Here is a look at the recent lineage of the championships in the junior lightweight (130-pound) weight class. Boxingtalk will be updating and expanding this recent history of the weight class from time to time.
WBC / OCT. 29, 2023: O'Shaquie Foster
was in position to lose by split decision before gaining a thrilling twelfth-round technical knockout victory over Eduardo Hernandez on Saturday. Fighting a Mexican in Cancun, Mexico, Foster and Hernandez went to war in round eleven. Foster was then three minutes away from losing his title to some very bad judging, as he entered the final round trailing on two of the official scorecards by 110-99 and 107-102. Foster led on the third scorecard by 106-103 but that would not have been enought to save his title. So he came out aggressively and kept his WBC super featherweight championship by knocking Hernandez down
and then stopping him
. It was dramatic stuff from the Houston resident, who is now 21-2 on ths his career. Boxingtalk salutes Hernandez, who is now 34-2, as well as Foster.
WBO / AUG. 12, 2023: Emanuel Navarrete defeated former two-division champion Oscar Valdez in a classic Mexican war held in Glendale, Arizona. Navarrete, a three-division champion, retained the WBO junior lightweight championship by unanimous decision. The official scores were 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109. Navarrete threw 1038 punches according to Compubox, outlanding Valdez 216-140. Valdez finished with swelling plus a deep bruise under his right eye. Valdez has now failed in his last two title fights, vs. Shakur Stevenson and now Navarrete.
WBA / AUG. 10, 2023: Otar Eranosyan maintained his spotless pro record, defeating former title holder Roger Gutierrez in a WBA junior lightweight eliminator in Plant City, Florida. From the Republic of Georgia but now fighting out of Florida, Eranosyan won by technical knockout in the eighth round. Gutierrez began round eight bleeding from his right eyebrow and from then on, he had no answer for Eranosyan, who delivered punches at will. Gutierrez was unable to respond and the bell saved him from what seemed an imminent trip to the canvas. Before the ninth round started, referee Christopher Young stopped the fight. At the time, the scorecards read 77-72 and 78-71 (twice) for Eranosyan (14-0), now the WBA mandatory contender for Hector Luis Garcia.
IBF/ APRIL 24, 2023: Joe Cordina became a two-time IBF 130-pound champion, winning a unanimous decision over Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in a thriller of a bout held in Cordina's native Wales. The two men both entered the fight undefeated, as Cordina briefly held the title last year but had to give it up due to injury. The vacant belt was then won by Rakhimov last November, setting up Saturday's match
WBC / FEB. 12, 2023: With the words “ice water” and “shock the world” etched on his trunks, O’Shaquie Foster produced the fight of his life, coolly and methodically outboxing two-division champion Rey Vargas to capture the vacant WBC junior lightweight championship in his first title shot at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Foster, who normally switches to southpaw in his fights, fought orthodox for the entire twelve rounds with the objective of befuddling Vargas. He won by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109 in a dominant, albeit very competitive win. “I can’t put it into words (what this means),” Foster said in the ring afterward. “I know my mom, my uncle, my grandpa, they are all looking down on me.” Vargas was returning to the Alamodome after winning the WBC featherweight championship in his last bout with a decision victory over Mark Magsayo at the same venue last July. He still holds that title, so a return to 126 pounds may be in the cards for Vargas.
WBO / FEB. 4, 2023: In Glendale, Arizona, Mexico's Emanuel Navarrete (37-1) survived a knockdown and stopped Australia's Liam Wilson (11-2) in a thriller to earn the vacant WBO 130-pound championship. By claiming the title recently vacated by Shakur Stevenson, Navarrete become a three-division champion. Though Wilson lost, he established himself as a skillful and exciting boxer, and earned a return invitiation to the world stage. In round four, Navarrete was knocked down for the first time in his career. As Navarrete lunged forward with a punch, Wilson caught him with a combination that floored and hurt Navarrete. Luckily for him, Navarrete got critical extra seconds of recovery time as his mouth piece needed to be replaced, and Navarrete struggled to put in correctly. Round seven saw Navarrete swing the momentum his way, as blood began to flow freely from Wilson's nose. In round eight, Wilson appeared to be fighting the wrong kind of fight, looking for one big shot while Navarrete landed multiple blows upstairs and downstairs. Navarrete's body work paid off in round nine, as he knocked down Wilson in the first minute with a one-two combination. Wilson got up, but was clearly drained. He absorbed a lot of hard punches, stumbled badly in the middle of the ring, and seemed unable to tie up Navarrete up. When Navarrete trapped Wilson against the rope and began raining in punches, the referee had no choice but to stop the bout.
