WBO featherweight world titlist Emanuel Navarrete will make the first defense of his belt on Saturday, April 24, against former title challenger Christopher Diaz, in the main event of a Top Rank card on ESPN in Kissimmee, Fla, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Knockout artist Edgar Berlanga will try to continue his KO streak in the co-main event.
Navarrete (33-1, 28 KOs), of Mexico, was able to fight three times in 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, scoring victories over Jeo Santisima in February (TKO11), Uriel Lopez in June (TKO6), and Ruben Villa in October to win the WBO belt by unanimous decision.
In 2018 Navarrete, 26, won the WBO junior featherweight title by upsetting Isaac Dogboe with a unanimous decision victory on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza undercard at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. He defended the belt five times, including a 12th-round TKO over Dogboe in the rematch in 2019, before going up in weight.
"Pitufo" Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs), of Puerto Rico, lost a unanimous decision to Masayuki Ito in 2018 challenging for the then vacant WBO junior lightweight world title. His only other loss came in April 2019 against Shakur Stevenson in a featherweight battle. Diaz, 26, has won two consecutive fights since then, unanimous decision victories over Adeilson Dos Santos and Jason Sanchez, both in 2020.
The fight will add another chapter to the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry in boxing.
In the co-main event, Berlanga faces Demond Nicholson in a 10-round super middleweight bout.
Since becoming a professional in April 2016, Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs), of Brooklyn, New York, has won all his fights via first-round knockout.
Nicholson (23-3-1, 20 KOs) is a power puncher that is unbeaten in his last five fights after losing a seventh-round TKO against Jesse Hart in 2018.