Stevenson wasn’t great, but he did enough against De Los Santos

Shakur Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) won another belt on Thursday night when he defeated Edwin De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

One judge had it 115-113, while the other two had it 116-112.

The 26-year-old captured the vacant WBC lightweight crown and now has three titles in three different weight classes.

However, as he acknowledged after the fight, it was not one of his better performances.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 28: A general view of the Seniesa Estrada vs Leonela Yudica fight night at Palms Casino Resort on July 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

According to CompuBox, Stevenson landed 65 of his 209 punches, while De Los Santos was busier(316 punches), but he landed only 40 punches. Again, Stevenson did his job, but it could have been more appealing and fascinating to the fans, and he knows it.

“I had a bad performance tonight. That’s all I’m really focused on. I wasn’t feeling too good, so I’ll live with it. It’s okay. I came here and got the victory, and that’s all I wanted to do.

“I just didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel good before the fight. Honestly, I had already told myself that if I feel like this in the ring and if it’s not going well, I’m going to make sure that I box and get the victory.”

De Los Santos wasn’t great either, but he blamed Stevenson.

“We all know what happened,” De Los Santos said. “He came for a track meet. He didn’t come to fight. I showed that I am on a higher level because he never stood and fought like he does with other fighters.

“I did my job. He came to survive. That’s what he did. They gifted him the title, but I’m the people’s champion.”

Stevenson has a belt but had a more significant opportunity to impress on a big stage, and he did not do it. The fans in the crowd were booing, and most of the reaction on social media was negative toward Stevenson. However, belts matter, and the belt could open the door for bigger fights against more prominent fighters, but Stevenson’s skillset will make others still probably avoid him.

Navarrete and Conceição Fight to Majority Draw

Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) and Robson Conceição (17-2-1, 8 KOs) fought to a majority draw in tonight’s co-feature.

Navarrete, the reigning WBO junior lightweight world champion, retained his title in a hard-fought battle. The three-division Mexican champ struggled with Conceição’s movement, but eventually found him in the fourth round with combinations around his guard that dropped the Brazilian Olympic gold medalist.

Conceição showed heart and endurance, returning to exchange in the center of the ring in round five. He often caught Navarrete with counter right hands and seemed to gain momentum, but he was sent to the canvas again in the seventh round.

Conceição thrived in the later rounds, going blow for blow until the final seconds of the twelfth round.

One judge had it 114-112 for Navarrete, which was overruled by two scores of 113-113.

“The decision is well-deserved. Robson is a great fighter,” Navarrete said. “He deserves the rematch, but that decision doesn’t depend 100 percent on me. But, if it does happen, I would train even better.”

In other acition:

Welterweight: Brian Norman Jr. (24-0, 19 KOs) captured the WBO International welterweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Quinton Randall (13-1-1, 3 KOs). The two engaged in many clinches throughout the fight, which stifled the exchanges. Nevertheless, Norman was aggressive enough to prevail. Scoores: 99-91 2x and 97-93.

Bantamweights: In a battle between two of Las Vegas’ best prospects, Floyd “Cash Flow” Diaz (10-0, 3 KOs) notched an eight-round split decision over Max Ornelas (15-2-1, 5 KOs) to capture the WBC Youth bantamweight belt. Diaz, despite a considerable height disadvantage, dropped Ornelas with left hands in the second and third rounds. Ornelas rallied in the later rounds, but it was not enough. Scores: 77-73 and 78-72 Diaz and 76-74 Ornelas.

Middleweights: Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (11-0, 4 KOs) overcame the toughest test of his career by out-slugging Mexican warrior Vladimir Hernandez (14-6, 6 KOs) to win via unanimous decision. Isley entered the fight determined to press the action, but Hernandez pinned him against the ropes on several occasions, punching around his guard. Isley, however, dug deep, and prevailed in most of the exchanges, edging Hernandez by two rounds on the judges’ scorecards. Scores: 77-75 3x.

Lightweight: Rising star Emiliano Fernando Vargas (8-0, 7 KOs) shined tonight with a second-round stoppage victory against Brandon Mendoza (6-3, 6 KOs). Vargas hunted Mendoza from the opening second, sending him to the canvas with a combination in the first round before landing a chopping right hand to end the contest in round two. Time of stoppage :57.