WBA / JAN. 8, 2023:
In Washington D.C., Gervonta Davis defeated WBA 130-pound champion Hector Luis Garcia
in a 135-pound bout in which Garcia's title was not at stake. Davis' feared punching power did not produce the knockout the fans were looking for, but it nonetheless proved to be Garcia's undoing. After seven competitive rounds, Davis began consistently landing power punches
in round eight. Garcia was staggered but survived until the end of the round. Garcia was guided back to his corner in clear distress and told trainer Bob Santos he could not see. Garcia did not come out for round ten, and Davis was the winner by technical knockout. Davis remains the WBA regular title holder in the lightweight division, while the battered Garcia also retains the WBA junior lightweight title, which was not on the line because this was a lightweight bout. Davis led the cards at the time of the stoppage, 78-74 (twice) and 79-73. Punchstats gave Davis the lead in punches landed, 99-55.
IBF / NOV 6, 2022:
In Abu Dhabi, Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov
won the vacant IBF 130-pound title after the IBF stripped Joe Cordina for having hand surgery. Rakhimov defeated Zelfa Barrett by ninth-round technical knockout
. The new champ is from Tajikistan and boasts a pro record of 16-0-1 with the draw coming in a prior IBF title shot vs. Joseph "JoJo" Diaz last year. Barrett was doing well in the fight as a whole, even knocking Rakhimov down
with a huge uppercut early in the contest. But according to DAZN, something happened in the ninth round and Barrett's leg appeared to be injured. It looked like Barrett couldn't put full weight on his right leg, and Rakhimov took advantage with a flurry of hard shots to knock Barrett down twice. At the point the fight was stopped, the referee did not administer a count, although Barrett's corner was ready to throw in the towel. The British Barrett is now 28-2.
IBF / OCT. 5, 2022: Joe Cordina had this to say about getting stripped by the IBF of his 130-pound championship because he had hand surgery (he posted a picture on social media to prove it): "Absolutely gutted. Worked my whole life to become a world champion and I haven’t even had the chance to defend the title Feel like I’ve been robbed !!" Zelfa Barrett will face Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov for the vacant IBF 130-pound championship on a Matchroom show at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Saturday November 5th. Rakhimov (16-0-1, 13 KOs) gets a second opportunity to fight for the 130-pound crown following his draw with an overweight Joseph Diaz last year.
WBC & WBO / SEPT. 23, 2022: At Thursday's weigh-in in Newark, New Jersey, hometown hero Shakur Stevenson could not get below 131.6 pounds, and therefore lost the WBO and WBC 130-pound championships on the scale. His ESPN main event vs. Robson Conceição is still on, with the Brazilian challenger still eligible to win the titles. If Stevenson wins the twelve-round bout, the two titles become vacant. Conceição made weight with a bit to spare at 129.6. [Stevenson won the fight, so the titles remained vacant until February 2023 when O'Shaquie Foster defeated Rey Vargas for the WBC and Emanuel Navarrete stopped Liam WIlson for the WBO].
WBA / AUG. 21, 2022: Hector Luis Garcia of the Dominican Republic dethroned Roger Gutierrez for the WBA 130-pound championship. From San Juan de la Maguana, Garcia (16-0) proved that his dominant win against Chris Colbert in February wasn’t a fluke. Garcia, a former Olympian, dictated the action and survived a late rally to wrest the WBA title from Gutierrez via unanimous decision. Scores were 117-111 (twice) and 118-110.
WBC & WBO / MAY 21, 2022: WBO junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson unified two titles when he outboxed WBC champion Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision on Saturday in front of 10,102 fans in Las Vegas. After twelve rounds, the judges declared Newark, New Jersey's Stevenson the winner by scores of 118-109 (twice) and 117-110. Stevenson (20-0 including the World Series of Boxing) established the southpaw jab in the early going, and Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) could not get his offense going outside of pockets of success in the third round. In the sixth, Stevenson spun Valdez into the ropes and knocked him down with a right hand. It was all Stevenson in the second half of the fight, who built an insurmountable lead on the cards. Valdez won the final round on all three judges' cards, but it was too little, too late.
IBF / NOV. 21, 2021... In the Madison Square Garden co-feature, Japan's Kenichi Ogawa became the new IBF super featherweight champion, dropping South Africa's Azinga Fuzile three times on the way to a unanimous decision. Official scores were 115-110 (twice) and 114-111 for Ogawa to claim the vacant title. A former drug cheat, Ogawa is now 26-1-1 but also has a no contest after testing positive in a fight vs. Tevin Farmer in 2017. Fuzile is now 15-2. The title became vacant ealier this year when JoJo Diaz failed to make the 130-pound limit for a fight.
