Emanuel Navarette Earns UD Over Joet Gonzalez To Retain WBO Title

Emanuel Navarrete Defends the Title With a Hard-Fought Win Over a Determined and Tough Joet Gonzalez

WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete flexes at weigh-in for Joet Gonzalez fight
Emanuel Navarrete

Emanuel Navarrete Defends the Title With a Hard-Fought Win Over a Determined and Tough Joet Gonzalez


If one fighter is making a case for himself to be a force among the lower-weight divisions moving forward, its current WBO world featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete. The 26-year-old was an unknown challenger when he faced then-WBO world junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe in December 2018. But to the surprise of many, he put on a power-punching display as he punished Dogboe to win the title by a dominant unanimous decision.

In a rematch, five months later, Navarrete stopped Dogboe in the twelfth to defend the belt for the first time. That set off a busy schedule for the hard-hitter from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Distrito Federal, Mexico. Unusually active for a modern-day world champ, he defended the WBO 122-pound strap five times in thirteen months.

Outgrowing the division, Navarrete decided to move up to 126 pounds. In October of 2020, he defeated Ruben Villa to capture the vacant WBO world featherweight title. In his first title defense, he scored a 12th round TKO over Christopher Diaz in April 2021.

Title defense number two comes against Joet Gonzalez at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. The challenger hopes that a second attempt at a world title turns out much better than his first. In October of 2019, he faced Shakur Stevenson for the vacant WBO world featherweight title. Gonzalez was easily outboxed and lost by unanimous decision.

Following a rebound win over former world 126-pound champion Miguel Marriaga, the 28-year-old resident of Los Angeles is looking to score what pundits would consider a sizable upset.

OFF TO A QUICK START

Navarrete (35-1, 30 KOs) is an offensive machine who bullies his opponents with power and activity. However, the challenger was intent on gaining his respect in the early rounds. Whenever Navarrete unleashed a salvo of shots, Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) made sure to respond in kind to earn his respect.

Round three saw two things develop. One, Gonzalez started to swell and bleed from a cut under his right eye. Secondly, Navarrete started to open up and land with heavy punches. This fight had turned into an outright brawl.

A WAR OF ATTRITION

The brutal action continued throughout as both men were exacting their pound of flesh. Gonzalez showed damage to both his right and left eye, but was fighting with a determination you couldn’t help but admire. He was also getting away with a few tricks such as purposely stepping on the champ’s foot, causing him to slip and fall. Navarrete stayed the course was able to dish out his fair amount of punishment.

It was “Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots” in a boxing ring during the late rounds. Every time one fighter landed a series of shots, the other would come back with punches of his own. The difference was that the champ was able to connect with more shots.

Ultimately, the judges scored the fight in favor of Navarrete by unanimous decision (118-110, 116-112×2). While this reporter agrees the right man won, the 118-110 score, in particular, was far too wide.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Michael Wilson 845 Articles
Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.