WBO featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) put in a sensational performance in defeating Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (26-3, 16 KOs) by a 12th round knockout on Saturday night in a successful defense at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.
In the 12th round, Navarrete, 26, knocked Diaz down, and the fight halted shortly after his corner. Diaz took a lot of punishment in getting dropped in rounds 4, 8, and 12.
Diaz lost a point in the seventh round when he hit Navarrete in the back. That penalization seemed to have an impact on the fight, causing Diaz to fight more recklessly, which allowed Navarrete to land a lot of his shots.
Diaz’s point deduction changed the fight
If not for the point deduction, the fight might have had a different complexion. I’m not saying that Diaz would have won, but it would have been a different outcome.
The referee was a little too quick with the penalization of Diaz. He should have given him a warning before reverting to taking a point away.
Diaz showed incredible heart with how he continually attacked Navarrete, forcing him to fight while under pressure. The fast pace that Diaz set led to Navarrete taking large portions of each round off so that he could rest.
In the second half of each round, Navarrete would come alive and land a lot of combinations. It was easy for him because Diaz was always coming forward, walking into his shots.
Overall, it was a good effort from Navarrete in a gutsy performance. This was definitely one of Navarrete’s harder fights.
Edger Berlanga beats Demond Nicholson
In the chief support bout, super middleweight Edgar Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs) was taken the distance by his unheralded opponent Demond Nicholson (23-34, 20 KOs) in winning and right round unanimous decision.
Nicholson hit the deck in rounds 2, 3, 5, and 8. The scores were 79-68, 79-69, 79-69.
Before tonight, the 23-year-old Berlanga had knocked out his first 16 opponents in the first round. Although Berlanga tried, he couldn’t keep his gimmicky streak alive.
Nicholson, 28, proved to be a good survivor, as he was hurt multiple times in the fight by the heavy shots from Berlanga, but he was good a recovering.
In between rounds, Nicholson recovered each time and came out strong at the start of the rounds.
This was a fight that taught the fans a lot about Berlanga, showing that he’s got heart and can box a little. We saw a different side of Berlanga in the fight, but we also noted that he’s got holes in his defense.
Top Ran will need to consider moving Berlanga a little slower because he’s not ready to take on David Benavidez or any of the top super middleweights in the division.
It would be better for Berlanga to get three or four more years of experience before facing a world title.