He’s one of the top talents in the game, a pound for pound ace who hasn’t received his just due because he hasn’t found that stern test which would prove to be a career defining fight. On April 8, Shakur Stevenson will get another chance to build his brand, with news out that he’ll be meeting a Japanese foe in Newark, NJ.
This being boxing, anyone reading this likely knows that it often takes the sport a bit longer than many of us would hope for things to shake out, as rival promotional entities and network/platforms jockey for position.
Stevenson is 25, and right now, there’s no one in and around 135 pounds that he wouldn’t be a threat to beat. So, plenty of us would like to see Stevenson test his skills against the acknowledged aces at 135, but that’s not in the cards at this time.
So, we will see what Shuichiro Yoshino brings to the table, apart from his rep as a good puncher. Stevenson is one of the the very defenders in the game, he is a most elusive target to get a bead on. Can the 16-0 Yoshino, boasting two solid wins in 2022, be someone who can see and find the tough target that is Stevenson’s chin?
Here is a release sent out by promoter Top Rank, which offers more details on the next fight date for Shakur Stevenson:
NEWARK, N.J. (Feb. 4, 2023) — The pound-for-pound fighting pride of “Brick City” has packed the house before, and he is set to do it again.
Undefeated former two-weight world champion Shakur Stevenson will take on Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator Saturday, April 8, at Prudential Center in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
In the co-feature, heavyweight knockout artist Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson aims for another stoppage in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be named. And, in the 10-round televised opener, rising lightweight and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis fights a to-be-determined foe.
Stevenson-Yoshino and the returns of Anderson and Davis will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN, Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets starting at $55 go on sale Friday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. ET and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
“Shakur Stevenson is one of the most gifted fighters I’ve had the pleasure of promoting, and I look forward to seeing him once again fight in front of his incredible hometown fans in Newark,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Yoshino is a tough fighter and won’t be deterred by the hostile crowd. Jared Anderson and Keyshawn Davis are two of the sport’s emerging superstars, and I can’t wait to see them back in the ring.”
“Following the overwhelming success of Shakur Stevenson’s return to Newark in September, we are thrilled to build on that momentum with another stacked Top Rank boxing card on Saturday, April 8th,” said Dylan Wanagiel, VP of Sports Properties & Special Events for Prudential Center. “As Shakur continues to rise the pound-for-pound rankings, we take great pride in being his home. We all witnessed just how much Shakur means to the City of Newark a few months ago, as the event sold the most tickets to a boxing event in our venue’s 15-year history. Alongside our world-class partners at Top Rank and ESPN, we look forward to raising the bar for boxing fans not only in New Jersey but across the globe.”
Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world champion, returns home following last September’s triumph against Robson Conceição. The stubborn Conceição lasted the distance, but Stevenson dominated in front of 10,107 fans at Prudential Center. CLICK HERE to read the NYFights recap of the Shakur Stevenson win. It was the first time Stevenson had fought at Prudential Center since July 2019 and established the venue as one of the sport’s most raucous hometown crowds.
Stevenson won the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round knockout over Jamel Herring in October 2021, then unified the division with a stirring 12-round display over WBC king Oscar Valdez the following April. Those victories propelled Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, to the top 10 of most pound-for-pound lists. He now sets his sights on a third weight class and a spot atop the pound-for-pound throne.
“I am taking over the lightweight division and my run will start on April 8 in Newark. Shuichiro Yoshino is an undefeated fighter who was willing to step up and fight me when so many fighters were scared,” Stevenson said. “My last fight at the Prudential Center was just the start of what I’m building in Jersey. We are going to pack the Prudential Center again and show the world who the future of boxing really is.”
Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs), the WBC’s No. 5 contender, is a former Japanese lightweight champion who compiled a 104-20 amateur record. After seven defenses of his Japanese title, Yoshino rose in the rankings following a banner 2022. Last April, he won a bloody technical decision over former world champion Masayuki Ito after Ito suffered a cut over his left eye (video below):
He followed up the Ito triumph in November with a sixth-round stoppage over Masayoshi Nakatani, best known to fans for his stands against Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Yoshino has never fought away from Japan and hopes to spoil Stevenson’s homecoming.
“I am very honored to be fighting in the U.S. for the first time. I’m extremely focused and motivated,” Yoshino said.
“I’m looking forward to fighting the great two-division champion, Shakur Stevenson, in his hometown of Newark. I’ll be training hard leading up to the fight and look forward to showing the fans an exciting victory!”
Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), a 23-year-old from Toledo, Ohio, has notched five consecutive second-round stoppages, including a demolition of the normally durable Jerry Forrest last December. Anderson received international headlines for his work as a sparring partner of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, but he is now firmly established as a potential heavyweight champion.
Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, went to the Tokyo Olympics as a 3-0 professional and returned home with a silver medal and a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank. He is 4-0 since signing with the promotional powerhouse in late 2021, including three stoppage victories and last December’s shutout over former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos. Davis shined at Prudential Center last September, stopping Omar Tienda in five rounds.
Undercard action — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — includes undefeated Polish heavyweight prospect Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Knyba signed a long-term contract with Top Rank following his second-round knockout over Emilio Salas on the Teofimo Lopez-Sandor Martin bill in December.
Featherweight phenom Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs), the latest uber-talent from Brownsville, Brooklyn, will fight in a six-rounder against an opponent to be named. Carrington fought on the Stevenson-Conceição bill and blanked Jose Argel over six rounds.