Thursday, May 16th 2024

Press Conference Notes: Emanuel Navarrete Motivated to Claim Four-Division World Title Glory in San Diego

Unbeaten welterweights Giovani Santillan & Brian Norman Jr. to clash for WBO Interim title in co-feature

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 16, 2024) Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) is one step away from making history, but first, he needs to face an unbeaten Ukrainian Olympian.

Navarrete will attempt to become a four-division world champion when he fights Denys Berinchyk (18-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBO lightweight world title this Saturday at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

The 12-round welterweight co-feature will see hometown hero Giovani Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) taking on fellow unbeaten contender Brian Norman Jr. (25-0, 19 KOs) in a fight that will now be for the vacant WBO Interim world title. If Santillan wins, he will become only the second San Diego-born world champion in history, following Paul Vaden in 1995.

Navarrete-Berinchyk & Santillan-Norman headline a loaded card featuring nine fights in total, including unbeaten heavyweights Richard Torrez Jr. (9-0, 9 KOs) and Brandon Moore (14-0, 8 KOs) clashing in an eight-rounder. Torrez, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist, is taking a big step up against former amateur standout Moore.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale via

At Thursday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Emanuel Navarrete

“Just having the opportunity to add a new title in a new division, it’s something that I never thought of. It’s something that I never dreamed of. It’s something new and achieving it would fulfill a personal goal. It will enrich my personal achievements, and it will make me satisfied with what I’ve done in my career.”

“Each fight is different. Each opponent is different. Denys is an Olympian. He has a lot of experience in boxing. That’s the part we have to defeat. That’s the hardest part on Saturday. However, we always work the same. We always strengthen certain things that have been seen as weak in previous fights. But we always put a lot of energy into each training camp. We always have that mentality to work at 100 percent, and this camp wasn’t the exception. We worked hard, and Saturday will be a great fight night for all those watching at Pechanga Arena.”

Denys Berinchyk

“I’m happy for Emanuel that he was the king in three divisions, but this is my division. You will see a great, exciting fight on Saturday night.”

Giovani Santillan

“I’ve been looking forward to something like this happening ever since my first fight at Pechanga San Diego back in 2021. I’ve been saying that I want to bring world title fights for myself here in San Diego. Me being born and raised here, it’s an honor for this to happen. I’m excited. I just found out this morning {that the fight would be for the WBO Interim title}. I’m ready.”

“Business as usual, but I’ve had to earn my spot. It took me a lot of hard work, a lot of years to get here, and I’m planning on staying here and getting that world title Saturday night.

“{Returning home} means everything to me, especially after my last performance and now with being a world title fight, and for it to be here in my hometown so that my friends, family, and supporters have a chance to come see me live.”

“He’s a good fighter, and he knows everything that’s on the line. So, I know that with him being undefeated, I’m expecting a war this Saturday. I’m expecting a big fight. This is going to be a great fight for the fans for sure.”

“I’ve been training very hard for this. It has been a long camp. I knew about this date. I didn’t know who exactly I was going to be fighting, but I’ve known about this date since back in February. So, I’ve been in camp since then sparring hard. I’m as ready as can be for this fight.”

Brian Norman Jr.

“We’re in his hometown. Everything is against me in this fight. But once again, this is where I shine the best. I thrive off of negativity. I love this opportunity. I love this moment. I’m 23 years old. He’s pretty much 10 years older than me, so I’m supposed to be the baby in this situation, but best believe, we’re coming to throw down.”

“He’s number one, plain and simple. You saw what he did to Alexis Rocha to earn his spot, so I have to earn mine. He did his thing. Time for me to do mine.”

Richard Torrez Jr.

“Growing up, I used to be a tall guy. I stopped growing in my freshman year of high school. I was 6’2 then, so I had to learn and adjust to the heavyweight division. In the amateurs, I fought a lot of really tall guys, and I’m kind of excited to have a taller opponent again. It’s pretty fun to be able to get inside, stay inside, and show what I can do.”

“Inside the ring, I’m a different beast. I like to think that my conditioning, tenacity, and the hard effort I put in are going to be something there. What my coaches used to say back in the day is that I like to take my opponents to hell and back, and that’s what I’m doing in this fight. So, I’m really excited to have a willing and able opponent. I know you. You want to go all out. You’re not one of those guys who is going to sit in the ring, so I’m really excited to see how this fight plays out.”

Brandon Moore

“It’s about that time. A lot of people over here in San Diego don’t know who I am. In {Lakeland}, Florida, I run the city over there. A lot of people are excited to see me be put on the big stage so I can put on a show for the people.”

“No disrespect to Richard, but he’s a southpaw that comes forward really, really hard. I think that I’ll be able to handle that with my skill level. We’re going to find out. He’s undefeated. I’m undefeated. This is one of our biggest fights.”

Emiliano Fernando Vargas

“We just went back to the drawing board. This is another opportunity to put on another showcase here in California, and I’m excited to do it. I haven’t been back to California since my pro debut, and I’m excited. The fans are beautiful here. The tickets are selling like hotcakes, so I’m excited.”

On his family dynamic

“It’s something so special for me because this sport is so lonely. Boxing brings us close together.  It’s a beautiful sport, but at the same time, it can get ugly, and we know that. My father wouldn’t be putting me in here, and I wouldn’t be in this sport if I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. In this sport, people lose their lives. I know that I have an opportunity to extend the legacy that my father left for me.”

Alan Garcia

“Me being where I’m from, you don’t see a lot of fighters make it, in general, out of Kansas. To be on the big stage and be under the greatest promotional company, Top Rank, and represent Kansas on my back means a lot to me. I continue representing Kansas. I go home after every fight and then I’m right back to camp. I just want to get better and better and show what people from Kansas are made of.”

Saturday, May 18

Emanuel Navarrete vs. Denys Berinchyk, 12 rounds, Vacant WBO Lightweight World Title

Giovani Santillan vs. Brian Norman Jr., 12 Rounds, Vacant WBO Interim Welterweight World Title

ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)

Richard Torrez Jr. vs. Brandon Moore, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Jonny Mansour vs. Anel Dudo, 4 rounds, lightweight

Emiliano Fernando Vargas vs. Angel Varela, 6 rounds, junior welterweight

Charlie Sheehy vs. Manuel Jaimes, 8 rounds, lightweight

Alan Garcia vs. Wilfredo Flores 8 rounds, junior welterweight

Jonathan Lopez vs. Edgar Ortega, 8 rounds, junior lightweight

Art Barrera Jr. vs. Levy Garcia Benitez, 4 rounds, junior welterweight