Stevenson: ‘Me and Devin {Haney}, we could lock-in’

Former unified junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson(WBC/WBO) dominated the 130-pound division, but all good things must come to an end. While Stevenson has never lost to an opponent, he did lose to the scale as he could not make 130 pounds during Thursday’s weigh-in, and the titles were vacated.

However, the fight went on, and in front of a record crowd of 10,107 partisan fans, the largest crowd ever to attend a boxing event at Prudential Center, Stevenson dropped and dominated Robson Conceição for 12 rounds and won by unanimous decision. 

The Newark native won by scores of 117-109(2x) and 118-108.

Stevenson(19-0, 9 KOs) made it his business to go to the body, and he landed a career-high 75 body shots, including a body shot knockdown in the fourth. Overall, Stevenson landed a career-high 199 punches. It was an easy night for the former unified champion. He did lose a point in the ninth round for throwing down Conceicao(17-2, 8 KOs), which really was the only drama Stevenson dealt with all night, but now it’s time for bigger and better as he is going up to 135 pounds. 

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 23: Robson Conceição (L) and Shakur Stevenson (R) exchange punches during their WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship fight at Prudential Center on September 23, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After the fight, Stevenson, who was 1.6 pounds overweight, discussed how hard it was for him to make weight this week. 

“I had a long week,” he said. “I killed myself to make weight. All I want to do is come in here and perform. I did everything I could to do that,” Stevenson said. “I’m just a dominating individual. With me versus him, the ref, I did everything I could to try and beat {Conceicao} up as much as I could. He held me the whole night, but I did everything I could.”

Two things are clear, Stevenson is definitely a draw in Newark, and he will be tough to beat for anybody at 135.

“We gotta fight the champ,’ he said. “Me and Devin {Haney}, we could lock-in. After he fights Kambosos, let’s get it on! ‘ll fight (Vasiliy) Lomachenko, too!” 

Those fights can be made, especially Loma, who returns on October 29 against Jamaine Ortiz. Regarding the king of the 135-pound division, Haney, he’s a bigger lightweight, so if he beats Kambosos, who knows how long he’ll stay at 135, but if it happens, it’s a great fight. 

Again, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating Stevenson at this point. He just knows how to win rounds, but those guys he called out won’t be easy nights.

Shakur Stevenson: ‘I’m really focused on putting in the work on Friday night’

Shakur Stevenson is two days away from the ultimate homecoming. The WBC/WBO/Ring Magazine junior lightweight king will defend his belts Friday evening against Robson Conceição (17-1, 8 KOs) at Prudential Center. Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is a Newark native who is fighting at home as a world champion for the first time.

Before Stevenson and Conceição took the mic, the Mayor’s Office of the City of Newark presented Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) with a proclamation declaring September 21, 2022, as Shakur Stevenson Day in the city. That was followed up by special plaque from Quitman Street School students, Stevenson attended Quitman Street for elementary school, and the building sits less than a mile from Prudential Center.

In the eight-round lightweight co-feature, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (5-0, 4 KOs) steps up in class against Omar Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs).

At Wednesday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Shakur Stevenson

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

“Honestly, I’m just ready to fight. I’m not really focused on the pressure. I don’t care about all that. I’m really focused on putting in the work on Friday night. I’m just ready to fight at the end of the day. All I can think about is fighting and performing. That’s everything that’s on my mind.”

“He’s a good fighter. But I think he lost against Valdez. If you left it in the judges’ hands, then you lost. I fought Valdez, and I beat the s*** out of him. I don’t have any excuses. He’s talking about having COVID or something before his last fight. All I hear are excuses. I’m ready to fight. Tell him to not have any excuses on Friday night. I’m ready to beat him up.”

“I never leave it in the hands of the judges. I go in there and take everything that I want.”

Robson Conceição

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

“It was very touching for me to be welcomed by my community here. Yes, I understand that Shakur is a native, but I also feel right at home here.”

