Emanuel Navarrete and Oscar Valdez are ready to pick up where they left off earlier this year.

BoxingScene.com has learned that the aforementioned WBO junior lightweight title fight is eyed for August 12 at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. Minor details are still being finalized, but nothing which should hold up the fight landing at its originally targeted venue when previously scheduled to take place February 3. The event will headline a show on an ESPN platform.

Big Fight Weekend’s Dan Rafael was the first to report the development.

Valdez was forced to withdraw from the originally targeted February 3 date when it was realized that he would not fully heal from a pre-existing injury in time to proceed with the fight.

Mexico’s Navarrete went on to face Australia’s Liam Wilson, but had to overcome a fifth-round knockdown to drop and eventually stop Wilson in the ninth round of their Fight of the Year contender to become a three-division titlist. Valdez—a two-time Olympian for Mexico and former two-division titlist from Nogales—was ringside for the event and joined his countryman in the ring afterward to confirm that they would eventually meet later this year.

An interim fight was afforded Valdez (31-1, 23KOs) who returned to the ring this past weekend in a repeat win over Adam Lopez at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Judges Max DeLuca (98-92), Benoit Roussel (98-91) and Don Trella (97-93) unanimously scored the ten-round junior lightweight contest in favor of Valdez.

The bout was his first since a twelve-round defeat to Shakur Stevenson in their WBC/WBO unification bout last April 30 also at MGM Grand. Stevenson (20-0, 10KOs) was forced to give up both when he missed weight ahead of his eventual win over Robson Conceicao last September 23 in Newark.

The WBC belt was already spoken for, while Valdez remained the highest ranked available contender with the WBO.

Navarrete (36-1, 30KOs) was permitted to jump the line given his status as a two-division and reigning WBO featherweight titleholder. The streaking boxer from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico entered as the number-one contender and permitted to vie for the vacant title per a ruling from the WBO during its recent annual convention this past October in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Shortly after the win over Wilson, Navarrete relinquished the WBO featherweight title. As much was expected when he struggled to even make the 130-pound limit for his eventual title win in a third weight division in February. Navarrete previously held the WBO junior featherweight title dating back to his December 2018 win over Isaac Dogboe in New York City, marking his U.S. debut. Their May 2019 rematch took place in Tucson, the first of what will now mark three fights in Arizona for Navarrete.

The expected edge in fan support will likely go to Valdez, who has childhood roots in Tucson—less than two hours from the greater Phoenix area.

The fight will mark his sixth overall appearance in Arizona, and his first time back in or near Phoenix since a pair of prospect-level fights in 2014. His last in-state bout was a September 2021 twelve-round win over Conceicao at Casino Del Sol in Tucson. The event that was permitted to move forward after Valdez was cleared by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission after an extensive review of and ruling a positive drug test produced earlier last summer through testing contracted by VADA.

Valdez previously held the WBO featherweight title for three years before he moved up to junior lightweight for good in 2019. He became a two-division titlist following a sensational tenth-round knockout of Miguel Berchelt in February 2021.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox