Emanuel Navarrete Defeats Ruben Villa To Win Vacant WBO World Featherweight Title
Former WBO World Junior Featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 27 KOs) used a strong start to build an early lead en route to a unanimous decision win (114-112 twice, 115-111) over Ruben Villa (18-1, 5 KOs) to capture the vacant WBO World Featherweight title at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.
Navarrete is an active and aggressive power-puncher who is great at landing punches from odd angles with great force. And it was one of those odd shots, a left uppercut that seemingly came from the floor, that caught Villa and put him on the seat of his pants late in the first round.
But to his credit, the southpaw challenger dusted himself off and did a decent job of boxing from the outside in rounds two and three. Villa has a good understanding of the ring. He used his jab and good foot movement, doing a good job of keeping the fight on the outside and the champ at bay.
However, in the fourth, Navarrete struck with his vaunted power once again. A counter left-hook put Villa down for a second time in the fight with 49-seconds to go in the round.
STRENGTH AND POWER
During the middle rounds, Villa attempted to once again keep the fight at a distance and box. However, Navarrete was in his groove and dominating. Even though Navarrete was the fighter moving up in weight from 122 to 126-pounds, he was stronger, more powerful, and looked to be the physically bigger man as he continued to pound away with hard punches to the head and body.
The pace of the fight slowed down in the late rounds as it seemed that Navarrete went into a bit of cruise control, confident of victory. It is not like Villa was not trying, it was a simple case of him being outgunned.
With the win, Navarrete not only one became a two-time, two-division world champion, but it also puts him right in line for big fights at 126-pounds. Afterward, he said the ultimate goal is to unify the division. However, if there were a specific guy he would like to fight, it would be the current IBF World Featherweight champion, Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs).
By: Michael Wilson Jr.