Heavyweight: Australian southpaw Jackson “White Chocolate” Murray (6-0, 4 KOs) remained unbeaten with a six-round unanimous decision win against Steven Torres (6-1-1, 6 KOs). Murray dropped Torres with a right hook in the third round and controlled the contest with straight left hands. Scores: 60-53 3x.

Lightweight: 19-year-old phenom Abdullah Mason (11-0, 9 KOs) scored a second-round knockout victory over Jose Cardenas (7-2, 5 KOs). Mason dropped Cardenas with a left hand in the first and finished him another left in the third. Time of stoppage: 1:55.

Junior Welterweight: Hugo Micallef (9-0, 2 KOs) made a successful U.S. debut by outboxing Sergio Odabai (6-2-1, 3 KOs) en route to a stoppage win. “The Fresh Prince of Monaco” landed at will in every round, forcing referee Raul Caiz Jr. to finally halt the fight after the fourth stanza.

Super Middleweight: Giovanni Sarchioto (9-0, 8 KOs) opened the night with a third-round TKO win over Lucas de Abreu (14-5, 11 KOs). Time of stoppage: 2:06.

Stevenson: ‘You’ve got the tough Edwin De Los Santos, but I’m here to whoop his a**’

Pound-for-pound star Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) and Dominican slugger Edwin De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) hosted their public workouts today ahead of their vacant WBC lightweight world title showdown this Thursday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
In the world championship co-feature, Mexico’s Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) defends his WBO junior lightweight strap against Brazilian two-time world title challenger Robson Conceição (17-2, 8 KOs).
Stevenson-De Los Santos and Navarrete-Conceição will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
At Monday’s media workout, this is what the fighters had to say.

Shakur Stevenson

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 28: A general view of the Seniesa Estrada vs Leonela Yudica fight night at Palms Casino Resort on July 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be very exciting. You’ve got the tough Edwin De Los Santos, but I’m here to whoop his a**!”

“We can’t think about what comes after. I’m not worried about after. We’ve got a job to do Thursday night. I’m coming here to get my belt.”

“I think that Edwin is a good fighter. I think he’s more of a boxer than what he’s trying to act like. So, he’s going to try to move around. And I’m going to figure him out by the fourth round.”

Edwin De Los Santos

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 28: A general view of the Seniesa Estrada vs Leonela Yudica fight night at Palms Casino Resort on July 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“We are not here to hesitate. We are here to fight. We accepted the fight, and we are going for it. I think at one point I was being underestimated. But now he has accepted the reality that he is going to have a very tough fight.”

“I feel very good because it is one of my dreams to be in Las Vegas and fight for a world title, which will happen this November 16.”

De Los Santos: ‘A victory over (Shakur)Stevenson would go down as one of the greatest in the history of Dominican boxing’

Dominican slugger Edwin De Los Santos is ready for his first world title opportunity.

The 24-year-old southpaw will face pound-for-pound star Shakur Stevenson for the vacant WBC lightweight world title on Thursday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

In the world championship co-feature, Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete defends his WBO junior lightweight strap against Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição.

Stevenson-De Los Santos and Navarrete-Conceição will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) debuted in the pro ranks in 2018 and notched his first 13 victories in his home country. In his U.S. debut, he suffered a razor-thin split decision loss to William Foster III. He hasn’t lost a fight since. In 2022, he took two unbeaten records, knocking out Luis Acosta with a left hand in the second round and dropping Jose Valenzuela twice before stopping him in round three. In July, De Los Santos dominated Joseph Adorno over 10 rounds  Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) seeks to become a three-division world champion following a sixth-round stoppage win over Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in April.

Following a recent training session, this is what De Los Santos had to say:

“This is the most difficult and important challenge of my career. Winning this fight will change my life forever. I know Shakur is a great champion, and I understand I will need my entire arsenal to defeat him. It is a huge challenge, but not impossible.”

“I am extremely focused on being crowned world champion and giving a world title to the Dominican Republic. A victory over Shakur would go down as one of the greatest in the history of Dominican boxing. That motivates me much more.”

Photo:  Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Vargas-Olivares added to Stevenson-De Los Santos

Undefeated prospect Emiliano Fernando Vargas is set to return in a six-round special attraction on Thursday, Nov. 16, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 19-year-old Vargas, the son of former junior middleweight world champion Fernando Vargas, will make his sixth appearance of the year in a lightweight fight against fellow unbeaten Cristian Olivares. Vargas-Olivares and the rest of the undercard will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+.
The ESPN-televised doubleheader (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT) is headlined by the vacant WBC lightweight world title showdown between Shakur Stevenson and Edwin De Los Santos and the WBO junior lightweight world title battle between Emanuel Navarrete and Robson Conceição.

Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images.
Vargas (7-0, 6 KOs) made his pro debut last May and has racked up six victories after signing with Top Rank later that year. After decisioning Francisco Duque in February, “El General” secured three consecutive second-round stoppage wins, including a body shot knockout against Rafael Jasso in May at MGM Grand Garden Arena. In his last fight, he obliterated Alejandro Guardado via third-round TKO. Olivares (10-0, 5 KOs) heads into his stiffest challenge following a unanimous decision victory against Franco Facundo Huanque in January.

Vargas said, “Las Vegas is my hometown, and I can’t wait to fight on such a loaded card. This is going to be a huge sports week in Las Vegas, and I am honored to be part of it. I want to be Prospect of the Year, and I’m going to make a statement on November 16.”

Stevenson-De Los Santos set for November 16 in Vegas

Shakur Stevenson will attempt to become a three-weight world champion when he takes on Dominican puncher Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight world title Thursday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the world championship co-feature, Mexico’s Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete defends his WBO junior lightweight strap against Brazilian two-time world title challenger Robson Conceição.

This world title twofer — broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT — kicks off the highly anticipated race week in Las Vegas.

“This is a huge week for Las Vegas and a tremendous platform for Shakur Stevenson to show, once again, why he is well on his way to reigning as the sport’s pound-for-pound king,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Many fighters turned down the opportunity, but Edwin De Los Santos eagerly accepted. Emanuel Navarrete and Robson Conceição fighting for supremacy at 130 pounds adds to a spectacular card that is loaded from top to bottom.”

Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), from Newark, New Jersey, won titles in two divisions in his first five years in the paid ranks. After earning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, he debuted as pro in 2017 and compiled a 12-0 record before toppling Joet Gonzalez to win the vacant WBO featherweight world championship in October 2019. Two years later, he captured the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round TKO over Jamel Herring before adding the WBC strap to his collection with a 12-round decision over Oscar Valdez in April 2022. The 26-year-old southpaw defeated Conceição last September before moving up to lightweight and scoring a sixth-round stoppage win over Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in April.

Stevenson said, “Edwin De Los Santos is a good fighter and he’s going to come to fight. I give him credit for actually taking this fight when so many other so-called ‘fighters’ ran from it. I’m the biggest boogeyman in boxing, and on November 16, the world will see why when I put on another great performance for the fans. Come out to T-Mobile Arena or tune in to ESPN and watch me become a three-division world champion.”

De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) is a hard-hitting southpaw from the Dominican Republic. He debuted in 2018 and notched his first 13 victories in his home country. In his U.S. debut, he suffered a razor-thin split decision loss to William Foster III. He hasn’t lost a fight since. In 2022, he took two unbeaten records, knocking out Luis Acosta with a left hand in the second round and dropping Jose Valenzuela twice before stopping him in round three. In his last fight, De Los Santos dominated Joseph Adorno over 10 rounds in July. This will be De Los Santos’ first shot at a world title.

De Los Santos said, “I want to thank Top Rank, the WBC, ESPN and my promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, for this opportunity to put on a great fight and win my first world championship. I am a proud Dominican warrior who fights for my people! Shakira, I’m going to kick your ass.”

Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) captured his first world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe for the WBO junior featherweight crown in December 2018. He made five defenses before moving up to featherweight, where he beat Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title in October 2020. The 28-year-old defended his belt three times before moving up to 130 pounds. In February, Navarrete became a three-division champion by defeating Liam Wilson via ninth-round TKO for the WBO junior lightweight world title. He solidified his dominance at 130 pounds with an emphatic 12-round decision win against Valdez in August. Navarrete looks to make the second defense of his strap as the possibility of a title opportunity in a fourth weight division emerges on the horizon.

Navarrete said, “I am very happy to be able to defend my title again in 2023. My motivation is to continue achieving great victories for Mexican boxing and to bring glory to this beautiful nation. Conceição is a complicated opponent, but I want to be the best 130-pounder in the world, and for that I must face the best. I have never shied away from any rival. Whoever they put in front of me, ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete will always be ready to battle.”

Conceição (17-2, 8 KOs) made history as Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medalist, turning pro under the Top Rank banner less than three months after the 2016 Rio Games. In September 2021, he earned his first shot at a world title against Valdez, who was then the unbeaten WBC champ at junior lightweight. Though losing a close points verdict, he proved himself as a worthy title contender. Less than five months later, he traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and upset the previously unbeaten Xavier Martinez over 10 rounds. Conceição then had his second opportunity at a world title, an unsuccessful but valiant effort against Stevenson last September. Conceição will now get a third opportunity to call himself a world champion in the pro ranks.

“This is great opportunity in front of a great champion. I needed three Olympics Games to finally capture gold and become Olympic champ, and it looks like history is repeating itself. On November 16, I will fight to the end, and I will not miss this opportunity to become a world champion and once again bring gold to Brazil.”

The ESPN+-streamed undercard will be highlighted by a battle between unbeaten welterweights as well as a host of emerging prospects.

Undefeated standouts Brian Norman Jr. (24-0, 19 KOs) and Quinton Randall (13-0-1, 3 KOs) will collide in a 10-round welterweight battle. Norman has boxing in his blood. His father, Brian Norman Sr., was a light heavyweight contender in a career spanning 30 bouts. The younger Norman is on the path to contender status as well, having bested Rodrigo Coria in January and Jesus Campos in May. Randall tallied a sixth-round TKO victory against Terry Chatwood in June and an eight-round decision versus Willie Jones in July.

In an eight-round junior featherweight duel between two of Las Vegas’ top prospects, Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (9-0, 3 KOs) and Max Ornelas (15-1-1, 5 KOs) will battle for intra-city bragging rights. Diaz returns after beating Luis Fernando Saavedra on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard in May, while Ornelas is coming off a highly controversial split decision loss against Hector Valdez last October.

U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (10-0, 4 KOs) steps up in class in an eight-round middleweight fight against Mexico’s Vladimir Hernandez (14-5, 6 KOs). The 25-year-old had an impressive 2022 in which he scored five victories. He heads into the biggest fight of his career after one-sided wins over Roy Barringer in April and Antonio Todd in July. Hernandez holds wins over Mexican action star Alfredo Angulo and former unified world champion Julian Williams. In August, he handed touted prospect Lorenzo Simpson his first pro defeat.

19-year-old lightweight phenom Abdullah Mason (10-0, 8 KOs) will make his fifth appearance of 2023 in a six-round fight against Texas’ Jose Cardenas (7-1, 5 KOs). Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, is 4-0 with three knockouts this year.

Junior lightweight contender and Las Vegas native Andres Cortes (20-0, 11 KOs) takes on Nicaragua’s Freddy Fonseca (30-6-1, 20 KOs) in a 10-round tilt. Cortes was last seen notching his best victory to date, a seventh-round stoppage win over Xavier Martinez in July.

Kazakh Olympian Ablaikhan Zhussupov (4-0, 3 KOs) returns in a welterweight clash scheduled for eight rounds versus Mark Dawson (11-1-1, 4 KOs).

Ennis-Villa set for July 8 in Atlantic City

Undefeated rising star Jaron “Boots” Ennis will defend his Interim IBF Welterweight Title against the biggest puncher he has faced in all-action contender Roiman Villa headlining action live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, July 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT and will also feature rising Cuban sensation Yoelvis Gómez taking on middleweight contender Marquis Taylor in the 10-round co-main event, plus hard-hitting lightweight knockout artist Edwin De Los Santos faces former amateur superstar Joseph Adorno in the explosive 10-round telecast opener.

Ennis (30-0, 27 KOs) is the latest in the pantheon of outstanding Philadelphia fighters, combining top boxing skills with natural power in both hands to vault up the welterweight division and establish himself as amongst the 147-pound elite. After two appearances on SHOBOX: The New Generation®, the 25-year-old Ennis graduated to headlining his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast in April 2021, as he became the first fighter to stop former world champion Sergey Lipinets. Heading into his most recent bout, Ennis had scored 19 KOs in his last 20 fights, before showing his ability to go the 12-round distance for the first time as he shut out Karen Chukhadzhian on his way to a unanimous decision in January.

