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Navarrete Expects Tough Title Defense

Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

New York- WBO featherweight king Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, knows the challenge at hand is a formidable one. The former junior featherweight champion from San Juan Zitlatepac, Mexico will make the second defense of his featherweight title against Joet Gonzalez this Friday at Pechanga Arena San Diego as the main event of a Top Rank card televised on ESPNPlus

Gonzalez is making his second attempt at a world title, while Navarrete hopes to improve to 10-0 in world title fights.

In the 10-round welterweight co-feature, San Diego native Giovani Santillan (27-0, 15 KOs) will take on the hard-charging Angel Ruiz (17-1, 12 KOs). Ruiz is coming off April’s decision win over the previously undefeated Bobirzhan Mominov.

“I feel very strong. I’ve seen changes in my body for the best, and I think this division is the best for me,”Navarrete said. “I think this is going to be a tough fight. He is a tough opponent. We are basically fighting in his hometown, closer to where he lives. Without a doubt, he’s a great fighter. He always comes forward. I expect a tough fight.”

He is not looking to move up in weight and focused on Gonzalez.

“Moving up is not something that I’m considering now,” I’m just focused on the fight with Joet. What I’ve heard is comments, but I’m not really thinking about moving up.”

Gonzalez is looking to respond after losing a WBO Featherweight title opportunity to champion Shakur Stevenson two years ago. He has looked past that fight and won a tough 10-round decision over Miguel Marriagalast September.

“Sometimes it’s just not your night,” he said, “ I work hard and train hard for every fight. I don’t take nobody lightly. It just simply wasn’t my night. I rebounded with a win over Marriaga, and I think I showed the public I’m here to fight the best out there.”

“It’s not an easy fight. It’s a tough fight. Navarrete has a style that’s very unique, very hard to figure out, and that’s why he’s a champion. I trained really hard, and I’m coming with everything. I’m planning on leaving Friday night with that belt.”

“It means everything. It’s my childhood dream. I always wanted to be a world champion. That’s why I started boxing in the beginning. That’s the plan, to bring that belt back home.”

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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