Aussie Liam Wilson suffers boxing world title heartbreak vs Oscar Valdez, ‘nasty’ interview as family in tears

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Australia’s Liam Wilson has fallen agonisingly short of a boxing world title again, losing via TKO to Oscar Valdez in a gutsy effort on Saturday (AEDT).

Fighting at the same venue where he was robbed of a world title against Emmanuel Navarette in a mouthguard controversy a year ago, history unfortunately repeated for the 28-year-old Queenslander.

BOXING: Don’t miss Tim Tszyu in a unified World Title fight this Sunday against 6-foot 6 Towering Inferno Sebastian Fundora. Plus catch fellow Aussie Michael Zerafa taking on Erislandy Lara for his shot to become the Middle Weight World Champion LIVE from Las Vegas | SUN 31 MAR 11AM AEDT | Exclusive to Main Event, order on Kayo Sports. No Kayo subscription needed.

The main event fight at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona was evenly matched in the early rounds, with Wilson landing his fair share of shots on Valdez.

But Valdez, 33, went to another level in the middle rounds — unleashing a barrage of combinations that were just too much for Wilson to handle.

The Aussie could only hold up his defence in hope before referee Mark Nelson called a stop to the contest at 2min48sec in the seventh round.

Watch the referee’s stoppage in the video player above.

“You can see the dejection in the face of Liam Wilson,” the commentator said.

“He calls BS. He wasn’t happy with the stoppage. But he didn’t do anything to stop Mark Nelson from doing his job.”

Former world champion Timothy Bradley Jr said: “Valdez hurt him badly in that sequence and the fact you don’t punch is the reason Nelson steps in.

“Wilson fought with his heart, Valdez fought with his brain.”

Valdez was emotional as he claimed the WBO super featherweight world title after losing to Navarette last August.

The Mexican had plenty of words of encouragement for Wilson in a lengthy exchange in the centre of the ring afterwards.

‘Nasty’ interview slammed amid heartbreaking family scenes

ESPN’s Mark Kriegel was criticised by viewers for telling Wilson to “fight smarter next time” in a fairly pointed post-fight interview in the ring.

“It’s always a pleasure to watch you,” Kriegel told Wilson.

“I want to see you back and I hope I do. Congratulations on fighting with all your heart. Fight smarter next time. Take care kid.”

One fan described the interview as “nasty” and said “that wasn’t the place for that comment”.

Another criticised Kriegel for “kicking a fighter while he’s down”.

Wilson said: “I tried to box the first few rounds and my heart got the better of me.

“I’ve got to learn from it and start using my boxing brain.”

Wilson said his tendency to turn his fights into a scrappy brawls was “a necessary evil”.

“It works at time but sometimes I need to fight the fight that’s in front of me,” he said.

There were heartbreaking scenes after the fight with cameras capturing Wilson consoling his five-year-old daughter Charlotte, who was distraught in his dressing room back stage.

CODE Sports’ Brendan Bradford posted: “Oh man, Mark Kriegel nearly tearing up on the desk watching Liam and his kids. Far out.”

Aussie Liam Wilson consoles daughter after boxing heartbreak

ESPN’s Mike Coppinger wrote on X: “Oscar Valdez delivered a nonstop barrage of punches in Round 7 to stop Liam Wilson and pick up the interim WBO junior lightweight title.

“Great stoppage. Valdez buckled him several times in the round. Aussie outgunned but came to fight. Credit to Valdez for the pep talk to Wilson.”

Steve Kim added: “Liam Wilson finally buckles, he never fell, but got hurt in rd 7 and then while still on his feet, the fight was waved off. You could make an argument it was a quick stoppage, but he was getting hammered pretty good by Valdez.”

Main Event’s Ben Damon said: “More disappointment for tough Liam Wilson in Arizona, stopped in 7 by Oscar Valdez.”

Oscar Valdez vs. Liam Wilson: Full Fight Highlights

Valdez said Wilson hurt him “several times”, declaring: “I know he can be a champ.”

“He carries a punch. He can do it. Yeah, he did (hurt my ribs).”

“I did know that (I almost had him), actually,” Wilson said in his post-fight interview.

“But he was a bit tricky inside. He was very compact for a fighter, short and compact.

“I thought I hurt him to the body at one stage, but I didn’t know he was as hurt as he made out. It’s good to know.”

Wilson’s professional boxing record is now 13-3 and he will have to lick his wounds before attempting another run to a world title.

Australian boxing fans will only have to wait a day to see another local hope fight for a world title in America.

Tim Tszyu is taking on Sebastian Fundora for the WBO and WBC super welterweight belts in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon (AEDT).

Michael Zerafa is also fighting on that card against Erislandy Lara for the WBA middleweight title.

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