Stevenson: ‘I said I’m gonna beat Valdez, Canelo, and Eddy Reynoso’

WBO junior lightweight world champion Shakur Stevenson outboxed and dominated WBC champion Oscar Valdez, via unanimous decision (118-109 2x and 117-110) Saturday evening in from of 10,102 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Stevenson earned the Ring Magazine title and status as the division’s top dog with the win.

It looked easy for Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) as he used the jab early, and Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) could not get his offense going outside of pockets of success in the third round. In the sixth, Stevenson spun Valdez into the ropes and knocked him down with a right hand.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 30: Shakur Stevenson (L) and Oscar Valdez (R) exchange punches during their WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

It was all Stevenson in the second half of the fight who built an insurmountable lead on the cards. Valdez won the 12th round on all three judges’ cards, but it was too little, too late. Stevenson asserted his dominance and is now the 130-pound king.

“This victory means everything,” Stevenson said. “I told ya’ll what I was going to do. I said I’m gonna beat Valdez, Canelo, and Eddy Reynoso, so that was my game plan, beat the whole team, and I feel good about it. Much respect to them, but that was my game plan.

“I want to collect all the belts at 130 and become undisputed. I deserve to be a superstar, so that’s what I gotta do.”

“He did what he had to do to win the fight,” Valdez said. “He’s a great fighter. His speed is there. Power is there. He was just the better fighter tonight. Overall, a great fighter.”

Stevenson had no issues with Valdez. He just wins rounds and takes no punishment. Sound familiar? That’s what the great Floyd Mayweather did throughout his career. Stevenson is exceptional, and at this point, there are not many fighters you would favor against him.

Davis Knocks out Sanchez

The future of the lightweight division, Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis, battered Mexican veteran Esteban Sanchez (18-2, 8 KOs) en route to sixth-round TKO in the co-feature. Sanchez provided some resistance, but Davis (5-0, 4 KOs) wore down his foe round by round. He landed 56.8 percent of his power shots, including 34 of 53 in the sixth round.

Davis said, “He’s a great fighter, and I didn’t realize that until the first round. I said, ‘Whoa, he can fight!’ I knew I had to snap into a different Keyshawn. He’s a great fighter, a real respectful fighter. Hat’s off to Esteban Sanchez. Thank you for this opportunity. We should see a lot of Esteban Sanchez in the future.

“I just kept staying steady, staying with my rhythm. My coach, {Brian McIntyre}, kept telling me to go the body. I was trying to stab him a lot in the rounds, and honestly, I was just picking up round after round. I loved this fight because it challenged me. I felt challenged in the ring. I was happy I got a great performance and the stoppage.”

Ali Walsh Destroys Ibarra

The youngster with the famous last name, middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh, ignited the MGM Grand with a brutal first-round knockout over Alejandro Ibarra (7-2, 2 KOs). Ali Walsh (5-0, 4 KOs), the grandson of The Greatest, ended matters with a sweeping right hand.

Ali Walsh said, “I was setting him up with the right hand. I noticed his left hand was going down when he threw the jab. I was trying to counter it, and that’s what I did. I wish the best for him and his team. He’s a true warrior. But I just waited for that setup, and I saw it and I took advantage.”

Lightweight: Raymond Muratalla (14-0, 12 KOs) KO 3 Jeremy Hill (16-3, 11 KOs), 2:23. Enter the danger zone. “Danger” Muratalla became the first man to stop New Orleans native Hill, finishing the fight with a crunching right hand.

Junior Lightweight: Andres Cortes (17-0, 10 KOs) KO 6 Alexis del Bosque (18-6-1, 9 KOs). Cortes, a Las Vegas, native, put on a show for the hometown fans, knocking down Cortes twice in a brutal power punching display. A three-punch combination dropped del Bosque in the sixth. After rising to his feet gingerly, the fight was halted.

Middleweight: Troy Isley (5-0, 3 KOs) TKO 2 Anthony Hannah (3-3, 2 KOs). U.S. Olympian Isley savaged Hannah with body blows, putting his overmatched foe down for the count with a right hand to the gut. Earlier in the second, he knocked down Hannah with a left hook to the body.

