Finest I Confronted: Omar Narvaez

Savvy Argentinean boxer Omar Narvaez was a long-reigning world titlist at flyweight and junior bantamweight for over a decade within the early 2000s-mid 2010s.

Narvaez, who’s considered one of 5 brothers, was born in Trelew, within the northeast of Patagonia, distant from the intense lights and hustle and bustle of a metropolis like Buenos Aires, on October 7, 1975.

“Rising up within the metropolis of Trelew, we had no risks,” Narvaez informed The Ring by Fabricio Nieva. “My childhood was very stunning. We had a really good upbringing in a humble however very good neighborhood. The love of my mother and father was at all times current.”We had been fortunate {that a} plate of meals was by no means missing. As a baby I beloved enjoying soccer and I at all times performed for golf equipment in my space.”

Narvaez, who solely went so far as third 12 months of highschool (although he intends to return and end the ultimate two years someday), didn’t observe or present curiosity in boxing in his early years however that modified when he reached his teen years.

“I got interested as a result of I had an older brother who boxed and I went to see considered one of his coaching classes, however my dream was to be a soccer participant,” mentioned Narvaez, who first took up boxing at 17. “I at all times performed soccer and after I first boxed, I appreciated it. I bought and adjusted my sport utterly, and that was the place my dream and aim of being an important boxer and world champion started.”

“El Huracan” caught the attention of the native scouts, and regardless of having simply 13 newbie fights he moved to Buenos Aires to be on the nationwide crew at 20.

“Solely a year-and-a-half after making my debut, the doorways of the nationwide crew opened for me,” he mentioned proudly of his swift upward trajectory. “I didn’t miss the chance. I managed to be the No. 1 in my class and the captain of the nationwide crew.”

He went on to win 4 nationwide titles, although usually wasn’t capable of take part in lots of home tournaments as a result of he was much better than his compatriots. He gained gold on the South American video games in 1998 and Pan-American Video games in 1999.

On the largest stage, Narvaez represented his nation on the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, dropping within the second spherical on every event. Nonetheless, he was much more profitable on the 1997 and 1999 World Championships, profitable bronze and silver respectively.

“I misplaced on factors within the ultimate, in a really shut battle,” mentioned Narvaez, who misplaced a 6:4 choice to Bulat Jumadilov in Houston, Texas. “However hey, that was crucial for me to have achieved that medal as a result of that put me in an excellent place in newbie boxing.”

Narvaez determined to show skilled, after going 78-25 within the unpaid ranks and aligned himself with promoter Osvaldo Rivero to make his debut in December 2000.

Resulting from his stable newbie basis, Narvaez moved rapidly, and after 18-months his crew introduced WBO flyweight titlist Adonis Rivas to Argentina.

“I used to be stunned of the chance, however in my thoughts, I used to be ready as a result of all my life I had dreamed of that second,” he mentioned “So, beating Adonis Rivas [by wide unanimous decision] and re-opening Luna Park in 2002 was a really good expertise and that’s the place my reign as world champion began.”

The diminutive southpaw would reign for a division file 7 years and 10 months, making 16 defenses, a few of them on the highway in Italy, France and Spain.

Nonito Donaire of the Philippines connects with a left to Omar Narvaez of Argentina within the WBC, WBO World Bantamweight Titles bout at Madison Sq. Backyard on October 22, 2011 in New York Metropolis. (Picture by Chris Trotman/Getty Photographs)

He notably turned again the likes of Alexander Makhmutov (RTD 10), Brahim Asloum (UD 12) and Alejandro Hernandez (UD 12).

Apparently, Narvaez vacated his title one wanting equaling Pongsaklek Wonjongkam’s flyweight protection file.

​”I didn’t know that the file was 17,” he admitted. “I by no means checked out that, I simply wished to be champion and the potential for climbing to the junior bantamweight class arose [after Jorge Arce vacated.] It was tough for me to remain within the flyweight division.”

Narvaez was matched with Everth Briceño, who he had crushed as an newbie and repeated the trick dominating the Nicaraguan to win the vacant WBO 115-pound title by way of 12-round unanimous choice in Might 2010.

Over the following four-and-a-half-years, Narvaez made 11 profitable defenses. In that interval, he unsuccessfully stepped as much as bantamweight and fought WBC/WBO titlist Nonito Donaire at Madison Sq. Backyard, New York in October 2011. It proved a bridge too far.

“Once I went to battle with Nonito I had a fracture in my left hand however I accepted the battle anyway – that’s no excuse,” admitted Narvaez, who was shut out over 12-rounds on all three scorecards. “Boxing-wise I didn’t really feel inferior, however I did really feel inferior bodily. I rapidly observed that the scale distinction was very tough to neutralize.

