At the age of 26, Oscar is a four-year pro. The WBO featherweight world champion, he won the title in July, 2016, and has made three title defenses.
He is one of boxing’s brightest rising young stars.
Before his debut, Oscar was an elite international amateur, considered one of the best in the history of Mexican amateur boxing. He had a fight in the World Series of Boxing in December, 2010, but continued to fight as an amateur for two more years after that.
Oscar is the first Mexican boxer to compete in two Olympic Games – in Beijing when he was only 17 years old in 2008, and again in London in 2012. He is also the first Mexican to win a medal at the World Championships – a bronze in 2009 – and was the flag bearer for Mexico at the Central American Games in 2010.
As a pro, Oscar has stayed active in the ring and made impressive progress. He fought six times in 2013, six times in 2014, and four times in 2015 – he stepped up in class of opposition, gave consistently solid performances, and rose to the top of the world rankings.
He fought three times in 2016, which included winning the WBO title in July and making his first title defense four months later in November.
In his last fight on September 22 in Tucson, Arizona, he won a 12-round unanimous decision against Genesis Servania.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Oscar Valdez retained his featherweight belt for the third time in an action-packed unanimous decision against Genesis Servania on Friday night before a raucous crowd of 4,103 in the main event of the Top Rank ESPN card at the Tucson Arena.
Valdez lived in Tucson from ages 4 to 9, before moving back with his father to his native Nogales, Mexico, just over the border. He still has plenty of family, including his mother, and friends who live in Tucson. And he and Servania gave them quite a show.
Valdez won by scores of 117-109, 116-110, 115-111 in a slugfest in which he and Servania exchanged knockdowns.
Valdez opened the fight like he typically does – throwing left hooks and jabs and establishing his range.
Valdez continued to throw left hooks to the head and body and also a stiff jab. The punches were audible at ringside, as Servania took a lot of heavy blows.
But when Valdez was backing up in the fourth round, Servania landed a right hand to the side of the head that dropped Valdez. Valdez didn’t appear hurt, but it was the second time he had suffered a knockdown as a professional.
Valdez stormed back in the fifth round, sending Servania hard to the canvas with a hard overhand left. Valdez landed several thunderous shots in the round, but Servania took everything. Servania forced Valdez back in the sixth round and landed an assortment of clean shots in a fight that appeared to be getting closer by the round.
Valdez was simply throwing more and landing more punches than Servania – who found his target, just not often enough, though he marched forward round after round.
Valdez and Servania continued to go at each other in the 11th round, but it was Valdez, with a right hand, who knocked Servania off balance in the final seconds of the round.
They traded toe-to-toe during the 12th round, as the crowd cheered “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!” Servania got in an uppercut and a right hand that knocked Valdez back, but Valdez ripped Servania with one-two combinations. They finished the fight in a heated exchange to conclude a tremendous battle. [End Rafael item]
In earlier interviews, Oscar said, “I train in two gyms back home in Hermosillo. One is called CUM, and Hernan Marquez, the former world champion, he opened up a gym called HTM – for Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez.
“I just do light workouts for two weeks in Hermosillo and when the fight comes, I go to The Rock Gym in Carson two months before it. All the hard work is done there. In California, I don’t really do much. I go to the gym, go back to the house, relax, then go back and train again.
“I’m more of a boxer. I don’t really consider myself as a hard-hitting fighter, but I can do all different styles. I can bang with a fighter – if the guy boxes, I can put pressure. If I’m fighting a pressure guy, I can also box. Whatever the fighter brings, I’ll switch it up.
“I don’t really have a nickname. Back when I was an amateur, they used to call me ‘El Niño’ ’cause I was the smallest one on the team. I was 17 years old, and the rest of them were like 20, 23. As a pro, I didn’t really think of a nickname. I’m just called Oscar Valdez.”