Abraham Nova wants to test himself against Emanuel Navarrete next.
The undefeated featherweight contender wants nothing more than to prove himself against the WBO 126-pound champion many contemporaries don’t want to fight. Now that Navarrete’s targeted opponent, Oscar Valdez, has committed to a 130-pound title unification fight with Shakur Stevenson on April 30, Navarrete needs an opponent for his next title defense.
Nova (21-0, 15 KOs), a native Puerto Rican raised in Albany, New York, is the WBO’s third-ranked contender in the junior lightweight division. He considers himself a featherweight, despite that he has not fought at the division’s limit of 126 pounds in either of his two fights since he decided to drop down in weight.
Mark Magsayo is the WBO’s number one featherweight contender, but the undefeated Filipino fighter will challenge WBC champ Gary Russell Jr. on Saturday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET).
“I want him next, to be honest,” Nova told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel about Navarrete after stopping William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) in the eighth round Saturday night. “You know, and everybody thinks he’ll blow me out or knock me out. Well, put him in there – let’s see if he do it. I know I will beat him. I know I have the punch output, just like him. I know I’ll knock him out and I know I will be the next WBO world champion. So, if Navarrete wants it, I’ll take the fight.”
The 28-year-old Nova then issued a challenge to Mexico’s Navarrette in Spanish. Kriegel urged him to translate his message into English.
“I told him I want the fight,” Nova explained. “If he’s considered the best, then come and beat me. Everybody, all the fans, say he’ll beat me. So come and prove it, and come and beat me. Make it happen. Show your fans that you can beat me. I wanna see it, because I know it’s not gonna happen and I know I got the skills, I got the power. I got everything. I got the IQ to beat you. I have everything. I have the size. I’m not the little guys that you’re fighting.”
The 27-year-old Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) most recently battered Joet Gonzalez (24-2, 14 KOs) throughout their 12-rounder and won a unanimous decision October 15 at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.
Nova survived Encarnacion stunning him with a right hand in the first round Saturday night to win in dominant fashion. He won by technical knockout 55 seconds into the eighth round, when Encarnacion’s trainer, Luis Perez, requested a stoppage.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.