Former Mexican Olympian and WBO #1 ranked featherweight Oscar Valdez (18-0, 16 KOs) of Nogales, Mexico has a huge opportunity in front of hm. This will come April 9 on the HBO PPV televised undercard of the main event featuring Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy BradleyIII. Valdez will take on former world champion Evgeny Gradovich (21-1-1, 9 KOs) of Russia. This will by far be the biggest name to date that Valdez has faced. The bigger fact is that Valdez finds himself on kind of worldwide stage so that so many can see him fight for the first time.
Valdez had an extremely successful amateur career. He represented Mexico in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Great Britain. He also had a brief stay in the World Series of Boxing league. Valdez would turn professional in November 2012 in his native Mexico under the Banner of Top Rank and his manager Frank Espinoza. He scored a knockout which would be a forecast of things to come. In his 18 professional fights only twice has his opponents made the full distance.
The timing could not be more right for Valdez to be fighting Gradovich at this moment. Gradovich was redhot in 2013. He upset Billy Dib to win a world title by decision. He rematches Dib the same year but knocked him out the second go round. Gradovich would lose his world title to Lee Selby of the United Kingdom in May 2015. He had two fights following that against lower level competition winning two tight decisions.
Valdez and Gradovich seem to be headed in totally opposite directions. Valdez seems fresh and powerful. Gradovich seems to be fading a bit. Gradovich’s styles should fit that of Valdez’ just fine. Gradovich only fights one way which is straight forward Gradovich also does not pack a punch where Valdez is very heavy handed. It would be a huge feather in the cap of Valdez if he was able to become the first to stop Gradovich within the distance. Especially with so many expected viewers to be tuning in.