Source: Bad Left Hook
After a string of controversies this past week, WBC champion Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23KOs) will make his first defense as he takes on Robson Conceição (16-0, 8KOs) on Friday, Sept. 10.
The event will take place at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, and will stream live on ESPN+. This will be a 12-round bout in the junior lightweight division at the weight limit of 135 pounds.
Valdez is the No. 1-ranked junior lightweight in The Ring Magazine’s divisional ratings, while Conceição is unranked.
Although the fight is this week, it has been in the news for the wrong reasons.
On Aug. 31, Valdez tested positive for phentermine, a banned diuretic. Then on Sept. 2, the champion’s B-sample came back positive for the same substance, putting the fight at risk.
In an interview with ESPN reporter Mark Kriegel, Valdez said he does not know how the phentermine got into his body.
“What I can say is that I am a 100-percent clean fighter,” Valdez said. “I know every fighter is responsible for what they consume.”
The Pascua Yaqui Athletic Commission ruled that he can proceed with the fight despite the positive tests.
For Valdez, this will be his second fight this year. His last fight saw him capture the WBC junior lightweight title against Miguel Berchelt by knockout.
Valdez is a fast and elusive boxer who’s right hand packs a big punch. He has high-level footwork that enables him to box going forward, backward and moving sideways.
He is also very alert on defense which he uses to parry and counterpunch. Each of Valdez’s punches is snappy and thrown with full force.
His key to win the fight is to stay active and constantly throw. Similar to the fight against Berchelt, Valdez fights best when he is able to establish the jab and successfully land while moving.
For Conceição, this will be his second fight of this year as well. His last fight saw him defeat Jesus Antonio Ahumada by technical knockout.
Conceição is a full-force puncher who throws everything into his shots. He uses body shots to set up powerhand punches and overhand hooks.
He is very textbook and has an amateur style that transitioned well into the professional ranks. He has a lead hand that is a chameleon, as he is able to throw any type of punch with success.
His key to win the fight is to wear down the body. Valdez has a vertical guard that mainly covers his face, so Conceição should expose that early and start stripping down that guard steadily.
The bout should be the headline here, but with Valdez’s positive test the fight is overshadowed. It is almost a lose-lose situation, because if the champion retains then his victory is tainted. If Conceição wins, the victory could be an afterthought because of Valdez’s situation. That aside, this is a bout that fight fans should be paying attention to.
To watch Valdez vs Conceição, tune in Friday, Sept. 10 on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. EST.