Valdez stops Rueda, wins WBO title

Oscar Valdez gave Mexico a new world champion by stopping Matias Carlos Rueda in two rounds to claim the vacant WBO world featherweight title.

The 25-year-old barely broke sweat as he lived up to his nickname of 'The King', putting his opponent down twice with brutal bodyshots in a one-sided scrap.

The WBO title used to belong Vasyl Lomachenko, who beat Valdez (21-0-KO19) as an amateur. Back in 2008, Valdez became his nation's first World Amateur champion at the tender age of 17.

The Mexican was expected to take the title vacated by Lomachenko's move up in weight and it came as no surprise when he did. His crisp combinations and Rueda's open defence combined to leave the crowd wondering when, not if, he would win in a packed MGM Grand, Las Vegas. 

The first round saw him land plenty of shots but the second saw Valdez step it up and put the Argentinian down, with his lethal left to the body, the deciding punch.

The first knockdown came when a right hook set the trap for the perfect bodyshot that had Rueda taking a knee but not long after he had regained his breath, Valdez finished him off.

Three right overheads landed, but it was again that perfect and precise left that led to another count. This time, Valdez joined compatriot Leo Santa Cruz as a featherweight world champion – at least for the next seven days, when the WBA World title holder takes on Britain's Carl Frampton.

"It's a dream I had since I was eight years old and ever since I started boxing, I wanted to be a world champion," an emotional Valdez told HBO.

"It's not only a dream I had, it's one I shared with my dad so that's why it was so emotional. Also I would like to dedicate this to my cousin, who passed away a month ago in a motorcycle accident.

"If you work hard in the gym, you get to accomplish your dreams. Now I want to fight the best, whoever it is. I know I am on top right now and I have the belt, so I know people are going to call me out but I am ready for it. Let's do it."

Also on the bill, topped by Terence Crawford's win over Viktor Postol, undefeated Jose Benavidez out-pointed Francisco Santana (24-5-1-KO12) over 10 rounds.

Benavidez (25-0-KO16) remained unbeaten and having held the WBA Interim super-lightweight title, could be on the radar of recently-crowned WBA World holder Ricky Burns, the man who Crawford beat to land his first world title, down at lightweight back in March 2014.

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