Ringside at the StubHub: Oscar Valdez Survives A War to Keep His Title

Under a constant rain WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez was able to overcome the hefty looking Scott Quigg in a brutal war before a small crowd to win by unanimous decision on Saturday.

“I appreciate the fans coming out in the rain,” said Valdez.

Fighting under a tarp, a bloodied Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) out-battled a swollen Britain’s Quigg (34-2-2, 25 KOs) over 12 rounds at the StubHub Center to retain the WBO title. That was no optical illusion as the huskier looking British fighter traded ferocious blows with the lighter Mexican fighter for a vicious 12 rounds.

Quigg was not eligible to capture the title because he failed to make the contracted 126-pound limit on Friday. After several hours on Saturday morning and feverish negotiating between both fighter’s representatives, the fight proceeded despite Quigg refusing to be weighed before the fight.

No one knew what to expect in the boxing ring.

Valdez erupted early with body shots and combinations up and down the always advancing Quigg. But as the fight continued the Mexican fighter slowed down and Quigg began to find the range for some occasional big blows. But it was never enough.

Quigg managed to hurt Valdez a few times but could never follow up. Meanwhile Valdez showed the quicker hands and the quicker feet that allowed him to get in and out of trouble.

Many wondered if Valdez would tire as he had in previous world title defenses. As expected, he did slow down but managed to retain control of the fight with quick combinations and slipping return fire. That proved the difference in the fight.

“Scott Quigg is a tremendous fighter,” said Valdez refusing to talk about the weight advantage by his opponent. “He caught me with good shots.”

After 12 rounds two judges scored it 117-111 and another 118-110 for Valdez. It was the fourth defense of the title for Valdez.

“Whoever wants to fight me I’m the champion,” said Valdez.

Other Bouts

In a battle between undefeated super featherweights, Andy Vences and Erick De Leon emerged with a majority draw in 10 rounds of back and forth action. There were no knockdowns in the fight that was controlled early by Vences. Then, De Leon found the key inside of the incoming jabs to change the tone of the fight resulting in two judges scoring it even 95-95 and one 96-94 having it in favor of De Leon. Both fighters expressed disappointment in the decision but a rematch would seem a reasonable result.

Andy Ruiz (30-1, 20 KOs) fired a one-two combination to knock out Devin Vargas (20-5) in the first round of their heavyweight clash. It was Ruiz’s first return to the ring since losing a majority decision against current heavyweight titlist Joseph Parker over a year ago. Ruiz ended the fight in 1:38 of the round that was stopped by referee Tom Taylor.

Mikaela Mayer (4-0, 3 KOs) destroyed Maria Semertzoglou (7-4) in a 35- second display of power boxing to win a super featherweight fight that looked far more dangerous during the weigh-ins. Despite all of the mugging by the Greek fighter the day before, on fight day Mayer simply stomped her opposition with barely a sweat. A right cross by Mayer stunned Semertzoglou and the taller Californian piled on eight unanswered blows as the Greek fighter hung helplessly on the top strand of the ropes.

Arnold Barboza (18-0) remained undefeated by unanimous decision over Mike Reed (23-2) after 10 rounds in a super lightweight match. It was Reed’s second consecutive loss.

Alex Saucedo (27-0, 17 KOs) of Oklahoma City knocked out Abner Lopez (25-9) at 1:17 of the seventh round to retain the NABA super lightweight title.

Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao (20-0, 10 KOs) stopped Salim Larbi (20-9-2) in the first round of their middleweight fight.

Bryan Lua (4-0) won by stoppage over Jesus Arevalo (2-3) in the first round of their lightweight bout. Lua trains in Indio but is originally from Madera, California.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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