Óscar Valdez will not fight Carl Frampton at Windsor Park this August.
Frampton claimed the WBO interim featherweight title on Saturday just gone, dominating Nonito Donaire to win a belt which was created due to an injury suffered by the organisation’s champion, Valdez.
The Mexican had his jaw broken by Scott Quigg in a successful defence last month and his promoter Bob Arum has quelled talk that Valdez may return in August by stating that the double Olympian will be out until around November.
It’s hardly a surprise considering the severity of the injury suffered – Valdez’s jaw is still wired shut over six weeks later.
Arum told David Kelly of the Belfast Telegraph that “I’m getting regular updates on Oscar and everything is coming along very nicely, he’s not able to eat solid foods but in terms of fighting again I don’t think he will be back until around November.”
“It’s not realistic to see him fighting in August but Valdez would love to have a fight with Frampton and if the money was right then he would come to Belfast and fight him.”
With Frampton desperate to fight for a legitimate world title on his dream Windsor Park date, there was a school of thought that ‘The Jackal’ would be upgraded to WBO champion – and the principled Ulsterman claimed he would consider his first ‘defence’ a vaant title fight.
This elevation, it was thought, could be achieved through the vacation of the WBO title by Valdez – who is rumoured to be close to a move up in weight.
Warren also stated that he would be pressuring for Valdez to be ordered to defend against Frampton once the California-based fighter returned from injury – although, this was said when Warren, at least publically, seemed to believe that there was a chance Valdez would be fit for August.
The Londoner is said to have a strong relationship and notable influence over the youngest of the four major governing bodies, and an immediately mandated defence for Valdez versus Frampton or even the elevation of the 31-year-old Irishman to full champion both seemed distinct possibilities.
However, Arum is also said to hold a similar influence over the WBO, and the veteran promoter seemed to indicate that Valdez would be keeping his full title indefinitely – and wouldn’t necessarily be facing Frampton immediately once he returns to the ring this Winter.
The New Yorker outlined how “I don’t believe there will be any such pressure like that.”
“We have talked to the WBO and explained the situation with his broken jaw, so they are understanding of the situation and we have a very good relationship with the WBO. As long as he defends in the winter they are happy.”
“He’ll be back as good as new and hopefully that fight with Frampton will be made.
“With Frampton as the interim champion, this has manufactured us a very big fight and that’s good. I have a very good relationship with Frampton’s promoter Frank Warren, we have been working together doing fights for 40 years so that’s not a problem.”
If Valdez does keep the full title and if, as many assume, the winner of the IBF title fight between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington on May 19th isn’t ready to face Frampton by August, it leaves the Belfast boxer in a curious position.
The Tiger’s Bay man would be essentially out of options in terms of world titles and would most likely defend his Interim belt against the likes of Mark Magsayo. He would then, hopefully, get a shot at Valdez by the end of the year, although the words of Arum seem to suggest that this may not be until 2019.