WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a “The Mexican Iron Man” defends his title against Filipino contender Jeo Santisima Saturday night on the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 undercard.
Representing San Juan Zitlaltepec, Distrito Federal, México, Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs) captured his 122-pound title by defeating Isaac Dogboe in December 2018, and emphatically retained the title by stopping Dogboe in the final round of their rematch in May 2019. The 25-year-old stayed busy after securing the title, scoring stoppage victories in successful title defenses in August, September and most recently in December, when he knocked out Francisco Horta in Mexico. He is boxing’s most active world champion, as the Santisima bout will be his fifth title defense in nine months.
“I am motivated to make my fifth defense in less than a year and especially because I’m proud to be part of a historic card headlined by Wilder vs. Fury II,” said Navarrete. “This is a great opportunity to put on an exhibition for the fans and showcase my talent once again. I’m very grateful to my promoters, Bob Arum and Fernando Beltran, for giving me these opportunities.”
The 23-year-old Santisima (19-2, 16 KOs) turned pro in 2013 as a 16-year-old and has not lost a fight since his fourth career contest in 2014. A native of Masbate City, Philippines, Santisima will ride a 17-fight winning streak into his U.S. debut and his first world title opportunity on February 22. His 2019 campaign saw him deliver victories over Alvius Maufani in August and Rene Dacquel in December.
“I really appreciate this opportunity, as this has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Santisima. “For this fight, I will train and prepare to become the new champion. I don’t feel any pressure. I will just do my best on fight night to show the world who I am. I heard and read the news that this fight is a mismatch, but I will do my best to give a great fight.”