Navarrete wrecks De Vaca in third round, retains belt

Junior featherweight world titleholder Emanuel Navarrete destroyed Francisco De Vaca with ease in a third-round stoppage to retain his belt on Saturday.

Navarrete landed punches at will and faced next to nothing in return from De Vaca as he retained his 122-pound title for the second time before 3,944 in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum announced immediately after the fight that Navarrete would return to the ring to defend his title against an undetermined opponent on Sept. 14 (ESPN+) -- Mexican Independence Day weekend -- in the chief support bout of Tyson Fury's fight against Otto Wallin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"He is Mexican. He is proud to be Mexican. Sept. 14 is Mexican Independence weekend, and the best fighter in Mexico will be there defending his title. Congratulations," Arum said.

Navarrete (28-1, 24 KO's), 24, of Mexico, outgunned the smaller De Vaca from the outset. De Vaca, who split with longtime trainer Roberto Alcazar to work with Manny Robles, who also trains unified heavyweight world champion Andy Ruiz Jr., struggled to land any clean punches.

By the second round, De Vaca's nose was leaking blood, and Navarrete smelled it. Late in the round, the champion nailed De Vaca with a right undercut and a right hand that dropped him.

De Vaca (20-1, 6 KO's), 24, a Mexico native based in Phoenix, fought bravely and tried to punch his way out of danger, but his punches had no effect against Navarrete who continued to pound his outclassed opponent to the head and body.

Navarrete forced De Vaca to the ropes and teed off on him, connecting with lefts, rights, and uppercuts. De Vaca threw back with a series of lets, but came up empty, getting hit with every punch that Navarrete threw. At 1 minute, 54 seconds, referee Raul Caiz Sr. had finally seen enough and stopped the fight.

"De Vaca showed his fighting heart. He gave 100 percent in the ring tonight," Navarrete said. "First of all, I want to thank my supporters, and second of all, I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in Los Angeles. I want to fill arenas, and I want to achieve the same things that Mexican legends did here."

According to CompuBox, Navarrete landed 95 of 248 punches (38 percent), and De Vaca landed 39 of 224 (17 percent). Navarrete landed 48 of 99 power shots in the final round.

Navarrete made headlines in December when he outpointed Isaac Dogboe to win the Ghanaian-British fighter's 122-pound title. They fought again on May 11 and Navarrete was brilliant again, knocking Dogboe out in the 12th round of a one-sided rout.

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