Emanuel Navarrete successfully defended his WBO junior featherweight title for the fifth time in nine months, battering an overmatched Jeo Santisima en route to an 11th round stoppage victory on the Wilder-Fury 2 undercard.

Navarrete (31-1, 27 KO) really had no trouble with Santisima (19-3, 16 KO), who was a huge underdog and proved that everyone had read the matchup correctly. This has become par for the course with Navarrete title defenses; while he fights regularly and people like that, his opponents are lousy for world title fights.

Santisima did prove durable and game, surviving as long as he did, but he didn’t trouble Navarrete at all. Navarrete dominated in several rounds and looked to close repeatedly, and while he suffered a clear injury to his right hand, he said Santisima lasted because of his toughness.

“I hit him weirdly with my right hand did hurt my thumb, but I had to plow through it and get the victory,” Navarrete told Bernardo Osuna. “The fight took a long time because I had a very tough opponent.”

VIA Badlefthook.com

Turn down a fight for what? It’s not what WBO junior featherweight titleholder Navarrete does.

Watching Emanuel Navarrete box, you almost get the feeling that he enjoys fighting a little too much.

After upsetting Isaac Dogboe by unanimous decision to become the WBO junior featherweight champion in December 2018, Navarrete turned right around and defeated Dogboe by 12th-round TKO in the May 2019 rematch. That reinforced that his initial win was far from just a good night or fluke. He then proceeded to defend that very title three more times before the year ended for good measure.

It’s that kind of bustle that has helped the 25-year-old build his reputation as “The Mexican Iron Man.” Navarrete will look to make it five consecutive title defenses when he faces Jeo Santisima on the main card of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

“This streak I’m riding of five world title defenses in less than nine months has been great for my career,” Navarrete told DAZN News via a translator. “After beating Isaac Dogboe for the world title, I’ve been a very active fighting champion. Thankfully, I’ve not received much punishment during my streak of world title defenses.”

It’s quite the opposite, as Navarrete has been the one doling out the punishment during this stretch with a third-round TKO of Francisco De Vaca in August, a fourth-round TKO of Juan Miguel Elorde less than a month later and a fourth-round stoppage of Francisco Horta in December.

Turn down a fight for what? It’s not going to happen on Navarrete’s watch — he’s putting the fighting in “fighting champion.” Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs) has never abandoned the hungry, go-getter mentality of being an underdog throughout this period and doesn’t plan to relinquish it moving forward, either.

“Nothing has changed for me,” he said. “In a way, I still see myself as the underdog. That motivates me to keep working hard and to keep improving my skills. I want to get better with each fight that passes. I want to represent the Mexican flag and my motivation is to raise it as high as I can.”

Plus, he’s not shy about saying that he flat out savors fighting, aiming to have as busy of a 2020 as he did last year.

“I like the activity,” Navarrete said. “As long as I keep walking out unharmed from these fights, I would like to keep fighting as much as possible. It will all depend from the opportunities that my promoters present to me. They are doing a great job moving me and I never turn down a fight.”

For Navarrete, there’s a method behind this frantic pace. It’s his hope that he’ll force a unifying title shot with one of the other junior featherweight champions, whether it be newly crowned IBF/WBA champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev or WBC titleholder Rey Vargas.

“My opinion is that they need to fight me,” he said. “I’ve been looking for a title unification fight for a long time. It doesn’t matter, the name. It doesn’t matter who goes first. I want to face them all. I want to unify the division, but I can’t keep waiting forever. It’s getting tougher for me to make the weight. If I don’t get a title unification opportunity soon, I’ll probably move to featherweight.”

Until then, Navarrete has a fight on his hands with Filipino contender Jeo Santisima (19-2, 16 KOs) and he’s not about to overlook the challenge.

“You have to be prepared to go to war at all times and against any opponent,” he said. “I’m ready to go to war.”

Given the amount of eyes that are bound to converge on the Wilder-Fury 2 card, Navarrete sees Saturday night as an opportunity to introduce his brand of boxing to a new audience, while continuing to give familiar fans the fervent fighting they’ve come to know and love from him.

“This is an event that has captured the attention of fans around the world,” he said. “It’s always great to get that kind of exposure and to get to perform in front of such a big audience. This is a great opportunity for me to showcase all my skills on a big stage.

“The fans haven’t seen the best of me yet.”

But they continue to get him in high volume, which cannot be ignored … especially on the biggest boxing card of the year.


Boxing’s busiest champion WBO Jr. Featherweight ruler Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs) will make his fifth title defense in nine months against Jeo Santisima (19-2, 16 KOs) on Saturday’s Fury-Wilder PPV. 25-year-old Navarrete has won all his defenses so far by knockout (against Isaac Dogboe, Francisco de Vaca, Juan Miguel Elorde and Francisco Horta)

The Wilder vs. Fury II PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

#WilderFury WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel Navarrete Defends His Title Against the Philippines’ Jeo Santisima in PPV Featured Bout. The PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Representing San Juan Zitlaltepec, Distrito Federal, México, Navarrete (30-1, 26 KOs) captured his 122-pound title by defeating Isaac Dogboe in December 2018, and emphatically retained the title by stopping Dogboe in the final round of their rematch in May 2019. The 25-year-old stayed busy after securing the title, scoring stoppage victories in successful title defenses in August, September and most recently in December, when he knocked out Francisco Horta in Mexico. He is boxing’s most active world champion, as the Santisima bout will be his fifth title defense in nine months.

“I am motivated to make my fifth defense in less than a year and especially because I’m proud to be part of a historic card headlined by Wilder vs. Fury II,” said Navarrete. “This is a great opportunity to put on an exhibition for the fans and showcase my talent once again. I’m very grateful to my promoters, Bob Arum and Fernando Beltran, for giving me these opportunities.”

The 23-year-old Santisima (19-2, 16 KOs) turned pro in 2013 as a 16-year-old and has not lost a fight since his fourth career contest in 2014. A native of Masbate City, Philippines, Santisima will ride a 17-fight winning streak into his U.S. debut and his first world title opportunity on February 22. His 2019 campaign saw him deliver victories over Alvius Maufani in August and Rene Dacquel in December.

“I really appreciate this opportunity, as this has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Santisima. “For this fight, I will train and prepare to become the new champion. I don’t feel any pressure. I will just do my best on fight night to show the world who I am. I heard and read the news that this fight is a mismatch, but I will do my best to give a great fight.”