Lightweight: Abdullah Mason (2-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Luciano Ramos (1-3), 2:32. The 18-year-old Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, showed why he is one of the sport’s young prodigies with a first-round blitzing of Argentina’s Ramos. Referee Tony Weeks stopped the carnage after an assortment of lefts and rights left Ramos defenseless.

Welterweight: Jaylan Phillips (1-2-1, 1 KO) DRAW 4 Antoine Cobb (1-0-1, 1 KO). Scores: 39-37 Phillips and 38-38 2x. Phillips spoiled the spotless record of Cobb with a determined effort, sweeping the last the two rounds on the judges’ cards to earn a draw.

Sharp predicts winner of Valdez-Stevenson

Archie Sharp says he has the game-plan to cause Shakur Stevenson problems and believes the American is worried about fighting him.

Sharp is backing Stevenson to become unified super-featherweight champion this weekend when he faces Oscar Valdez in Las Vegas – and ‘Sharpshooter’ wants to be his next opponent.

Stevenson is the WBO title holder and Sharp has been breathing down his neck, as the No1 ranked contender with the sanctioning body, since November.

The Essex fighter admits he faces a “crucial” period in his career to turn his lofty rating with the WBO into the position of mandatory challenger for Stevenson.

“A lot of people are running away from Stevenson and for good reason, he’s a very good fighter and people are saying he’s the next big thing, but everyone who has fought him has come in with the same game-plan,” said the unbeaten Sharp.

“He is wary of me because I am so unorthodox and that would cause him problems.  Other people are running away from him but I’m heading directly at him – I want that fight.

“But I need to get myself into the mandatory position with the WBO and so I have to be in good fights.  If I have to wait for Stevenson, then get me someone who is at world level.

“This is a crucial time for me because I need to keep my number one ranking with the WBO and I can’t afford to lose that spot.”

Sharp says WBC champion Valdez runs the risk of playing straight into Stevenson’s hands on Saturday night.

“I’m interested to see how Stevenson deals with the pressure if that’s the way Valdez fights,” added Sharp.

“He knows he can’t rush Stevenson because he is such a good counter-puncher.  I believe Stevenson will win but it is going to be so interesting if Valdez turns it into a dog fight.

“I’m a completely different fighter to Valdez so my tactics against Stevenson wouldn’t be to do that and Valdez must know that if you stand still in front of him, he will pick you off.”

Sharp has also mentioned the possibility of taking on fellow Probellum fighter O’Shaquie Foster, who won a WBC eliminator in Dubai, last month.

Shakur Stevenson: ‘I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world’

Two world title belts and a combined record of 47-0. The battle for junior lightweight supremacy, is almost here. WBC champion Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) will battle WBO king Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) this Saturday, April 30, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
 
The bitter rivals will compete to become the division’s first unified champion since 2005, and the winner will become the first Ring Magazine junior lightweight champion since Manny Pacquiao in 2008. Valdez, from Nogales, Mexico, is a two-division world champion who defended his WBO featherweight crown on the same night Stevenson turned pro in April 2017. Stevenson, also a two-division king, is coming off a title-winning knockout victory over Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring.
 
Valdez-Stevenson, an eight-round lightweight co-feature between U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis and Esteban Sanchez, and the four-round Nico Ali Walsh-Alejandro Ibarra middleweight special attraction will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
 
Four days from fight night, this is what Valdez and Stevenson had to say.

Shakur Stevenson:


 
“We are back in Las Vegas for training camp, and everything is going great. My grandfather and my team have me looking and feeling super sharp, and everyone is going to see the results of all this hard work on April 30.”
 
Getting the fight against Valdez
 
“This fight is three years in the making. Everyone knows that I’ve wanted to fight Oscar Valdez since 2019 when he vacated his belt at 126 instead of fighting me. He avoided me for as long as he could, but now is the perfect time for this fight and the fans are in for a show when we finally step into the ring.”
 
Unifying Titles
 
“I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world, and I will prove it when I beat Oscar Valdez and become unified champion. I won’t stop there, though. I want to become an undisputed champion at 130, and beating Oscar Valdez is the next step.”

