At the age of 27, Oscar is a five-year pro. The WBO featherweight world champion, he won the title in July, 2016, and has made three successful 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. He defended the title for the second time in April, 2017.
In his last fight on September 22 in Tucson, Arizona, he defended the title for the third time with 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 Legendz Gym in Norwalk 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.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Oscar said, “I was born in Nogales, Sonora. Then, when I was around one year old, my mother and father moved to Tucson, so they took me there as a baby. I did my elementary school there, first grade to fifth grade. After that, my mother and father got a divorce and I went with my father back to Mexico. All of junior high I did in Mexico and high school, as well.
“My dad, he’s a manager. He used to work at the mines in Tucson. He used to box as an amateur. My mom works at a telephone company, she’s an operator. I’ve got a lot of brothers and sisters! I’m the oldest one. By my father and mother, there’s four of us. They got a divorce when I was 11 years old. My mom, after years, got married again with a great guy and had twins with him. My dad, he had a kid with another woman, then he got a divorce with her and had another child after that. But I don’t consider them stepbrothers – I’m the oldest, and I love them all. I’m the only boxer in my family. My brother is really good in school, so we’re kind of opposites. They’re all in school – I guess I’m the only one that likes sports. I’ve been athletic since I was a little kid. But I’ve got cousins that fight, and girl cousins that fight.
“I first went into the gym when I was eight years old and my first fight, I had it when I was nine. Ever since we were little my whole family was really into boxing. Ever since we were little babies – four or five years old – they would put the gloves on us, me and my little cousins, and we would just go at it! So it was like, a family thing, like ‘Whose son is better? Who’s the better cousin out of us?’ I just fell in love with the sport ever since. I never left it.
“A lot of fighters don’t count their amateur fights. They just say, ‘Oh, around 250.’ Me, I counted each and every fight I had. I finished with 204 amateur fights. I had probably 27 losses – in the amateurs, you win a lot, you lose a lot.
“I had a good run as an amateur. I was on the Mexican national team for about five years – it was the greatest experience for me!
“I won only about four nationals in Mexico. The thing with me, I would always be the number one. I would go to the international tournaments. When there was a national tournament here in Mexico, whoever would get the gold medal would get to eliminate himself with me. I would come back from the internationals and eliminate whoever got the gold. I didn’t win a lot of nationals because I didn’t participate in them.
“My English wasn’t really that good until I went to Mexico City, to the training camp there. I did four years over there in Mexico City in the Olympic Village. A good friend of mine, Oscar Molina, also stayed there. He’s from Norwalk, California. We were roommates for four years and I didn’t speak nothing but English with him, so it got real good.
“I live in Hermosillo, Sonora, now. I’ve lived here since 2012. I’m naturally right-handed. I’m not married, but I have a girlfriend. We’ve been living together for almost three years already. No kids.
“Back home, I’ve got two alligators. I’ve had one for six years already. When I got him, it was about the size of a lizard, now it’s about my size! People think I’m kind of crazy, but I’m always cautious with them. Those guys in Thailand, they put their head inside their mouth, their hand inside their mouth. I would never do that! I used to have one in my house until he got real big. So I took it over to a farm I have. I made a little pond for them and I keep them there.”…