“I’m excited to be fighting in the main event and I can’t wait to get in the ring,” said Ennis. “I know Villa is a straightforward fighter and that’s tailor-made for me. I’m going to win because I’ve been putting in the work, day in and day out. All my hard work will show on fight night. I’m ready to shine and make a big statement on July 8. My time is now!”

A native of Rosario, Venezuela, Villa (26-1, 24 KOs) delivered one of 2023’s biggest upsets in January as he eked out a majority decision victory over the previously undefeated top contender Rashidi Ellis. In an exciting toe-to-toe bout, Villa broke through in the 12th and final round as he dropped Ellis twice to clinch the career-changing win. The 30-year-old made a memorable U.S. debut last September as he dropped the previously unbeaten Janelson Bocachica on his way to a unanimous decision. The only blemish on his resume came via a 2019 split-decision in Mexico against Marcos Vilasana.

“I’m very thankful to my team for this life-changing opportunity,” said Villa. “Rashidi Ellis underestimated me before our last fight, so I knew I was going to win and go on to face Ennis. In order to be the best, you have to fight the best fighters. On July 8, I’m going to score another upset and ruin another undefeated record.”

The 25-year-old Gómez (6-0, 5 KOs) made a big statement in his U.S. debut on Christmas Day 2021, blasting out the typically durable Clay Collard in the first round of their showdown. Born in Havana, Cuba and now training in Los Angeles, the southpaw showed power in both hands and relentless finishing skills, immediately making him a rising contender in the talent-laden super welterweight division. He most recently stepped up his competition again, cruising to a shutout unanimous decision against hard-hitting veteran Jorge Cota in May 2022 on SHOWTIME.

“The wait is over and I’m excited to return to the ring,” said Gómez. “I’m very thankful to my whole team for bringing me back on the big stage. I had a great camp in L.A. with my trainer Joe Goossen, who has polished my style. I feel like a hungry lion and I’m ready to eat. My plan is to get the knockout and prove why I am the new boogeyman in the division. Taylor is going down and the fans are going to see me at my best.”

Representing his native Houston, Taylor (14-1-2, 1 KO) is unbeaten since dropping a four-round decision to Ladarius Miller in just his fourth pro fight back in 2015. Since then, the 29-year-old has worked his way up the ladder, including scoring victories over then-unbeaten fighters Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, Marlon Harrington and Jimmy Williams. Taylor has also fought tough contenders Paul Kroll and Luke Santamaria to draws and most recently defeated Oscar Chacin in February of this year.

“This is a great matchup and I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Taylor. “We’re two really good fighters and it will be a great matchup for the fans. Yoelvis Gómez is a young, strong fighter and he’s aggressive with a lot of power. A win should put me in a position to compete for a world title. Everyone is gonna see that I’m a big contender when I win on July 8.”

De Los Santos (15-1, 14 KOs) has scored emphatic knockout victories over previously undefeated opponents in his last two outings to stamp himself as a young fighter to watch. Last September the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic-native stepped in on short notice and dramatically stopped Jose Valenzuela in three rounds to punctuate a firefight that saw both men hit the canvas. Previously, De Los Santos blasted out Luis Acosta in two rounds in March 2022. The 23-year-old power-puncher has ended all but one of his victories by knockout since turning pro in 2018

“I’m planning to show the world that I am an uncrowned world champion by scoring another sensational knockout on July 8,” said De Los Santos, who suffered his only defeat in January 2022 against another undefeated fighter on SHOWTIME. “I want to thank my team for giving me another opportunity to show off my skills and for believing in me after my defeat. I’m more motivated now than ever. I’m too close to my dream for anyone to be able to stop me.”

Adorno (17-2-2, 14 KOs) will look to get back in the win column after losing a narrow decision to 140-pound contender Elvis Rodriguez in February. Prior to that defeat, Adorno had won three-straight bouts, including a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Hugo Alberto Roldan in September 2022. The 24-year-old was born in Union City, N.J., and now resides in Allentown, Pa., and is trained by respected coach Raul “Chino” Rivas. Adorno turned pro in 2016 at the age of 17 after a standout amateur career where he amassed a 178-22 record and beat two-division champion Shakur Stevenson twice in the unpaid ranks.

“For this fight, I’ve had a full training camp, so there are no excuses and I’m ready to perform,” said Adorno. “I expect De Los Santos to come ready and be strong. We know he has power in both hands and we’re gonna be ready for what he’s bringing. My boxing skills will be the difference and get me the victory on July 8.”