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Oscar Valdez to face veteran Jayson Velez on July 21 in Las Vegas

Former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez will face veteran Jayson Velez on July 21 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The bout will take place at 130 pounds, according to Frank Espinoza, Valdez's manager.

"The fight is done, we're excited about it, Oscar is very happy to be back doing what he loves,'' Espinoza told ESPN on Wednesday. A source at Top Rank confirmed that this fight has been finalized, while the rest of this card is still being formulated.

A victory by Valdez could lead to a showdown with WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt. Valdez is No. 1 in the WBC's 130-pound rankings.

Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) recently moved up to junior lightweight after making six defenses of his featherweight title between 2016 and 2019. Last November, he had a rocky debut at 130 pounds when he was knocked down early by late replacement Adam Lopez. He rallied to score a seventh-round TKO.

In Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs), Valdez is facing a seasoned veteran who has been in the ring with a plethora of recognizable names including Ryan Garcia, Ronnie Rios, Joseph Diaz and Rene Alvarado. In his most recent outing on Feb. 8, Velez had a very strong showing against Jaime Arboleda but lost on a razor thin split decision in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In the 36 professional outings, Velez has never been knocked out.

It's a pivotal fight for Valdez, who is still looking to find his groove under trainer Eddy Reynoso, while fine-tuning his skills for the formidable Berchelt.

"That's the fight we want next, that's the one Oscar is aiming for," Espinoza said. "We're hoping that by the fall there can be crowds at fights, because we know how much fans are anticipating it."