Back to future in world title quest

Published 4:00pm 14 February 2024

Back to future in world title quest
Words by Nick Crockford

Liam Wilson is going back to Arizona determined to revive his life-long dream of becoming a world boxing champion.

Wilson, who trains at All Star Boxing Academy in Lawnton, will face Mexican Oscar Valdez on March 29 in Glendale, in a 10-round junior lightweight fight.

No titles are on the line, but there are rumours World Boxing Organisation (WBO) champion Emanuel Navarrete may step up a weight and vacant his crown.

Both men were beaten by Navarrete, a three-weight world champion, last year – Wilson, from Caboolture, in controversial circumstances.

Navarrete hit the canvas in round four but was given a 27-second count, rather than 10, and recovered to stop his Redcliffe-born opponent in the ninth.

Back to future in world title quest

With two victories under his belt since that contentious night, 27-year-old Wilson told Fox Sports “Valdez is exactly the fight I wanted”.

“Valdez is a good fighter, a tough man, but after what I’ve been through already and what I plan on bringing, I believe he’s going to regret taking this fight.”

Wilson’s manager Glenn Jennings said the “sanctioning body” can determine if a fight changes status, from non-title to world title if the belt is vacated.

Jennings said the Wilson camp would “welcome” the chance to fight for a world crown but “until it is legitimate, it’s just another boxing yarn”.

Wilson, ranked two by the WBO last month, has been training in Thailand and plans a seven-week camp in the US before the Desert Diamond Arena showdown.

He will enter the ring with a pro record of 13 wins and two defeats, plus a 10cm height and reach advantage over Valdez, who has a31 wins and two defeats.

All Star Boxing Academy youngsters gave Liam Wilson a great welcome home after his controversial defeat by Navarrete.

Valdez, 33, WBO ranked five, was comfortably beaten on points by Navarrete in August, but said his showdown with Wilson would be a “a tremendous fight.

“I learned a lot from my last fight,” Valdez said at a press conference in the US, “made mistakes inside the ring.

“I respect Liam Wilson as a fighter and as a person but inside that ring I’ll try and knock his head off because I know this fight will get me a step closer to a world title shot.”

Isaac Hardman – who was born in Redcliffe, grew up at Caboolture and lives in Bald Hills – will be in action on March 13.

Now with No Limit Boxing, Hardman faces Venezuela’s Endry Saavedra for the WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title in Wollongong.

Saavedra has 15 wins and one defeat as a professional. Hardman 15 wins and two defeats

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