 
Oscar Valdez:


 
“Even though I had a very tough challenge against Miguel Berchelt, this is the toughest and biggest fight of my career because Shakur has been talking for quite some time. Here we go again. The odds are against me, and everyone thinks that he will walk all over me, but just like against Berchelt, I will use that as motivation. I know I have a tough fight in front of me, but this is not something that I haven’t done before. I have worked very hard in the gym, and as always, I’m going to give it my best and leave it all in the ring. Like we say in Mexico, I’m willing to die on the line just to win. That’s all that matters to me.” 
 
“He is the type of fighter that talks a lot and is always running his mouth on social media, but I’m not like that. I let my fists do the talking. He is the type of fighter that is not willing to go to war. I’m the type of fighter that always wants to give the fans what they want. Since he is not willing to give the fans what they want, this will be more of a chess match. It will be a more technical fight. The smartest fighter inside the ring will win. For this kind of challenge, I prepared myself very well physically, but more importantly mentally.”
 
“Ever since I was a kid, I have dreamed of being the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It just sounds beautiful. Sounds like you made it. This is the major leagues. I’m very excited. I’m enjoying every moment. I’m enjoying this journey of greatness. When I win this fight, I will be one step closer to being on the pound-for-pound list, and more importantly, I will be a step closer to accomplishing my dream of being considered one of the best fighters in Mexican boxing history. I want my name to be among all these great Mexican fighters, like Morales, Barrera, Marquez, and Chavez. For that to happen, I need to win this fight.”

Photo/Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Nico Ali Walsh added to Valdez-Stevenson undercard

Las Vegas native Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest,” hopes to make a statement for the hometown fans. Ali Walsh will fight Denver’s Alejandro Ibarra in a four-round middleweight attraction Saturday, April 30, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Ali Walsh-Ibarra will open the televised broadcast featuring the world junior lightweight title unification showdown between WBC champion Oscar Valdez and WBO king Shakur Stevenson.
 
Valdez-Stevenson, an eight-round lightweight co-feature between U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis and Esteban Sanchez, and Ali Walsh-Ibarra will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Ali Walsh said, “Las Vegas is home, and the MGM Grand Garden Arena has hosted so many legendary fights. This is a dream come true. I’ve gotten to know Oscar and Shakur, and it’s an honor to fight on their card. I’m focused on my fight, as Ibarra is a capable veteran. He wants to be the guy to knock off Muhammad Ali’s grandson. I won’t let that happen, especially in front of my family and friends.”

Ali Walsh (4-0, 3 KOs) graduated from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School and is currently a student at UNLV, where he is on track to graduate later this month with a degree in business entrepreneurship. He turned pro last August with a headline-grabbing first-round knockout. Ali Walsh fought twice more in 2021, including a four-round decision over Reyes Sanchez at Madison Square Garden, the site of many of his grandfather’s most memorable ring battles. Ali Walsh last fought in January in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he knocked out Jeremiah Yaegar in two rounds. He now turns to Ibarra (7-1, 2 KOs), a 28-year-old who has won four straight since the lone loss on his ledger.

Keyshawn Davis to battle Esteban Sánchez on Valdez-Stevenson undercard

 Lightweight Keyshawn Davis, the 23-year-old Olympic silver medal superstar from Norfolk, Virginia, is coming to Las Vegas on Pro Football Draft weekend to show why he should be the boxing world’s top draft pick. Davis will battle Mexican veteran Esteban Sánchez in an eight-rounder Saturday, April 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
 
Davis-Sanchez will be the co-feature to the junior lightweight title unification showdown between WBC champion Oscar Valdez and WBO king Shakur Stevenson.
 
Valdez-Stevenson and Davis-Sánchez will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will be announced shortly.
 
“Keyshawn Davis was the most sought-after free agent coming out of the Tokyo Olympics, and he is among the sport’s most gifted fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The main event features two of the world’s best fighters in Valdez and Stevenson, and I have little doubt that Keyshawn is on his way to becoming a pound-for-pound great.”
 
Davis said, “Fighting in Las Vegas at MGM Grand on Pro Football Draft weekend… I was born for this stage. I am going to put on another flawless performance and then watch from ringside as my brother, Shakur, puts on a show as well. The stars will be out, and they are going to see something special.”
 