WBO / OCT. 24, 2021: In Atlanta, Shakur Stevenson stopped Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) on cuts in round ten to become the new WBO junior lightweight champion. There were no knockdowns, but Herring was well behind on the cards and a cut over his left eye was rapidly worsening from Stevenson's punches. Although he was not badly hurt, Herring did not complain much about referee Mark Nelson's stoppage. The undefeated Stevenson is now a two-division title holder (as well as an Olympic silver medalist), having previously won a featherweight title before moving up in weight. As soon as the fight ended, talk began about Stevenson's next foe. The top name on his list is the WBC champion at 130 pounds, Mexico's Oscar Valdez.
WBC / SEPT. 11, 2021: In Tucson, Arizona, WBC 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez started slow but got some home cooking to help him remain a champion. Robson Conceicao was fighting the fight of his life, likely winning the first five rounds although not getting credit from the judges for it. The champion then turned it around. Valdez retained his title Friday evening with a unanimous decision over 2016 Brazilian Olympian gold medalist Conceicao. Official scores were 115-112 (twice) and a corrupt or incompetent 117-110. [Punchstat numbers favored Conceicao widely, 141 punches landed to 83. Valdez's face was completely marked up from the punches he absorbed. The referee did his part to assist Valdez by making a ridiculous and unjustified point deduction againt the challenger for a minor tap to the back of the head. Not even a warning for Conceicao but Valdez did the same thing and suffered no penalty. Valdez probably should not have even been allowed to fight, as he tested positive for a VADA-banned substance last week.
WBC / FEB. 20, 2021:
In Las Vegas, Oscar Valdez
and Miguel Berchelt promised an all-Mexican clash for the ages. They delivered. Valdez knocked out Berchelt with a left hook
at the end of the tenth round to win the WBC super featherweight title from Berchelt, who was making his seventh title defense. The hook crumpled Berchelt, who fell face-first to the canvas, and referee Russell Mora immediately waved off the fight. Valdez, a former WBO featherweight champion, is now a two-division champion and a major star in boxing. Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) had been badly hurt and knocked down in the fourth, but steadied himself and continued to pressure Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) throughout the middle rounds. Valdez turned the tide once again in the ninth with a knockdown, and with the tenth round in hand, he lowered the boom.
WBA / JAN. 2, 2021: Venezuela's Roger Gutierrez defeated Nicaragua's Rene Alvarado by an extremely narrow unanimous decision in Dallas on Saturday. Gutierrez, who had a prior loss to Alvarado in 2017, scored three knockdowns this time around and needed every one of them to capture the three scorecards by 113-112. It was a very close fight that had Alvarez ahead but things were still up for grabs going into the final round. A twelfth-round left hook from Gutierrez sent Alvarado to the canvas for the third time and proved to be the difference on the scorecards. With the win, Gutierrez acquires the WBA regular junior lightweight title in a situation hopelessly mucked up by the WBA. Right now Gervonta Davis holds the WBA super championship in this division and also the WBA regular championship at lightweight, but under the WBA rules, a super championship in the super featherweight should never have been issued. So Gutierrez has a stronger claim to being the WBA 130-pound champion.
WBO / MAY 26, 2019: Marine Corps veteran Jamel Herring completed his Hollywood story, upsetting WBO junior lightweight champion Masayuki "The Judge" Ito via unanimous decision Saturday evening at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida. It was a highly active yet largely tactical match-up between Ito (25-2-1, 13 KOs) and veteran challenger Jamel Herring (20-2, 10 KOs). With Herring’s stamina fading slightly down the stretch, Ito’s best rounds came in the final quarter of the fight, however it was too little too late as Herring won a unanimous decision by scores of 116-112 and 118-110 (twice). Herring accomplished his championship dream on Memorial Day weekend in front of a host of active and reserve U.S. Marines.
WBC / JAN 29, 2017:
The WBC 130-pound title now belongs to Miguel Berchelt
, who punished Francisco Vargas in Indio, California. The HBO Boxing After Dark fight went on a couple of rounds too long as Berchelt turned Vargas’ face into a bloody wreck. The ringside physician declined two opportunities to stop the fight, and when it was over, the cut above Vargas’ left eye was longer than the eye itself
. Berchelt is now 30-1, with lone loss coming in 2014 to non-contender Luis Eduardo Florez. Bechelt’s first defense could be against former WBC champion Takashi Miura, who won an eliminator on the undercard. Another possibility is Orlando Salido, a former featherweight champion who recently drew with Vargas. Meanwhile, Vargas is now 23-1-1, and showed some effects from back-to-back wars vs. Miura and Salido.