In Facing Oscar Valdez, Jason Sanchez Will be the 11th New Mexican to Fight for a World Title
It will be a tall task for Jason Sanchez to dethrone undefeated WBO Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez. In doing so, he will join an elite list of five other boxers from the state of New Mexico to win a legitimate world title.
Eleven New Mexicans (five natives and five transplants) have challenged for a world title, just five: Bob Foster, Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero, Holly Holm, and Austin Trout, have been successful in claiming a championship.
Those to come up short include Benny Chavez in 1914, Emilio Martinez in 1935, Art Aragon in 1951, Daniel Perez in 1995, and Andres Fernandez in 2000.
The list below consists of bouts in which New Mexican boxers (native or residents) made their world title fight debuts for world titles of one of the four major sanctioning bodies (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBA) which are considered by the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
A special thanks to legendary New Mexico photographer and writer Chris Cozzone for assisting me in putting together the list. Make sure you buy his book Boxing in New Mexico, 1868-1940.
1914-05-29 Johnny Kilbane def. Albuquerque, New Mexico resident Benny Chavez via 2nd round knockout to retain the Featherweight World Title in Denver, Colorado.
1935-03-13 John Henry Lewis def. Wagon Mound, New Mexico native Emilio Martinez to retain the Light Heavyweight World Title in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1951-11-14 Jimmy Carter def. Belen, New Mexico’s Art Aragon via unanimous decision (88-77, 88-77, 88.5-76.5) to retain the World Lightweight Title at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
1968-05-24 Albuquerque’s resident Bob Foster def. Dick Tiger via 4th round knockout to claim the WBA, and WBC Light Heavyweight titles at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
1994-10-12 Albuquerque native Johnny Tapia def. Henry Martinez via 11th round knockout to claim the vacant WBO Super Flyweight Title at The Pit in Albuquerque, NM.
1995-04-22 Albuquerque native Danny Romero def. Francisco Tejedor via unanimous decision (115-112, 116-112, 116-111) to claim the IBF Flyweight Title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1995-09-02 Nigel Benn def. Albuquerque resident Daniel Perez via 7th round knockout to retain the WBC Super Middleweight Title at Wembley Stadium, in Wembley, England
2000-08-05 Clarence Adams def. Albuquerque resident Andres Fernandez via 6th round technical knockout (doctor’s stoppage) to retain the WBA Super Bantamweight title at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Wisconsin.
2006-06-10 Albuquerque native Holly Holm def. Angelica Martinez via unanimous decision (98-92, 98-92, 98-92) to claim the inaugural WBA Welterweight Title at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, NM.
Note: Despite Holm winning the IBA Welterweight Title in December of 2004, this was her first major world title victory.
2011-02-05 Las Cruces resident Austin Trout def. Rigoberto Alvarez to claim the WBA Super Welterweight Title via unanimous decision (119-108, 117-110, 118-109) at the Arena Coliseo in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
2019-06-08 Albuquerque native Jason Sanchez will be facing Oscar Valdez for the WBO Featherweight Title at Reno-Sparks Convention Center, in Reno, Nevada.