Davis (4-0, 3 KOs) was supposed to fight Sanchez on March 19 in New York, but he contracted a non-COVID-related virus. He knocked out Jose Zaragoza in two brutal rounds in his Top Rank on ESPN debut last December. Davis made an impression against Zaragoza, folding his overmatched foe with a left hook to the body. His slightly delayed return comes against Sánchez (18-1, 8 KOs) a native of Ensenada, Mexico, who won a pair of fights in 2021 following his only career loss.

Stevenson on bout with Valdez: ‘I have been chasing this fight for nearly three years’

WBC champion Oscar Valdez hopes to become a Mexican boxing legend while WBO king Shakur Stevenson is eyeing the mythical pound-for-pound rankings. On Saturday, April 30, Valdez and Stevenson, the world’s two best junior lightweights, will meet in a title unification matchup for the ages at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Stevenson and Valdez are vying to become the first unified junior lightweight champion since Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera in 2005.

Stevenson-Valdez, along with additional to be announced fight action, will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, ticket information will be announced shortly.

“Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson are the world’s best junior lightweights. The fans and the fighters demanded this matchup, and we are proud to deliver it live on ESPN for no extra charge,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The winner becomes a superstar, and I know both men will rise to challenge.”

Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs), the fighting pride of Nogales, Mexico, is closing in on an undefeated decade as a pro after Olympic appearances in 2008 and 2012. He is 9-0 in world title fights and has solidified his standing as one of Mexico’s consummate ring warriors. His 2017 featherweight title defenses against Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania were Fight of the Year contenders. In March 2018, he defeated an over-the-weight Scott Quigg despite fighting with a broken jaw for seven rounds. Valdez is 4-0 since moving up to junior lightweight, winning the WBC title with the 2021 Knockout of the Year over Miguel Berchelt. Last September, he made his first defense of that title, coming on strong in the later rounds to edge Robson Conceição by unanimous decision.

“I want to make it clear that I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world,” Valdez said. “We know Shakur Stevenson is very good at fighting, but he’s even better at social media. I’ll let my fists speak for themselves.”

Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs), the pound-for-pound talent from Newark, New Jersey, won the vacant WBO featherweight world title against Joet Gonzalez in 2019 after Valdez vacated the title to campaign at junior lightweight. Stevenson moved up in weight after dominating Gonzalez, winning three fights before challenging WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring last October in Atlanta. Stevenson stopped Herring in the 10th round to become a two-weight world champion.

As the toast of the U.S. amateur boxing scene, Stevenson was pegged for superstardom ever since making his pro debut in April 2017. Through 17 pro bouts, he’s flashed a defensive riddle that has thus far been impossible for opponents to solve. It is a battle of youth versus hardened experience, as Valdez won his first world title in July 2016, four weeks before Stevenson earned a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.

Stevenson said, “I have been chasing this fight for nearly three years since we were both at featherweight. On April 30, I’m going to show him and the world why he ducked me all this time. I’m the best young fighter in the world, and I will become unified champion.”

Stevenson: ‘Oscar(Valdez) can’t keep ducking’

Shakur Stevenson(17-0, 9 KOs) had the biggest test of his young career on Saturday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta when he faced WBO 130-pound champion Jamel Herring, and it turned out to be an easy night for the Newark, NJ native.

Stevenson dominated Herring from start to finish and would get the victory by 10th-round TKO to win the WBO junior lightweight world title and become a two-weight world champion. He was brutalizing Herring, and when referee Mark Nelson stopped the fight, Stevenson was pitching a shutout on two of the three cards.

According to the 24-year-old Stevenson, after the fifth round, he started targeting a cut on Herring’s eye.

“Around the fifth round, I was landing everything, and then he started trying to come on,” Stevenson said. “I smelled blood. I saw he was bleeding and was like, ‘Okay, I have to attack the cut. I was trying to touch the cut to make the doctor try and stop it.”

The 35-year-old Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) was game on Saturday night, but he could not slow down Stevenson. 

“He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good,” Herring said. “No excuses. He was just the better man tonight.”

Now, Stevenson wants more belts. As soon as the fight ended, the silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics made it clear who he wanted next, and that’s WBC 130-pound champion, Oscar Valdez.

