Emanuel Navarrete-Christopher Diaz live results and analysis

  • ESPN Staff Writer
  • Previously a college football writer for The Dallas Morning News
  • University of North Texas graduate

Emanuel Navarrete defends his WBO featherweight world title against Christopher Diaz in the main event of a Top Rank card at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida, on Saturday (ESPN and ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET).

Navarrete (32-1, 27 KOs), 26, of Mexico, a former junior featherweight titlist, has won 28 consecutive fights, 23 by stoppage, including a decision victory over Ruben Villa to win the 126-pound belt.

“I know he has been fighting at 126 and even at 130. I think it will be tough to hurt a fighter that has fought at higher divisions, but I believe I have the punching power to knock him out,” Navarrete said at a news conference on Thursday.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve fought in front of fans. I miss the vibes of having the fans in the arena. Even though 90 percent of the fans will be cheering for [Diaz] I feel like the pressure is going to be on him because he needs to perform for his people, for his fans. I’ve always been a fighter that’s been on the road, fighting away from home. I feel like the pressure is on him.”

Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs), 26, of Puerto Rico, lost a decision when he challenged Masayuki Ito for the WBO junior lightweight world title in 2018, but he has won two consecutive fights, including a dominant unanimous decision over Jason Sanchez in June.

“We’re fighting a 50-50 fight. I’m happy because he knows I’m the most dangerous fighter he’s fought to this day,” said Diaz. “I’ve been in the big arenas a lot of times [against] Shakur Stevenson, Masayuki Ito in front of 8,00 people … I think I have the experience to become world champion Saturday night.

“If you’ve seen my last two fights, I’ve been a different fighter. I go to the ring to perform, to show the people I can be a star. Navarrete is a great champion. It’s a pleasure for me to share the ring with him.”

In the co-main event, super middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga meets Demond Nicholson in an eight-round battle. But the chances the fight goes long are very slim.

Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs), 23, of New York, has won all of his fights in the first round. Four of those victories have been inside the first minute (Jose Antonio Leos Nery, Saadiq Muhammad, Samir dos Santos Barbosa and Gyorgy Varju).

Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs), 28, of Maryland, has won five bouts in a row since losing to Jesse Hart in 2018, including three by stoppage.

Stay here for live undercard results and analysis.

Fight in progress: Josue Vargas vs. Willie Shaw, 10 rounds, junior welterweights


Adorno, Ortiz draw in exciting brawl

Joseph Adorno and Jamiaine Ortiz turned in one of the best fights in boxing that we’ve seen in recent months. Ortiz controlled most of the bout, but he was knocked down twice — balancing out the scorecards enough for the fight to end in a majority draw. One judge had Ortiz winning 76-74, while the other two judges had it 75 even.

Ortiz (14-0-1, 8 KOs), 24, of Worcester, Massachusetts, battled a busted nose that leaked blood for most of the fight. He also had to overcome a second-round knockdown that came off a glancing left hook that landed behind his head.

The second knockdown was much more dangerous. With Adorno (14-0-2, 12 KOs), 21, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, needing a big punch to stay in the fight, he landed a big uppercut that appeared to knock Ortiz out on this feet. However, Ortiz fell directly into the ropes, which garnered him the eight-count he needed to continue the fight. Ortiz won the eighth round on all three scorecards to avoid the loss. He threw a fight-high 83 punches in Round 8, according to CompuBox, and landed 41.4% of his power shots.

Gonzalez earns victory over a game Lopez

There were plenty of punches and in-ring banter between Orlando Gonzalez and Juan Antonio Lopez, but Gonzalez was ultimately able to withstand a very game Lopez to pick up a 79-73, 79-73, 78-74 unanimous decision victory in their eight-round lightweight bout.

Gonzalez had to earn that victory, though. Lopez (15-9, 6 KOs), 27, of Fort Worth, Texas, walked through Gonzalez’s power shots for most of the fight and often verbally asked for more. Gonzalez (17-0, 10 KOs), 25, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, was thrilled to oblige, and in the final round, he opened a big cut beneath Lopez’s right eye.

But the undefeated prospect didn’t come away unscathed. Gonzalez sported a cut of his own beneath his right eye by the time the fight was over, a visible sign that Lopez fought much better than his record indicated.

Zayas displays power in TKO win over Layton

Xander Zayas continued to build momentum early in his pro career with a quick TKO victory on Saturday, as he stopped Demarcus Layton with a first-minute TKO in their welterweight bout.

The two men exchanged punches in the opening seconds, and Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs), 18, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, caught Layton (8-2-1, 5 KOs), 29, of Little Rock, Arkansas, with a big left hook that sent Layton into the corner. After Zayas hurt Layton, the rising prospect continued his barrage of punches until another left hook floored Layton. The referee waved off the fight after he deemed Layton was too damaged to continue.

Zayas celebrated the victory by jumping on the ropes and screaming at the fans in attendance.

“This was amazing, something I was looking forward to for a long time,” Zayas said. “The last time I fought in front of a crowd, it was in Puerto Rico. Doing it here in Kissimmee, in front of my Puerto Rican fans, was memorable. First-round knockout, what else can I ask for?”

Adorno gets decision over Martinez

Junior featherweight prospect Jeremy Adorno had a couple of wobbles along the way, but he was convincing enough to earn a majority decision victory over Ramiro Martinez by scores of 40-36, 39-37, 38-38. Adorno, 20, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, traded punches with Martinez (2-1-2, 1 KOs), 22, of Hurst, Texas, but asserted himself throughout the fight.

Adorno got caught with a straight left in the fourth round as Martinez looked for power shots in the closing minutes. However, Adorno settled down to pick up the victory at the end of four rounds.

Gomez demolishes Villegas in one round

Junior lightweight Jaycob Gomez set the tone for Saturday’s card with a quick first-round knockout of Mobley Villegas. Gomez (2-0, 2 KOs), 19, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, was clearly superior to Villegas from the opening bell. He dropped Villegas, 28, of Amarillo, Texas, twice, with the second knockdown coming after a barrage while Villegas was on the ropes. Villegas wisely opted not to get up for the 10-count with just 22 seconds left in the opening round.

Still to come:

  • Emanuel Navarrete vs. Christopher Diaz, 12 rounds, for Navarrete’s WBO featherweight title

  • Edgar Berlanga vs. Demond Nicholson, 8 rounds, super middleweights

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