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ZANFER PROMOTIONS COMPLETES COVID-19 TESTING FOR FIGHTERS

The Mexican promotional company had plans to stage Emanuel Navarrete v Uriel Lopez in a non-title fight at Featherweight in Mexico City, on June 6th. After some delays, the fight has been confirmed for June 20th. Zanfer managed to organize a closed venue, the TV Azteca studios, and both Navarrette and Lopez passed their COVID-19 tests which they took on Thursday in a laboratory certified by the Mexican health authorities.

Emanuel Navarrette v Uriel Lopez

This fight is a huge mismatch favoring Navarrette. The world number one ranked Super-Bantamweight and WBO world champion, will be facing journeyman Uriel Lopez. Lopez is ranked 308th worldwide, and 56th in Mexico, with a 13-13-1 record. The headline fight mirrors the dire mismatch on Top Rank’s Tuesday card, between Shakur Stevenson and Felix Caraballo. In that fight, Stevenson beat up Caraballo for 6 rounds, before vicious body shots dropped Caraballo for good.

Navarrete will have an even easier time than Stevenson had, with Lopez realistically lasting more than a round or two. It’s understandable that promoters are keen to get fights back on and we don’t blame Lopez for taking this career-high fight, but in all honesty, this particular fight is just irresponsible. Lopez is massively outmatched, having not fought a single person close to Navarrete’s level, and is going not going to have an answer for anything he’s faced with on June 20th.

For Lopez’s manager, it is a very questionable decision. To Navarrete’s manager, I would like to ask if he would ever have considered bringing Lopez in as a sparring partner for anyone of Navarrete’s previous camps. I think I already know the answer, as there are so many other good super Bantamweights and Featherweights to choose from. Even though Navarrette is going up to meet Lopez at Featherweight, he’ll be extremely dominant and would beat him without gaining 4lbs.

I can’t say I know enough about the local fight scene in Mexico City to predict whether this event will be a success, but if this mismatched headliner were being put on in the UK, I doubt many people would take time out to watch it.

The undercard

Navarette and Lopez will be joined by two other Featherweight contests, a 10-round match between Edwin “Pupo” Palomares and Carlos “Chinito” Ornelas, and an 8-round Featherweight match between Gustavo Alan Piña and Sergio Chirinos Sánchez. All of the fighters were subjected to COVID-19 tests on Thursday, 11th June, and were subsequently cleared to fight.

The undercard fighters are all either local up-and-comers or journeymen, aside from Carlos Ornelas. Ornelas, 25-2, is a decent southpaw fighter with crisp technique, who should continue to rise up the international ranks as he gets older. Hot on the heels of fellow Mexicans Luis Vargas, Irving Turrubiartes, and top contender Eduardo Ramirez, the 25-year old could find himself in world title contention within 3-4 years.

He put on fantastic performances in his last two fights against Juan Ramon Bernal and Jose Alberto Guzman, which showed both his ability to KO and fight strong to the 8-round distance. As he continues to improve himself against the incredibly competitive local Featherweight roster, we predict he will emerge as a top contender at 126lbs.

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