“I’m very motivated. I’ve trained all my life for this moment. The world was able to see that I was better than Oscar Valdez. I should have won. So, he’s not really defending two titles because one should have been mine. I’m a champion without a crown, and I’m ready for Friday night.”

“Shakur is someone that I really respect. He’s a great athlete. I can tell that he’s young, probably overly excited and speaks a little too much. This coming Friday, there will only be one champ, and that champ is me.”

Keyshawn Davis

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

“Keyshawn is going to be Keyshawn and he’s going to have fun in there. The talent that Shakur and I have is extraordinary. We both get to show our talent back to back. Just like I said last time in Las Vegas when I fought alongside him, the fans are going to be the winners at the end of the night. And that’s definitely what happened. We’re definitely looking forward to just giving the fans what they came out and paid for.”

“Is he my toughest opponent yet? I don’t know. I’m going to wait and see. I’m hoping that it’s a great fight for me so that I can keep learning and developing. I’m more than prepared for this fight both mentally and physically.”

Omar Tienda

“I’m happy to be in the co-feature of an event of his caliber. I’m excited and happy to be able to come here and do my job. What do we bring that may be different? Well, obviously experience, hard work and strength. We will also bring big surprises for the entire night.”

“You all know why I have ‘The Heroe’ as my nickname. I worked 13 years in emergency rescue, doing different kinds of rescues internationally. Not only in 2008, but in 2010, 2014 and the last one in 2016. They have been very important rescues in which lives are at risk, where we know that we have to go in there and work and where we don’t know if we’ll be returning to see our families.”

“So, for me, this is about working, enjoyment and happiness. We’ve come to score the upset and the name of ‘The Heroe’ will ring once more.”

Bruce Carrington

“Being on Top Rank boxing is the best move that I’ve ever made. I’m happy to be a part of this team. The sky is the limit, and I’m ready to continue proving myself. I just want to step into the ring and showcase my talent so that everybody can see what I’m capable of doing. Top Rank is the place to be for you to be able to showcase that.”

Jahi Tucker

“I just want to thank God for the opportunity to be here. This is a testament to all the hard work we’ve done, and this Friday we’re going to show all the hard work. This means the world to me.”

Photos: Stevenson, Conceição interacting with fans in Newark

WBC/WBO/Ring Magazine junior lightweight world champion Shakur Stevenson has never fought at home as a world champion. The six letters on the front of his trunks — Newark — represents his past and immediate future.

Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, will defend his belts against Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição (17-1, 8 KOs) on Friday evening at Prudential Center. He has fought at Prudential Center once before. In July 2019, he stopped Alberto Guevara in his last fight before winning the WBO featherweight world title that October.

A world championship homecoming, though, feels a little different. Stevenson kicked off fight week Tuesday afternoon at Boylan Street Recreation Center, where he met several dozen local children and was greeted by Councilwoman LaMonica McIver and other politicians from Newark and the surrounding areas. Stevenson trained at Boylan as a youngster and always makes a point to return to his roots.

Photos/Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images:

Earlier that day, Conceição received a hero’s welcome at Mantena Global Care, a Newark-based nonprofit that serves the Latino community in the city. Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood is home to one of the nation’s largest Brazilian populations. Many local dignitaries, including East Ward Council Member Michael J. Silva, were on hand to support Conceição.

“I knew that Newark had a large Brazilian population, but I am humbled by the reception I have received today,” Conceição said. “I fight for my country, and I will go out there Friday night to win these titles for my people.”

Keyshawn Davis to battle Omar Tienda on Stevenson-Conceição card

Norfolk’s Olympic silver medal star, Keyshawn Davis, now has an opponent for his long-awaited ring return. Davis, who shined for Team USA last summer in Tokyo, will fight Mexican veteran Omar Tienda in an eight-round lightweight showdown Friday, Sept. 23, at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Davis-Tienda will be the co-feature to WBC/WBO junior lightweight world champion Shakur Stevenson’s hometown title defense against Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceição.

Stevenson-Conceição and Davis-Tienda will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT— features an eight-round junior lightweight bout between unbeaten prospect Henry “Moncho” Lebron and Andy “El Tiburon” Vences.

