-fight take care of Prime Rank on June 17, says he can’t wait to get this chance in opposition to Conceicao.

“First off, I’m in nice fingers with Bob Arum and Prime Rank and we now have a really relationship that goes again to the start of my profession,” Valdez mentioned. “I really feel nice. I used to be 18 after I misplaced to Conceicao, and I do know individuals will not be pleased with the combat, however Conceicao is the kind of fighter not many individuals know, however he’s a harmful fighter. I do know he’s harmful, as a result of I misplaced to him as soon as.

“I’ve fought these sort of fighters, like (Genesis) Servania and (Miguel) Marriaga. They’re harmful fighters, Scott Quigg, too. They may not have a variety of historical past, however after I fought them, individuals noticed how powerful they’re. This is identical state of affairs. I’m going up in opposition to a gold medalist, and we now have a little bit of as rivalry right here. He beat me as an novice and I do know it was a very long time in the past, however we now have some historical past happening right here. He at all times mentioned he wished to combat me as a professional and I’ll do every thing I can to maintain my title.

“I do know I’ve to remain disciplined and keep centered and I like staying within the health club and I like preventing.”

This can be a very totally different Oscar Valdez. That is 30-year-old Oscar Valdez. That is world-titlist Oscar Valdez. That is the Eddy Reynoso-trained Oscar Valdez. That is the nationwide Mexican-hero Oscar Valdez. That is millionaire-fighter Oscar Valdez.

“I haven’t modified,” he says. “I do really feel like I’m a distinct fighter than I used to be prior to now and it’s been over 10 years since I misplaced. Since I misplaced to Nevins, earlier than that it was Lomachenko, and earlier than that Conceicao.

“I used to be 19 after I fought to Lomachenko, and I used to be 20 after I misplaced to Nevins. So, it’s a decade since I final misplaced and I’ve to present a variety of credit score to my staff, my supervisor Frank Espinoza, my coach, Eddy Reynoso, and my father. I’m not right here with out them.

“I’m within the health club each day with Canelo, and with fighters like Ryan Garcia and Andy Ruiz. You study each day. I need to study each day.”

The ring and the health club have at all times been dwelling, a consolation zone to Valdez, who first began preventing when he was six.

That is the most effective he’s ever felt in 24 years with gloves on his fingers.

“I used to be speaking to Canelo about that very factor the opposite day, feeling like that is the most effective form I’ve ever been in my life,” Valdez mentioned. “I at all times heard after I was youthful fighter that if you hit 30, you’re already thought-about an previous man. I really feel the most effective form in my life now than I did after I was 20, 25. Canelo agreed with me. We’re higher, extra concentrated, with higher existence, than after we had been youthful.

“I’m making an attempt to get the within the ring one other time this yr, possibly a 3rd time this yr in December. I’m not getting any youthful and I need to make the most of this time. I respect Robson as a fighter and I need to win this combat, and I need to combat once more in December.”

That’s the plan for Espinoza, some of the underappreciated managers in the present day whose fighters are a mixed 8-0-1 this yr.

“Signing with Prime Rank was an awesome assist, it’s an awesome group, manufactured from nice individuals who care about individuals they usually confirmed they cared and revered Oscar with the brand new three-fight deal, so proper now, we’re actually pleased about that,” Espinoza mentioned. “If we get this combat completed in September and Oscar comes out clear, we’ll have a look at December, and if not, possibly January.

“If the combat ends in a single spherical, I do know Oscar will need to come proper again. Oscar and I are resigned, and Oscar is pleased. That’s crucial factor. I’ve a duty to verify my fighters are pleased.

“This combat in September is a giant combat. Oscar could also be in search of a bit of revenge. We’ll transfer from there. Oscar can shut a really large yr for him. Not many gave our staff a shot in opposition to Berchelt and we proved everybody improper, and Eddy and our entire staff did an awesome job. We need to proceed that momentum in September.”

And Valdez needs to settle an previous rating. He’s hardly ever misplaced. The few occasions he has, he remembers.

Time to avenge one of many few setbacks is now in his grasp.

“That’s what will probably be on my thoughts,” Valdez mentioned. “I can’t wait to indicate everybody that the Berchelt combat didn’t occur accidentally. We’re going to indicate followers once more the entire exhausting work that we’re placing out within the health club. We’re going to indicate the followers what they need they usually love seeing large knockouts and seeing guys brawling it out. I need to go in there and win in an old school method.”


Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Journal/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. He may be adopted on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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