By: Jerome Souza (@Jerome510)
Two weeks into training camp, Oscar Valdez took time to talk with FirstClassBoxing.com. The undefeated WBO Featherweight Champ is waiting for his next opponent to be announced. But that doesn’t stop him from fine-tuning his craft. “I’m back here in California in Carson and we still don’t have a fight date but were still training for whenever”, Valdez told FirstClassBoxing.com. Valdez has zeroed on all the current Featherweight champions but is realistic with the possibility of certain fights being made. Unfortunately those preferred fights may take some time to come to fruition. “Whatever Top Rank gives us, we’ll gladly take it. I’d love to fight the other champions but the problem is the other promotions”. Valdez exhibits the traits of a true champion, doesn’t avoid opponents and simply strives to take over his weight class. “I would want to fight for the green belt, for the IBF, for all of them if it’s possible, but I have to take it step by step and fight by fight and hopefully one day it can happen.”
Talks have surfaced regarding Valdez making a homecoming appearance for a title defense in Tucson, Arizona. Valdez has fought in Tucson once before, but this time around would be on a much bigger stage as the WBO Featherweight Champion. “I’ve always considered Tucson as my second home. It’s special since I lived there as a kid. You know I got a lot of friends there so it’s very important for me if I get a chance to fight there to show my people a good fight, you know I would love that”.
Around an hour south of Tucson, AZ lies Nogales, Sonora. The same location in which Valdez represented Team Mexico in the 2012 Olympics. The idea of fighting in Tucson would be even more special for Valdez given the proximity of it being so close to an area that possesses his early boxing roots. “It would mean a lot to me knowing that it’s very close to Nogales and everyone’s going to come to see me fight”.
Top Rank continues to grow its stable and produce world champions. Former Olympians Valdez, Vasyl Lomachenko, and newly signed Michael Conlan have established the company to be a great landing spot for decorated amateurs. “I’m very happy with the decision we made four years ago signing with Top Rank because they make the right choices. We have no complaints with Top Rank, whatever we want they’ve given us and they’ve put me on nothing but great cards”. Valdez looks back on his opportunity to be featured on various cards including those headlined by Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao as great experiences in his young career.
Valdez doesn’t talk about himself when discussing his success in the ring. “There’s not a trainer out there that will do a better job than Manny Robles and Edgar Jasso.” Valdez retierted to FirstClassBoxing.com, the training experiece with Robles in which he is always pushed to the limit along with mixing things up on daily basis. “I don’t ever see me going with another trainer because Manny knows me so well that every day we work on something different and we try to always improve on our work”.
As Valdez’s record improves, which currently stands at 21-0 with 19 KO, as does the stable for his trainer Robles. Recent Top Rank signee, Michael Conlan, has chosen Robles as a trainer. Valdez couldn’t help but notice the fellow former-Olympian’s talent and work ethic in the gym. “[Conlan] knows what he wants, his goal is to become a world champion and I have faith he’s going to do it. Him and Manny Robles, they’re going to make a perfect team.”
FirstClassBoxing.com asked Valdez if he has any plans to move up weight classes in the near future. Valdez told us, “There’s no need to go up to 130 unless none of these fights are going to be made, like Santa Cruz, Lee Selby, Gary Russell. There’s a lot of good fighters out there that I would want to fight”. Valdez is also hoping to fight the winner of next weekend’s rematch between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz. Though Valdez sees Frampton as the more complete fighter which will lead to another win over Santa Cruz, Valdez just hopes he can get a crack at the victor, “hopefully they can come to an agreement, Top Rank and the other promotions”.
At the end of the day, Valdez will still be in the gym training hard and improving. “Manny Robles always tells me, you win the fights in the gym, so every day we push it to 100 percent. There’s no resting with us.”by