“There’s only one fight left at the end of the day,’ he said. “It’s the biggest fight at the end of the day. Oscar can’t keep ducking. It’s time for him to fight. There’s nothing else to look forward to. The 130-pound division needs to unify. Let’s get it!”

The fight against Valdez should be next for Stevenson, and hopefully, Bob Arum and Top Rank can make that fight happen. However, if you’re Valdez, you might be a little reluctant to get in the ring with Stevenson after what you saw tonight. 

Stevenson has all the goods and appears to be the best at 130.

Ali Walsh has done it again:

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Nico Ali Walsh (2-0, 2 KOs) had to go a little longer than his one-round August pro debut, but the grandson of “The Greatest” was dominant in knocking out James Westley II (1-1) in the third round of a middleweight special attraction. Ali Walsh ate a couple hard right hands in the first round, and he then knocked down Westley with a straight right hand shortly before the bell sounded to end the second. Westley’s corner stopped the fight following a knockdown early in the third round.

“I’m happy that my pro debut went the way it did,” he said. “There’s stuff, of course, I have to work on.

“I know the crowd got excited seeing him land a punch, but I did not feel the punch. Maybe it was my energy, my adrenaline, but my hat’s off to him and his team. Mutual respect both ways, and it was a very good fight.

“I’m blessed that I’m following the legacy of my grandfather. I think everyone who loves my grandfather who’s watching me… I love this legacy that I’m continuing.”

Holyfield shines:

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Atlanta native Evan Holyfield (8-0, 6 KOs) — following in the footstep of his famous father— knocked out Charles Stanford (6-4, 3 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled six-round junior middleweight contest. Holyfield connected with a looping left hook that staggered Stanford. After a right hand for good measure, Stanford was on the deck and in no position to continue.

Valdez: ‘We all want the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring’

It’s been a rough few weeks for WBC 130-pound champion Oscar Valdez(30-0, 23 KOs), as it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned substance(phentermine).

Despite testing positive, Valdez was still able to fight Robson Conceicao(16-1, 8 KOs) on Friday night as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission and the WBC let the fight go on.

Ultimately, Valdez would defeat Conceicao by unanimous decision (115-112 2x and 117-110) in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,545 at Casino Del Sol in Tuscon, Arizona, to retain his title.

Conceicao, who was using his jab effectively, throwing combinations and consistently landing against Valdez, dominated the early part of the fight, but to Valdez’s credit, he battled hard in the second half of the fight, which helped him get the victory. 

One judge had Valdez winning the final seven rounds, while another had Valdez winning six of the final seven.

Valdez was aided by the referee, who deducted a point from Conceicao for a rabbit punch that was more like a tap in the ninth round. The point deduction was questionable at best.

This was Valdez’s first defense of his title after stopping MigueL Berchelt in February, and he survived.

Conceicao did not like the decision, and according to Valdez, he was disrespectful after the fight.

“He’s(Conceicao) over here yelling in my face,” Valdez said. “We’re grown men. Don’t be yelling in my face. He might be upset. Of course, you want to be a world champion, but don’t point at me, don’t be yelling in my face. I’ve been through enough this week, man,” Valdez said. “It makes the fight complicated when someone is trying to run the whole fight. I’m trying to put on a good show for my fans, give the fans what they want, which is a good fight. If he wants to run, you can’t win a fight running like that.”

Canceicao added: “This is boxing. I cannot go with his game. I played my game. Look at his face and look at my face. I have nothing on my face. Oscar’s is all fu—- up. I won this fight.”

After this win, Valdez has his sights set on the winner of the October 23 bout between WBO champion Jamel Herring and unbeaten star Shakur Stevenson.

“We all want the winner of Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring,” Valdez said. “Let’s do it.”

Look, Valdez probably should not have been fighting on Friday night and probably should have been stripped of his title. However, this is boxing, so at times, the sport can be a mess. Fortunately, for all parties involved, no one was seriously hurt.

(Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Oscar Valdez-Robson Conceição set for 9/10 in Arizona

 WBC super featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez authored a title-winning knockout for the ages in February over Miguel Berchelt. For his encore — and the first defense of his title — the undefeated two-time Mexican Olympian will make his desert homecoming.

Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) will look to make it 30 for 30 against undefeated 2016 Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição on Friday, Sept. 10 from the AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.

A native of Nogales, Mexico, Valdez moved to Tucson as a young child and spent his elementary school years there before returning to Mexico.

In the 10-round co-feature, undefeated junior lightweight star Gabriel Flores Jr., from Stockton, California, will fight Mexican veteran Luis Alberto Lopez. Valdez-Conceição and Flores Jr.-Lopez will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“Oscar Valdez is coming off a career-best performance and wants to put on a spectacular showing in front of the great Tucson fans,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Conceição has been waiting for this shot ever since he turned pro, and having promoted him for his entire career, I know he’ll be at his very best. We have a great co-feature, as the young Flores wants to prove he is a contender to watch, and he can do that by beating a tough Mexican in Luis Alberto Lopez.”

Valdez cemented his status as one of the faces of Mexican boxing with his 10th-round knockout over longtime champion Berchelt. He is 8-0 in world title fights, including six defenses of the WBO featherweight world title he won in July 2016. Valdez and Conceição fought as amateurs in the gold medal match of the 2009 Pan American Games, with Conceição prevailing by a single point. Valdez turned pro nearly four years before Conceição (16-0, 8 KOs), who made history as the first Brazilian boxer to capture Olympic gold. A native of Bahia, Conceição made his pro debut in November 2016 on the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas undercard and knocked out four of his first five foes. Last October, he survived an early knockdown to edge Louie Coria by unanimous decision. He last fought April 10 in Tulsa and knocked out Jesus Antonio Ahumada in the seventh round.

“I am very excited to fight in my second home, Tucson, Arizona, where I will have my first defense of the WBC super featherweight world title,” Valdez said. “It motivates me to know that I will defend the title in front of my friends and my family, and I will be willing to put it on the line as in all my fights. I’m coming to give a great show to my people, and I can’t wait to see you on Sept. 10.”

Conceição said, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this opportunity, and that’s why I’m training with great determination. I will represent my family and Brazil. I already won a gold medal for my country and now I will bring home a world title. With great determination, I will deliver a great performance. It will be a true spectacle!”

Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) made history in 2017 when, at 16 years old, he became the youngest fighter ever to sign a promotional contract with Top Rank. He went 3-0 in 2020, including a shutout decision over Matt Conway on the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II undercard. Flores performed three times inside the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, punctuated by a sixth-round stoppage over former world title challenger Jayson Velez in February. Lopez (22-2, 12 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, has won five straight bouts since a 2019 decision loss to Ruben Villa. He notched his signature win last July with a split decision over Andy Vences.

“This is the next step in my journey towards a world title, and I will convincingly defeat Lopez,” Flores said. “I’m going to prove once again that I’m ready for the next level.”

Lopez said, “I appreciate matchmaker Brad Goodman and Top Rank for the opportunity to fight Gabriel Flores Jr. I know he’ll be prepared to give everything on Sept. 10, but so am I, and I guarantee nothing but my very best. I’m a man of few words, and I’ll let my actions do the talking inside the ring.”

The undercard, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+, will feature Japan’s undefeated WBO flyweight world champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16 KOs) defending his title against Puerto Rican former world champion Angel “Tito” Acosta (22-2, 21 KOs). Nakatani, who has never fought outside of Japan, knocked out Filipino contender Giemel Magramo in eight rounds last November to win the vacant world title. A former Japanese flyweight champion, Nakatani has won four straight bouts by stoppage. Acosta, who made three successful defenses of the WBO light flyweight crown, has won two fights since a debated 12th-round stoppage at the hands of Elwin Soto. Acosta was leading on all three scorecards when he was stopped on his feet early in the round.

The ESPN+ undercard will also see undefeated Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas (9-0, 7 KOs) in a six-round junior middleweight bout against an opponent to be named and lightweight sensation Raymond Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

Also scheduled to appear in eight-round bouts: 2016 Mexican Olympian and junior welterweight prospect Lindolfo Delgado (12-0, 11 KOs), rising junior lightweight René Telléz Girón (15-1, 9 KOs) and Mexican junior welterweight knockout artist Omar Aguilar (21-0, 20 KOs).

