Mexican star Emanuel Navarrete has relinquished his WBO super-bantamweight crown and is seeking to contest the organisation’s vacant title at 126lbs, after champion Shakur Stevenson stated his own intention to move up in weight earlier this week.
This is likely to have significant implications for Ireland’s Michael Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) who is currently the WBO’s No.1 rated contender at featherweight. The current No.2 is Californian southpaw Ruben Villa (18-0, 5 KOs).
Ordinarily, Conlan and Villa would be expected to contest the vacant title, but Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs) is likely to jump the queue having written to the WBO and requested a shot at the sanctioning body’s vacant featherweight crown, citing weight making difficulties.
Under WBO rules, any of its champions moving up in weight has the option to be rated No.1 contender in their new division. That should mean Navarrete will fight Conlan for the vacant WBO featherweight title if those rules and rankings are followed.
Both Conlan and Navarrete are promoted by Top Rank so there should be relatively few obstacles to making that fight. But the swarming Navarrete is a far tougher night in prospect than the cultured but modest-punching Villa.
Former World amateur champion Conlan will obviously fancy his chances against either man.