Competing as an amateur for eight years, Luis Orlando Del Valle came to be considered the best featherweight in the United States. As he is related to former WBO bantamweight champion Rafael Del Valle, “Orlandito” had boxing in his blood and he took up the sport at the age of 14. Within one year, he became Puerto Rico’s Under 19 National Junior Olympics champion. Seeking bigger challenges, Del Valle moved from Puerto Rico to New York in 2004 and won the state’s Golden Gloves tournament as well as the National Golden Gloves that year. Del Valle would win the New York Golden Gloves another two times, in addition to a slew of other amateur championships and trophies, winning bronze at the 2005 International Tammer Tournament in Finland, becoming the 2005 USA Under 19 National champion, winning gold at the 2006 Six Nation Cup in Italy and becoming the featherweight champion at the Ken Goff Memorial Boxing Classic in Canada that year as well.
After 126 fights as an amateur, compiling a 114-12 record, Del Valle embarked on a professional career on April 11, 2008, with a third-round knockout over Ray Rivera in Atlantic City. Del Valle fought at BB King Blues Club, in New York City, as part of a DiBella Entertainment Broadway Boxing card, on February 25, 2009, and dominated the undefeated Tommy Atencio over four rounds en route to a unanimous decision win. Lou DiBella was impressed with what he saw and signed Del Valle to a promotional deal shortly thereafter. (Del Valle is also co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.) Six months later, Del Valle returned to BB King’s, stopping Robert Guillen at 44 seconds of the fifth frame.
In his seventh pro fight, Del Valle traveled back to Puerto Rico to take on crafty southpaw Christopher Rivera, and after an impressive body attack, stopped his adversary with a left hook to the liver at 2:01 of round three.
Following two knockout victories, Del Valle faced his toughest challenge in the experienced Pasqual Rouse, on July 10, 2010, at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, in Poughkeepsie, NY. Winning via knockout in the fourth round, Del Valle picked up the New York State featherweight title.
Another two knockouts followed, as Del Valle stopped Noe Lopez Jr. in three rounds in a rematch on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams middleweight championship rematch, at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, on November 20, and Irvin Hernandez in six, on February 18, 2011, at Coliseo Pachin Vicens, in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
In his next bout, Del Valle stepped up to the 10-round limit for the first time, taking on the 17-1 quick-fisted Dat Nguyen, on June 11, the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, at Roseland Ballroom, in New York City. The fight was televised on SHOWTIME’s “SHoBox: The New Generation” series, and the vacant NABA featherweight title was at stake. In a fast-paced, exciting but one-sided contest, Del Valle outboxed the game Nguyen and got the better of the many exchanges over the distance to earn a unanimous decision win, with all scorecards reading 99-91 in his favor.
On the undercard of the IBF welterweight contest between Andre Berto and Jan Zaveck, at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, in Biloxi, MS, on September 3, 2011, Del Valle kept busy with a third-round stoppage over Anthony Napunyi, at 1:21 of the frame. Napunyi was felled in the third by an explosive left hook.
Del Valle began 2012 by fighting at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, on a Broadway Boxing card. In front of a sold-out crowd, on January 21, Del Valle earned an eight-round unanimous decision over Jose Angel Beranza, with scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
On April 27, as part of a SHOWTIME ShoBox tripleheader, Del Valle took on the very tough 23-1-3 Christopher Martin, at the Buffalo Run Casino, in Miami, Oklahoma. In an exciting, fast-paced battle, Del Valle outworked his more experienced foe early on. When Martin began to warm up and establish his jab over the middle rounds, Del Valle landed a left hook that sent his adversary to the canvas for the first time, in round seven. Martin arose, but Del Valle’s edge in power was evident as they continued to trade punches for the remainder of the bout. Scorecards read 100-90, 98-91, and 97-92, all in favor of Del Valle.
Fighting in the co-featured bout of an HBO Boxing After Dark card, on September 29, 2012, at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, in Mashantucket, CT, Del Valle stepped up to face three-time, two-division world champion Vic Darchinyan, with the vacant NABF junior featherweight title at stake. Though Darchinyan’s awkward southpaw style presented problems to Del Valle, the Puerto Rican’s heart and chin helped make the contest thrilling and action-packed. In the ninth round, Del Valle landed a stunning left hook that badly damaged Darchinyan, but the Armenian was able to recover. After 10 rounds, scorecards read 96-94, and 99-91 twice, all for Darchinyan.