Valdez stops Berchlet to claim WBC 130-pound title

Oscar Valdez and Miguel Berchelt promised an all-Mexican clash for the ages. They delivered. Valdez knocked out Berchelt with a left hook at the end of the 10th round to win the WBC super featherweight world title from Berchelt, who was making his seventh title defense. 

The hook crumpled Berchelt, who fell face-first to the canvas, and referee Russell Mora immediately waved off the fight.

Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) was badly hurt and knocked down in the fourth, but steadied himself and continued to pressure Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs) throughout the middle rounds. Valdez turned the tide once again in the ninth with a knockdown,  and with the 10th round in hand,  he lowered the boom.

Valdez said, “There’s nothing better in life than proving people wrong. I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don’t’ let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.
 
“I want to take this belt home, and I’m happy for that. Any champion out there… I heard Shakur Stevenson wants to fight. Let’s do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.”

Flores Dominates Velez in Co-Feature

It’s time to crown Stockton’s King. Gabriel Flores Jr., the junior lightweight sensation from Stockton, California, made an emphatic statement, knocking out former world title challenger Jayson Velez in the sixth round. Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) knocked down Velez twice in the sixth, punctuating the victory with a left hook.

Flores (20-0, 7 KOs) became only the second man to stop Velez (29-8-1, 20 KOs), who was knocked out in 10 rounds by Oscar Valdez last July.


Flores said, “I could’ve done it earlier. I was playing with my food. {Trainer Gabriel Flores Sr.} told me I just gotta press it. Nothing was really going on those first five rounds, to be honest. I was just feeling him out. 

“I would love to get the winner of Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton. I’d love that. I’m going to keep on working, and my performances are going to get better and better.”

In undercard bouts:

Middleweight: Esquiva Falcao (28-0, 20 KOs) TKO4 Artur Akavov (20-4, 9 KOs). Falcao, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil, picked up the most significant win of his career with a one-sided drubbing of two-time middleweight world title challenger Akavov. After a rough opening round, Falcao was in command until Akavov’s corner stopped the fight following the fourth round. All three judges had Falcao ahead 39-37 at the time of the stoppage.

Jr. Welterweight: Elvis Rodriguez (11-0-1, 10 KOs) UD 8 Luis Alberto Veron (18-3-2, 9 KOs). Scores: 79-73 2x and 78-74. Rodriguez made his name as an explosive puncher, but showed his maturity and boxing acumen against Veron, a former WBO Latino belt-holder who has never been stopped as a pro. Rodriguez stunned Veron several times with right hooks, but the Argentine veteran was able to withstand the onslaught.

Rodriguez said, “This was my first scheduled eight-round fight, and I actually think I got a lot of good experience. Each fight, you acquire something different, and for this fight, I think the experience of going the rounds actually helped me out.
 
“It’s a great experience going the full eight rounds. It’s back to the gym to work on several things, specifically I know I needed to let my hands go a little more. When I did do that, I was able to hurt him. But in the end, I think it was a great experience. He’s a natural welterweight. He’s never been stopped, so I knew it would be a tough challenge, but you know I will go back to the gym and work harder to continue to grow in this sport.”

Welterweight: Xander Zayas (7-0, 1KO) UD 6 James Martin (6-2, 0 KOs). Scores: 60-54 3x. The 18-year-old Zayas went past the first round for the first time in nearly a year, outboxing the Philadelphia native Martin en route to the shutout victory.

Zayas said, “As a young fighter, you need these types of fights. I haven’t been out of the first round in nearly a year, so for me to get six round in, that was important.”

Middleweight: Javier Martinez (3-0, 1 KO) TKO 1 Billy Wagner (3-2, 1 KO), 1:51. Martinez, a southpaw from Milwaukee, unloaded on Wagner, stunning the Montana native early in the first round with a right hook. The one-way traffic was stopped shortly thereafter, and Martinez added a ‘1’ to the knockout column.

Jr. Welterweight: Omar Rosario (3-0, 1 KO) KO 2 Uriel Villanueva (1-1), 2:38. Former Puerto Rican amateur superstar Rosario notched the first stoppage win of his career, as two knockdowns in the second round prompted referee Robert Hoyle to stop the fight.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images