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Hometown fighter Valdez defends world title in boxing's big Tucson return

Oscar Valdez retained his WBC super featherweight title with a win on Friday night.
Posted at 10:14 AM, Sep 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-12 13:14:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez successfully defended his title on Friday night in his adopted hometown of Tucson, with a lively sellout crowd of 4,545 supporting him.

The main event capped off boxing's big return to Tucson, which involved a series of fights at Casino del Sol's AVA Amphitheater.

Valdez scored a unanimous victory over Brazilian challenger and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição, though the judges' scores did not separate the two by much: 117-110, 115-112 and 115-112.

It was the first major sporting event in the Tucson area since sports gambling was legalized in Arizona on Thursday.

The atmosphere was electric as the pro-Valdez crowd broken into chants of "Oscar! Oscar!" several times and cheered wildly when the decision was announced after 12 rounds.

The bout did not happen without controversy. Valdez tested positive for the banned stimulant phentermine in two different samples last month, but was not suspended by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission and the WBC did not strip his title. Subsequent tests leading up to the fight were clean.

Valdez said in an interview with ESPN that he does not know how the substance got into his body and maintains that he is a "100% clean" fighter.

Friday's result was a big win for Valdez, his supporters and those who placed wagers on him. Casino del Sol also benefited from hosting the major boxing event and the thousands of fans.