“It maybe grew to become a boring battle from my half as a result of I didn’t search to push Nonito and he counter-attacked me. He tried to get me out of my boxing and I by no means uncovered myself to his plan as a result of my power was at all times being sturdy defensively and counter-attack and his was additionally, with the distinction being his attain and dimension, it was unimaginable for me to achieve him. If I entered into his sport plan it grew to become simply too harmful, so I didn’t deviate from my script.”

At 115-pounds, he bested amongst others the revered Cesar Seda (UD 12) and twice edged out powerful Mexican Felipe Orucuta (SD 12/ MD 12).

Narvaez was provided the chance to go to Japan and face burgeoning star Naoya Inoue in December 2014. It proved to be a popping out get together for Inoue.

“I used to be conscious that in some unspecified time in the future a brand new star was going to look, one which was going to uncrown me,” mentioned Narvaez, who was stunningly stopped for the one time in his profession, in two brisk rounds. “On the time I didn’t imagine that that one could possibly be Naoya Inoue as a result of he was so younger. I bought stunned by the Japanese Monster.

“As everybody would discover, he had an important potential and numerous energy in his blows. I used to be stunned by his explosiveness, the power of his punches. Through the years I noticed what everybody have seen that he is likely one of the finest pound-for-pound.”

Narvaez wasn’t completed. He gained 5 extra fights earlier than being matched with WBO 118-pound beltholder Zolani Tete in Belfast, Northern Eire in April 2018.

Much like how he was unable to create any openings in opposition to Donaire, he once more fell brief in opposition to his a lot bigger opponent, dropping a shutout 12-round choice.

Narvaez boxed twice extra and bowed out after dropping to a journeyman in 2019. On the age of 44, he retired with nothing left to show with a file of (49-4-2, 25 knockouts). He engaged in 32 world title fights, behind solely Julio Cesar Chavez and Bernard Hopkins, and boasts a formidable 28-3-1 (13 KOs) in world title fights.

Narvaez, now 46, is married, lives in Trelew and has 5 youngsters, two together with his present associate. He’s concerned with boxing in Argentina because the coach of the nationwide youth and junior crew, imparting his expertise on the following technology. He additionally helps his son, Junior, 16, who equally to his father fights at 52KG and is regarded in some quarters as the most effective junior within the nation.

He graciously took time to talk to The Ring about the most effective he fought in ten key classes.


Zolani Tete: He had a protracted attain that made it unimaginable for me to get close to and he was additionally southpaw, similar to me.


Alejandro Hernandez: “Payasito” made it difficult for me as a result of he was very defensive. He was quick together with his actions and by no means straight forward to battle, so it was tough to attach a clear punch, a tough punch or a agency punch. I needed to at all times begin from the physique to then get to the top.


Alex Makhmutov: Makhmutov had these shocking punches, he threw very quick punches with precision. He was a veteran with a lot of pace who stunned me together with his punches greater than as soon as. So, I feel he was one I observed as one of many quickest.


Tete: He was very tall, with lengthy arms. He solely needed to transfer a bit and it made it uncomfortable for me to achieve him. I couldn’t even hook up with the physique.


Nonito Donaire: Essentially the most clever was Nonito Donaire as a result of he at all times fought in his distance. It made me uncomfortable to attach with him and it additionally turned harmful for me. He at all times tried to manage me, to make me go to the physique or get into his distance so he might join. I did a few instances and he related with laborious punches and held his cool.


Cesar Seda: He was massive for the class; he was throwing his physique weight on me and he was agency. He was sturdy. I needed to hit and transfer on a regular basis since I used to be sooner.


Naoya Inoue: I felt the ability in his fingers from the primary second. With the left hand you may really feel nice energy, an important punch. He was the one one who managed to knock me down and beat me by KO.


Felipe Orucuta: He at all times got here ahead. I hit him with laborious punches and couldn’t transfer him. I fought him twice and each instances I landed a number of laborious punches and will by no means make him step again.


​Donaire: The one with essentially the most technical assets was Nonito Donaire. A really full boxer who had a superb jab, numerous hand pace. He labored up and down together with his punches. Good footwork. He at all times stored the space, the one he felt most snug in. I feel he was the one with essentially the most assets to face.


Inoue: The perfect opponent usually I feel was Naoya Inoue. He mixed that explosive power and hand pace that made him always harmful. He’s very full; he is aware of tips on how to field and is supported by his hand pace and energy when he unloads his punches.

Fabricio Nieva helped co-ordinate and translate this characteristic. The Ring appreciates his help.

Questions and/or feedback could be despatched to Anson at [email protected] and you’ll observe him on [email protected]


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