Oscar Valdez Set to Face Robson Conceicao
Most of the boxing world was hoping for a unification between WBC junior lightweight champion Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23ko) and WBO champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (23-2, 11ko). Instead, Valdez will make the first defense of the title against WBC #15 ranked challenger and 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Robson “Nino” Conceicao, clearing the way for Herring to possibly face his mandatory challenger Shakur “Fearless” Stevenson.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Valdez is a former WBO featherweight champion that left the division seeking more glory by challenging then WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt on February 20. He would score a meme-style knockout in the tenth round, making him a two-divisional champion.
Herring was already a champion in the division after dethroning then WBO champion Masayuki Ito back in May 2019. He has made three successful title defenses. One of them being the biggest win of his career, sending former two-division champion Carl Frampton into retirement after a one-sided sixth-round stoppage on April 3.
Valdez’s manager Frank Espinoza took to social media calling for a unification immediately following Herring’s victory. Of course, fans were excited about the possibility of the fight getting made, especially after the two spectacular knockout performances by both champions.
However, Stevenson had other plans in mind and quickly jumped in to spoil the party. He vacated the WBO featherweight title by moving up to the junior lightweight division, and as per WBO rules, a former champion gets to skip the line and go straight to the top.
Fearless over the next couple of months went after both Valdez and Herring. He also reminded them of his number one contender status for both of their belts. It prompted the WBC champion to respond by making it clear he will fight anybody, whether it’s the WBO champion or Stevenson.
SORRY NO UNIFICATION MAYBE NEXT TIME
Nonetheless, fans continued to keep hope alive that the unification would be the fight that boxing giant Top Rank would look to make. The air has been taken out of the balloon, with recent news of Valdez fighting Conceicao is a clear indication the unification fight will have to wait.
Nino is one of those fighters with an extensive amateur background. He has 420 fights and he holds the distinction of being the first-ever Brazilian boxer Gold medalist, winning the 2016 Olympic games. Equally important, he is one of the few fighters to have beat former unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko in the amateurs. It is no wonder why Top Rank quickly put a contract in his face snatching him up back in 2016.
The 32-year old Conceicao is on the boxing fast track and is coming off a good seventh-round demolishing of Jesus Ahumada back on April 10. He showed the entire arsenal in that fight. Fans should not be fooled by his low ranking, Nino has the ability to be a problem for Valdez.
WILL HERRING VS STEVENSON GET MADE?
With the WBC champion locked up with an opponent, this leaves the door open for Semper Fi to take on Fearless. Stevenson has been borderline disrespectful in seeking a fight with the WBO champion. The continued back and forth between both fighters has been nothing short of entertaining with fans waiting to see what will happen next.
Valdez is set to defend the title against Conceicao live on ESPN+ at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona on September 10.
By: Garrisson Bland