Two-time Mexican Olympian featherweight Oscar Valdez (18-0, 16 KOs), of Nogales, Mexico will have the biggest test of his career when he takes on former world champion Evgeny Gradovich (21-1-1, 9 KOs) of Russia. Valdez will take on Gradovich on Saturday, April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on HBO Pay per View. We caught up with Valdez as he talked about his next challenge against the former world champion.
“I am pretty excited for this fight for a lot of reasons. Going on a big card like Pacquiao Bradley it means a lot to me. I know a lot of people are going to be there to watch that fight they will have to see me first,” Oscar Valdez told Southern California Boxing.com “This is a good opportunity for me to show, who Oscar Valdez really is,” Valdez added.
Valdez has been gearing up for the last three weeks holding camp at the Rock Gym in Carson, California working with his trainer Manny Robles.
“We have been training really hard Manny and I. Sparring with fighters from out gym we are going to be ready for the fight,” Valdez said.
Coming off a knockout over Ernie Sanchez, Valdez closed out the 2015 year. A year that saw him score an impressive TKO over former world title challenger Chris Avalos, Valdez clearly handled him. Prior to that fight Valdez suffered his first official knockdown but managed to win a clear decision over tough veteran Ruben Tamayo in his HBO debut.
“My last fight I did well, it was very exciting I got to fight near my hometown of Nogales in Tucson,” Valdez said. “Fighting Gradovich, I am hearing good things now about my opponent. I know he is my biggest name to this date. Like my trainer say’s every fight is more important than the last one. I take every fight serious,” Valdez added.
Gradovich is coming off a unanimous decision over Jesus Galicia to start the year. Last year was a disappointment for the "Mexican Russian" as he lost his IBF world title, dropping a controversial technical decision to England's Lee Selby in traveling to London.
“I think he is a Robert Garcia style aggressive fighter and he puts up a good fight,” Valdez said.
This fight will be a big step up in class for the two-time Olympian, Valdez as his promoter Top Rank/Bob Arum along with his manager Frank Espinoza feel this is the right time for him to take on a tough task in the former world champion. With a win here, look for Valdez to create a buzz in the featherweight division and have a breakout 2016.
“I was in Mexico training and Frank Espinoza gave me that call. He gave me the date and mentioned Gradovich’s name. I got excited. My goal is Gradovich he is the only thing I have in mind. After that if god wants I win,” Valdez said. “It’s a big step up for me, it’s my chance to prove that I am up there,” Valdez added.
Valdez vs. Gradovich will be a scheduled ten round featherweight bout and will be featured on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 3 card.
“I will be a smarter fighter but at the same time give you and exciting fight. Gradovich is the perfect style, we all know he fights and styles make fights. My style and his style will make an exciting fight,” Valdez concluded.
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