Talks begin for unification between Warrington-Frampton winner and Oscar Valdez


WBO featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez will return to the ring in January in, what his team plans to be, a warm-up for a unification bout with the winner of Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington.

The Mexican has been out of the ring since successfully defending his title against an overweight Scott Quigg back in March. 
 
Valdez [24(19)-0] scored a decisive points win following a brawl in the rain in Los Angeles but left the bout with a broken jaw.

The injury saw the creation of a WBO interim title which Frampton won versus Nonito Donaire and defended against Luke Jackson but he will now give this secondary belt up to challenge for Josh Warrington’s IBF title at the Manchester Arena on in December 22nd, live on BT Sport Box Office.

With Frampton [26(15)-1(0)] giving up the ‘next in line’ title it, to a degree, helps facilitate Valdez having a softer return fight and the Top Rank star will be back in January before chasing a summer unification.

While fellow North American’s Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr hold the WBA and WBC belts respectively – and a unification between the pair is being mooted for January – a WBO-IBF unification appeals to Valdez’s promoter Bob Arum.

The veteran shares a strong working relationship with Warrington [27(6)-0] and Frampton’s common backer, Frank Warren, and he has revealed that talks have already begun regarding a unification.

Arum, who also promotes Michael Conlan, revealed that “we’re looking at January 12 for [Valdez] to fight on ESPN, and then, assuming he wins that fight, then we would put him in with Frampton-Warrington winner.”

“I’ve already talked to Frank Warren about that.”

If Frampton does manage to defeat Warrington in Manchester days before Christmas to regain world champion status, it seems he could be instantly handed the chance to become a two-weight unified champ.

Santa Cruz, of course, remains Frampton’s biggest target, but a fire-fight with his fellow Mexican would also appeal to the 31-year-old Belfast boxer who is looking for big-money legacy bouts.

Valdez may look bring him back Stateside but the Mexican Olympian, after initially seeming reluctant, has expressed a recent willingness to travel to Belfast.

While Los Angeles will always be a front-runner, such a fight would seem suited for a return to Windsor Park. The revenue of a stadium fight, along with Warren’s re-entry into the pay-per-view market may also provide the capital to entice Valdez to Ireland – and he has refrenced these points recently regarding a potential unification with Santa Cruz next year.

Additionally, the possibility of Top Rank being involved in an Irish stadium fight would also raise the idea of Michael Conlan versus Vladimir Nikitin as a potential co-feature.

Of course, Warren has stated on a number of occasions that he envisions a domestic repeat or even trilogy between Frampton and Warrington so ‘The Jackal’ would need to win decisively in Manchester on December 22nd.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie