Oscar Valdez has endured a pair of discouraging defeats during the past two years, but at 33 the former two-division champion has an opportunity on Friday to reunite with a world-title belt and elevate back toward another prominent showdown.

The World Boxing Organization on Tuesday announced that Valdez’s junior-lightweight bout against Australia’s Liam Wilson (13-2, 7 KOs) is for its interim 130lbs title.

That interim tag might vanish quickly considering reigning champion Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico is strongly positioned to claim the WBO lightweight belt on May 18 when he meets Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk (18-0, 9 KOs).

The WBO ruled that if Navarrete wins the ESPN main-event bout in San Diego and opts to retain the title, then the winner of Valdez-Wilson on Friday will be declared “full champion” at 130lbs.

Valdez possessed that belt previously, but surrendered it when defeated by the then-WBC champion Shakur Stevenson by wide scores of 117-110, 118-109 and 118-109.

In August, Valdez earned another shot at the belt, but was defeated 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112, by Navarrete.

Valdez (31-2, 23 KOs) has landed another opportunity in an ESPN-televised main event (8 p.m. Eastern) from Glendale, Arizona, to regain it.

Should Navarrete win and, as expected, opt to retain the lightweight title, then the winner of Valdez-Wilson has 180 days from May 18 to meet the mandatory opponent assigned by the WBO.

As of Tuesday, the WBO’s top-ranked contender is Toledo, Ohio’s Albert Bell, who’s coming off a first-round knockout win over Jonathan Romero on Friday night in Toledo.

Like Bell, Valdez will enjoy a homecoming fight of sorts after being raised along the US-Mexico border south of Tucson, Arizona.

The compelling part of Friday’s fight is whether Valdez has been diminished by all the tough rounds he’s logged – against Navarrete, Stevenson and even the gritty 2018 triumph over Scott Quigg when Valdez was bloodied and roughed up by the overweight Brit.

Before Tuesday’s WBO announcement, Valdez told Arum he planned to defeat Wilson and to seek a date with Vasyl Lomachenko, the former three-division champion who travels to Australia May 12 to fight George Kambosos Jr for the IBF lightweight championship.

In 2009 as amateurs, Lomachenko defeated Valdez 12-1 at the world championships. Many consider 130lbs to be Lomachenko’s best fighting weight. 

“As long as [Valdez] gives me a victory, he’s in there with any of the top names,” Valdez’s promoter Bob Arum said. “He’s a good fighter, exciting, has a solid fan base … we’re hoping he comes through.”