Emanuel Navarrete claims twelfth round stoppage in a thriller!
Mexican WBO World Featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (33-1, 28 KO’s) has long since established himself as a great action fighter. In his latest in-ring challenge, he did not deviate from this script one bit! After twelve rounds stuffed with intelligent violence, Navarrete defeated the valiant Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (26-3, 16 KO’s) by knockout.
The bout stood as Vaquero’s first defense of his WBO title since picking up the vacant strap October 9, 2020. To earn the title, Navarrete defeated Ruben Villa by way of unanimous decision. Prior to moving up to featherweight, Navarrete outpointed Issac Dogboe to become the WBO World Super Bantamweight champion. Before vacating and leaving the division, Vaquero defended the title five successful times. The high-volume dynamo with odd, tricky combinations won each of those defenses by way of stoppage.
His prizefight with Navarrete was the second time that Diaz challenged for a full world title. In his first attempt, he was defeated by the talented Japanese fighter Masayuki Ito back on July 28, 2018. The only other blemish on his record was placed there by the immensely skilled Shakur Stevenson. The pair of losses must have left a sour taste. Still, there is no shame in losing to this premiere opposition. To his credit, neither man could stop him and had to settle for a points win. This obviously would not be the case with Navarrete!
WAR AND NOTHING LESS!
The first round was largely uneventful as both fighters felt one another out. Diaz began moving a great deal initially. However, he settled down as the period wore on and began landing to the body. Navarrete bounced around on the outside and casually threw long jabs and a few sparse uppercuts.
Diaz opened the second with an impressive counter right over a Navarrate jab but did not score with much else of note. Navarrete began throwing looping hooks to the body and his punch output was slowly beginning to climb. Yet, like Pitufo, nothing was very punishing or meaningful. At the beginning of the third, Vaquero flipped his switch and morphed into the fighter that made him a two-division champion. Now that his volume exploded, he was landing a bevy of wide hooks flush on the chin and thumping blows to the body. Diaz remained calm and, during the final minute of the period, responded with several hard punches in Navarrete’s mouth.
Just as Pitufo was reaffirming some control in the bout with a number of punishing left hooks to the body, he got dropped with a cloaked left uppercut. Navarrete faked with a right hook then split his guard with the debilitating uppercut in the final thirty seconds. Diaz found his feet without issue but the damage was done. Pitufo recovered well and commanded the opening moments of the third with effective aggression. By the second half of the round however, Vaquero was throwing those odd five and six punch combos to the head and body. Yet when it appeared Navarrete was going to overwhelm him, he would break up the sequence of punches with a single crunching blow of his own. The period ended with both men nearly in a literal stare-down.
Throughout the sixth, Diaz would be warned for low blows even though nothing overly egregious was thrown. It should be noted that Pitufo was easily having his best success with his body work. This was obviously making Vaquero uncomfortable and beginning to consistently back the champ up. As the action continued to rage in the seventh, Diaz was abruptly deducted a point for punching in the back. Pitufo remained undaunted and finished the period strong. The dog fight that Diaz had turned the bout into was giving Navarrete a great deal of problems.
NEVER SAY DIE!
The eighth saw Navarrete fighting at a much lower punch output than he normally would at this point in the fight. This was largely due to Diaz’s body assault, which he continued to hammer away with. Even with that being said, Navarrete was still throwing hard, brutal shots. After landing a nasty punch combination that was lead off with a saucy right uppercut, Pitufo went to the canvas. With his face bloodied, he made it to his feet only to be sunk to the knees once again moments later.
In the ninth period, Navarrete was once again the tornado of punches that he is known to be. In fact, he was throwing so many punches that he sent himself to the canvas due to coming off balance during a secession of punches. Both men began the tenth taking the period off, which drew boos from the crowd. Yet, down the final minute of the round, Vaquero was bouncing hard shots off of Diaz’s head from every angle imaginable.
Pitufo was the more effective ring general for the first two minutes of the eleventh as once again Navarrete’s offensive output dipped a bit. Down the final minute, both men tore into one another like two men fighting for the last parachute in a crashing plane. Seemingly far down on the cards, Diaz attacked the champ like a man with nothing to lose in the twelfth and final round. He strafed his body with blistering hooks and rocked him with a bunch of hard right hooks to the head. It can be argued that Navarrete was on the verge of wilting.
A GAME CHANGING CALL?
Then out of nowhere, the ref stopped the action to get Pitufo to reinsert his mouth piece. It is this scribes opinion this was a HORRIBLE time to stop the fight as there was not a clean break in action. Going a step further, it’s my personal opinion this unnatural break in the action sapped Diaz’s withering strength. Moments after the action did resume, Vaquero clobbered him with a number of thumping hooks and uppercuts. Once again, Pitufo was forced to the ground. Being the warrior that he is, the bloodied faced Diaz mounted his ten toes anew. However, now his corner had scaled the side of the ring and waved the white flag of surrender. Again, it’s just this writers opinion, but the ref robbed Diaz, Navarrete, and the fans of the natural thrilling conclusion that was supposed to happen.
Hats off to both men who fought one hell of a war!
By: Bakari Simpson