Yokasta Valle overcame a slow start to prevail in her latest victory.
The three-division and newly crowned IBF/WBO junior flyweight titlist will have to be quicker on her feet in deciding at which weight she will next compete.
Costa Rica’s Valle claimed the IBF/WBO 108-pound titles after dethroning unbeaten champ Evelin Bermudez via ten-round, majority decision win this past Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Valle exited the ring with the understanding that she will have ten days to decide whether she will remain at junior flyweight, or return to strawweight where she also holds the IBF/WBO belts.
The mandate came from the WBO, who offered its blessing for Valle to challenge Bermudez (17-1-1, 6KOs) on the condition that she subsequently commit to one weight class with a win in their November 26 fight. A copy of the ruling was submitted to Valle’s manager Mario Vega, as well as her co-promoters Marvin Rodriguez of MarvNation Promotions—who promoted Saturday’s show—and Golden Boy Promotions.
Per Section 5(d) of the WBO Regulations, “No WBO Champion may hold WBO titles in more than one weight division. If a WBO Champion wins a WBO championship in a higher or lower division, the WBO Champion shall have ten (10) Days to determine which weight division the WBO champion will retain.
“The other weight division will be declared vacant.”
Valle (27-2, 9KOs) is blessed with attractive options no matter at which weight she next chooses to compete.
A decision to remain put at junior flyweight could leave the 30-year-old in line to challenge the unification bout between WBC champ Kim Clavel (16-0, 3KOs) and WBA champ Jessica Nery (28-2, 3KOs) this Thursday in Laval, Canada.
A return to strawweight boasts her most lucrative option, a three-belt showdown with WBO titlist and pound-for-pound entrant Seniesa Estrada (23-0, 9KOs). Valle has held the IBF belt at that weight since an August 2019 points win over Joana Pastrana on the road in Marbella, Spain. The win saw Valle capture a junior flyweight belt on her second try after previously holding the IBF belt in the female-exclusive 102-pound atomweight division.
Estrada is presently pursuing a title unification bout of her own. The 30-year-old from East Los Angeles has called for a showdown with unbeaten WBC strawweight titlist Tina Ruppercht (11-0-1, 3KOs), who defeated Valle via ten-round decision in their June 2018 interim title fight before winning the full title one fight later.
Valle has since claimed a fourteen-fight win streak, including six overall defenses of her IBF strawweight title. The latest came on September 8, when she dethroned unbeaten WBO titlist Th Thu Nhi Nguyen in their unification bout in her San Jose hometown. The win and the subsequent decision to move up in weight leaves Valle subject to WBO regulations—and the hard decision at which division she’d prefer to remain and potentially further unify.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox