Valero remains WBC lightweight champion

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

Edwin Valero stopped veteran Hector Velazquez after six rounds Saturday night to keep his WBC lightweight title in a town on Venezuela's Caribbean coast.

The 28-year-old Valero (26-0, 26 KOs) was bleeding from an eyebrow and his nose after a pair of accidental head-butts early in the fight. But the feisty Venezuelan kept attacking, giving Velazquez (51-14-2) his third loss in four fights.

It was Valero's first defense since winning the belt in April with a second-round knockout of Antonio Pitalua in Austin, Texas. Valero is already planning to defend the title in early 2010 against Antonio DeMarco, who holds the interim WBC belt.

The fight Saturday night was held just outside Caracas - Valero's first fight since problems renewing his U.S. visa prevented him from defending his title in Las Vegas last month against junior lightweight champion Humberto Soto.

Valero at the time accused the U.S. government of discrimination, saying he had completed all the necessary paperwork and that his application wasn't approved in time because of his sympathy for Venezuela President Hugo Chavez - a fierce critic of the U.S. government. Valero has an image of Chavez tattooed on his chest along with a Venezuelan flag.

Authorities say that Valero has a pending drunken driving charge in Texas, which is the primary reason he was denied a visa.

The charismatic lightweight turned professional in 2002 and fought without any problems until he failed a prefight MRI exam two years later in New York, when it was revealed that he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in a motorcycle accident in 2001.

Valero was place on indefinite suspension and wound up fighting mainly in Japan and Latin America. He finally received a license to fight in Texas, where he won his 135-pound title in the kind of dazzling performance that has become his hallmark.

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