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WBO Warns Emanuel Navarrete For Not Notifying Them On Medical Injury, Gives 10 Days For Clarification

WBO Warns Emanuel Navarrete For Reports On Medical Injury, Gives 10 Days For Clarification featured image
Emanuel Navarrete in the hospital after undergoing surgery on his left arm. (Photo by Emanuel Navarrete/Instagram)

The WBO has reached out to Mexican WBO super featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete after the fighter revealed he was undergoing hand surgery on his Instagram account. However, according to WBO rules, given his status as champion, he was also required to release full details of his medical condition and potential recovery, forcing the WBO to order him to provide the aforementioned medical information or face consequences.

From December 4 to December 14, a period of 10 days, super featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KO’s) must produce a comprehensive medical report or risk repercussions, which may include the relinquishment of his titles. The WBO conveyed this clearly in a letter to Navarrete’s representative, Jeremy Koegel, an executive within Top Rank, a boxing promotion company.

On December 1, 2023, the Entertainment Sports Network (ESPN) published an internet article reporting that the subject matter fighter underwent surgery performed on his left hand at the Hospital Mexico Americano in Guadalajara, Mexico,” stated the WBO’s letter, signed by one of its executives, Luis Batista Salas.

Based on the foregoing, Mr. Navarrete is hereby ordered to submit within the next 10 days a detailed medical explanation of his injury, findings, recovery prognosis, and his physician’s opinion as to when he will be physically and medically cleared to compete and return to active competition.

Failure to comply with this order will result in Mr. Navarrete waiving all rights hereunder and with the Committee proceeding per WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.

Lastly, the WBO World Championship Committee reserves its right to issue all rulings deemed necessary, helpful, and convenient to accomplish the purposes, policies, and intent of the WBO Rules and Regulations of World Championship Contests, including serving the best interests of boxing and its WBO Jr. Lightweight Division.

The WBO made a similar request from female boxer Savannah Marshall a month prior, as she was expected to be out for at least six months due to an injury. Savannah Marshall and her promoter Boxxer apparently provided the required information within the 10-day period, as she has retained her status as the WBO super middleweight champion and has not faced any repercussions.

While not strictly peculiar news, it is noteworthy that this stringent order follows Emanuel Navarrete’s elevation to WBO ‘super champion’, granting him certain rights, such as immediate title challenges if he decides to move from his current division. The WBO’s letter indicates that the ‘super champion’ designation does not mean tolerance for anything that might stagnate the division.

Emanuel Navarrete’s last fight was on November 16th, where he drew (by split decision) with title challenger Robson Conceicao (38-1-1, 31 KO’s). According to several reports, Navarrete is expected to return in early 2024.

While the WBO has not always been this stringent, recent developments suggest a change in the organization to avoid unnecessary delays in title defenses and other rulings. This change might have been spurred by Jermell Charlo, who was stripped of the WBO title after being accused of stalling his mandatory title defense against Tim Tszyu, prompting the WBO to strip Charlo when he chose to fight Canelo Alvarez on September 30th at a weight class he had never fought in (168 lbs) instead of facing Tszyu. Since then, the WBO has become stricter, no longer content with letting fighters delay their mandatory title fights without sufficient reason.