Oscar Valdez returns on the undercard for one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
The former two-division world champion takes on Adam “BluNose” Lopez in a rematch of their 2019 battle on the Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV undercard headlined by the undisputed lightweight showdown between Devin “The Dream” Haney and Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko on Saturday, May 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
In the PPV opener, lightweight contender Raymond “Danger” Muratalla takes on his most significant test yet when he squares off against hard-hitting Namibian contender Jeremiah Nakathila in a scheduled 10-round clash.
Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) of Nogales, Mexico, a two-time Olympian, has captured world titles at 126 and 130-pounds. He captured the WBO featherweight title against Matias Rueda in 2016 and made six defenses. After two bouts as a junior lightweight, Valdez scored a sensational 10th-round knockout over Miguel Berchelt to capture the WBC world title.
His reign was short-lived. After one defense, the 32-year-old suffered his first defeat in a unification fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena against Shakur Stevenson last April.
Valdez said, “I feel very happy to finally be returning to the place where I most like to be, which is inside the ring, after a one-year absence from boxing. I feel happy to finally be returning. I am very motivated, more than ever, to continue my dream to once again become a world champion. That is my goal this year.
“In order to do that, I have to get past this obstacle, which is not going to be easy. I’m going to be facing someone that I fought in 2019 in Adam Lopez, an experienced opponent who even sent me to the canvas in the early rounds of our first fight. I cannot take him lightly, and that’s making me train harder now. I have to get past this fight to be able to fight the current champion, Emanuel ‘El Vaquero’ Navarrete.”
Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs), a 26-year-old native of Glendale, California, is 3-2 with a no contest since the first Valdez fight, including decision victories over Louie Coria and Jason Sanchez.
Lopez said, “He should have picked someone else. He barely got away the first time around. This time, it will be clear that I’m the better fighter. I’m coming to get mine back May 20.”
Muratalla (17-0, 14 KOs) has stopped 12 of his last 13 opponents and shined at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last April with a third-round TKO over Jeremy Hill. The native of Fontana, California, returns less than two months since his ninth-round knockout win over Humberto Galindo in March, in a bout that saw Muratalla bounce back from a first-round knockdown.
“This is my time. This is my moment,” he stated. “I’ve been asking for this fight for a long time, and I am thrilled it’s taking place on such a significant card. Nakathila is a dangerous fighter, but that will only fuel me to put on a sensational performance.”
Nakathila (23-2, 19 KOs), 32, is a former title challenger from Namibia. He made his pro debut in 2013 and went 11-0 in his native homeland before traveling to Russia to face Evgeny Chuprakov in his first regional title opportunity. Following his first defeat the power puncher bounced back with 10 knockout wins before losing to Stevenson for the interim WBO title at 130 pounds. Nakathila is fresh off two stoppage victories, including a brutal sixth-round demolition of Berchelt.
Nakathila said, “I’m excited to return to Las Vegas to give Muratalla a boxing lesson he will never forget. The experience will be valuable for his career, though, and I hope he is ready because I have every intention of taking care of business just like I did the last time I was there. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m happy to be back in the ring again on such an attractive card