Navarrete stops Diaz to retain WBO 126lb title

Emanuel Navarrete V Christopher Diaz
Photo: Mikey Williams (Top Rank via Getty Images)

WBO featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) defended his world title by twelfth round TKO against Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (26-3, 16 KOs) on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd of 3,262 at the socially distanced Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida. Navarrete dropped Diaz in round four with a lead uppercut. Diaz was deducted a point in round seven for hitting on the back. Navarrete floored Diaz twice in round eight and again in round twelve. Diaz’ corner finally pulled their man out with 11 seconds left.

Navarrete said, “I think we did put on a worthy performance (of Mexico vs. Puerto Rico) because ‘Pitufo,’ I knew he was tough, I knew he was strong. And I knew he could hit hard, but he surpassed all my expectations. He brought out all the best in me and so I’ve got a lot of respect for Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz.

“I was really impressed by ‘Pitufo’ because every time I hurt him, every time I dropped him, he came back stronger. He was a beast in there because he kept coming at me. He kept getting better even though I kept hurting him, and as the fight progressed, you’d expect him to get weaker but he kept getting stronger. I just couldn’t understand it. So I have the utmost respect for Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz and what he did tonight.”

Christopher Diaz: “I’m very disappointed. I wanted to win. It’s a title shot. But next time. He’s a great fu—– fighter. He hit hard. We went to war. I made my best fight. I was in shape. Everything was good. I’m not a weak fighter. I always bring my heart with me. I came here to fight. I said I want to box but that guy, he’s a problem. We come here to fight, too. He caught me. My coach loves me like a son, and he stopped the fight.”

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  • Diaz fought his heart out. He earned my respect. He left everything it all in the ring. Im a huge fan of Navarrete but he’s the force he was in the lower weight. Overall very entertaining fight.

  • It was great to hear the crowd noise tonight.

    As usual, a sturdy performance by Navarrete. I want to see Russell, Jr. vs. Navarrete IF Russell, Jr. can come out and play.

  • Lots of respect for Diaz for giving his home town fans a fight they can be proud of. Even after being dropped, Diaz was back up and not backing down.

  • Navarrete reminds me of Antonio Margarito when he was a Frankenstein, just walking people down unfazed by punches until he beat you into submission awkwardly but effectively. Margarito had some help with the cement in the gloves and all but the visual is very similar. Really like this kid, the Russell fight is a real clash of styles. Should be something! Kudos to Diaz for showing so much heart. Ref should have stepped in about 3 or 4 punches before the end.

    • Agree about the ref stopping the fight. I think he was trying to give Diaz the chance to finish the fight on his feet.

  • I really didn’t think Diaz had a good shot at beating Navarrette. Navarrette is big and strong with an exceptionally long reach. Diaz gave it a good try by focusing on the body, but he didn’t take full advantage of his opportunities when he was able to get in close. He often covered up and didn’t let his hands go enough. He also lingered on the ropes a little too often giving Navarrette a great target for his combinations.

    Diaz was most vulnerable when they were boxing from long range because he went for Navarrette’s fakes and never saw some of those long punches coming. Navarrette can knock his opponent out while throwing off the wrong foot and off balance. He is much too strong and punches too hard for a typical featherweight.

    It will probably take a skilled boxer with some pop in his punches to beat Navarrette. That probably won’t happen till he moves up to 130 lbs. Diaz is a good but not great puncher. He hit Navarrette with some solid shots but didn’t faze him. He had trouble reaching Navarrette and missed many of his head shots. His shots to the body did slow Navarrette down but he just couldn’t sustain his attacks without getting caught in return.

    Frankly, Diaz took a bad beating in the last few rounds and the fight could have been stopped earlier. I hope he’s ok but it is a real shame he couldn’t make it to the final bell after that effort. There were just a few seconds left in the fight when the fight was stopped.

    • Too much is being made about moving up in all these divisions. Moving up here is four whole pounds.

      • That extra 4 pounds introduces a crop of bigger, stronger boxers, some of whom can really punch hard. I haven’t seen Navarrette hurt by anyone at super bantamweight or featherweight. It may take someone at 130 or 135 lbs to get the job done. Tank Davis is probably a lightweight now and may even go up to 140 lbs, so he probably is not a viable opponent. Stevenson, Valdez and Colbert are all in that weight class.

        • It would be interesting to know what the fighters weighed at fight time. I bet Navarrette had 3-4 lbs. on Diaz. Taller fighters are harder to judge on their weight.

  • Great fight!
    Diaz at his best had Navarrete befuddled at times. Navarrete has always had that awkward style and unorthodox punching… But he can punch enough to give most fighters trouble.
    I saw the usual issues that Navarrete has with “better boxers” and it’s probably due to his sloppy footwork… Also his long a$$ arms are both a gift and curse… He can reach far but also takes too long bringing them back for defense.
    A sharp, strong, fast featherweight should be able to take full advantage….. Until he gets hit with one of those freakishly odd uppercuts…. Then it’s the Navarrete onslaught again!
    Not a pretty or scientific approach by Navarrete, but he makes it work.
    Would love to see him vs Russell, but just happy to see a solid competitive scrap like last night’s!!!!

  • I don’t see any way the Russell fight happens, would love to see it, but I don’t think it happens. What I would love to see even more, however, and I don’t know what his situation is regarding a Warrington rematch — is Navarrete vs Mauricio Lara. That would be an absolute war.

  • I would like to know what kind of weight cut navarrete does for this division and what he rehydrates to on fight night. He not only seems very big for the division but he’s taken some good shots and seemingly is unaffected by anything anyone touches him with.

  • That was a spectacular fight….Navarrete is very good and his upside is great….. Navarrete will continue to grow as a fighter…unique cause Navarrete does alot of things wrong technical ly but his shot placement, will to win, heart, setting up punches certainly distinguishes him….watch him fake a right hand and “bang” come up with that signature uppercut….dropping Diaz…And Diaz is not a slouch….Diaz is a game fighter….Can’t say Navarette is special yet….but can see his potential…. certainly fun to watch

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