Oscar Valdez has officially vacated his WBO featherweight title as he will pursue a title moving up to super featherweight.
After a purse bid scheduled for last week for a title fight between Valdez and mandatory challenger Shakur Stevenson saw Top Rank win the bid, Valdez has gone on to vacate the belt instead of fighting Stevenson. The move was expected, however, after Valdez and manager Frank Espinosa have stated that they were not interested in such a fight and would only remain at featherweight if he got a unification bout against fellow titleholder Josh Warrington.
With the title now vacant, the WBO has ordered Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez, the next highest ranked available contender, to reach a deal to fight for the vacant belt. Both sides have 30 days from August 6, which would fall on September 5, to do just that or else a purse bid will be issued. Should negotiations stall and a purse bid be issued, the minimum bid will be $150,000.
Valdez, who represented Mexico in the 2012 Olympics, has held the WBO title since July 2016 when he stopped Matias Rueda in the second round. Since then, Valdez has made six successful title defenses with wins over Miguel Marriaga and Scott Quigg. Valdez most recently retained his title with a unanimous decision win over Jason Sanchez this past June in Reno, Nevada.
Stevenson, a silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics, had a rapid ascent to the top of the contender’s list with 12 straight wins and a number of regional titles. Stevenson, ranked in the top five by the WBA, WBO and IBF, is coming off a TKO win over Alberto Guevara in Stevenson's hometown of Newark, New Jersey on July 13.
Gonzalez, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, is also undefeated as a pro, winning all 23 of his fights. The 25-year-old Gonzalez is coming off a sixth-round stoppage win over Manuel Avila in July to capture the WBA Continental and WBO Global featherweight titles.