Davis (5-0, 4 KOs) is back following April’s sixth-round TKO over Esteban Sanchez on the Oscar Valdez-Stevenson card. His proposed July bout against Jair Valtierra was postponed, but with a clean bill of health, Davis seeks to make waves once again before Stevenson takes center stage. Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs), from Guadalupe, Mexico, has won seven straight fights — all by knockout — since a 2017 decision loss to Dennis Galarza. His only stoppage defeat came in his seventh pro fight back in 2013.

Lebron (16-0, 10 KOs), from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, ranks among his island nation’s top prospects, but he’s looking to notch a signature victory. In his last outing, he won a clear eight-round unanimous decision over Luis Lebron (no relation). Vences (23-3-1, 12 KOs) is a 10-year pro from San Jose, California, who has battled a slew of top-rated fighters. His July 2020 split decision defeat to Luis Alberto Lopez — now the IBF No. 1 featherweight contender — ranked among the year’s best action fights. He makes his comeback little more than one year removed from a majority decision loss to former world title challenger Jono Carroll.

In other undercard action, Shakur Stevenson protégé Antoine Cobb (1-0-1, 1 KO) will fight an immediate rematch against Jaylan Phillips (1-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at welterweight. Cobb and Phillips fought to a crowd-pleasing draw April 30 on the Valdez-Stevenson undercard.

The undercard is also scheduled to include the following bouts:

Jahi Tucker (8-0, 5 KOs) vs. Jose Luis Sanchez (11-2-1, 4 KOs), 8 rounds, welterweight
 
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Jose Argel (9-4, 3 KOs), 6 rounds, featherweight
 
Armani Almestica (6-0, 6 KOs) vs. Omar Urieta (3-1-1, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, lightweight
 
Pablo Valdez (6-0, 5 KOs) vs. Noe Alejandro Lopez (11-5-1, 4 KOs), 6 rounds, welterweight
 
Orlando Gonzalez (18-1, 11 KOs) vs. Misael Lopez (13-1, 5 KOs), 8 rounds, featherweight
 
Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (6-0, 2 KOs) vs. Eduardo Diogo (3-0, 2 KOs), 6 rounds, junior featherweight

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

Shakur Stevenson is coming home!

Newark native and unified 130-pound champion(WBC/WBO) Shakur Stevenson is going home, but this time, he’s a champion. He will defend his titles on September 23 against Robson Conceição at Prudential Center in Newark.

The 25-year-old last fought at the Prudential Center in 2019 when he stopped Alberto Guevara.

The homecoming festivities kicked off Monday with a press conference at Prudential Center, and Stevenson was treated to a local hero’s welcome. Special guests included Seton Hall Men’s Basketball Coach Shaheen Holloway, Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton, and Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark.

Stevenson-Conceição and the return of lightweight U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard action will stream on ESPN+ and includes welterweight Jahi Tucker, featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington, and junior bantamweight Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz.

Here is what the fighters had to say at the press conference.

Shakur Stevenson:

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

“For all the kids, you’ve got to keep trying to be great. Keep striving to be better. I want to be an example for you all. I want to make sure that I do my part. I’m going to come in shape and ready to fight on September 23. I’m going to put on a show for the kids, and for the city of Newark. I want to give you all a hell of a performance. I’m going to do my part, and I’m going to come in shape. I appreciate the support. I’m locked in, and September 23, I’m going to put on a show.”

Keyshawn Davis

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

“I feel like Top Rank has the best prospects in the game. This is definitely one of the cards to watch. I feel like this is going to be another ‘Oscar Valdez’ type of a night. I feel like this is going to be another Shakur Stevenson vs. Jamel Herring fight. I feel like fight is going to be about six rounds right here. But not only the main event. I feel like the undercard is going to put on a spectacular performance, too. I don’t really see any of us going the entire rounds because I feel like we should be getting stoppage that night. As for me, the business man is going to do what he do. I’ve been putting on great performances ever since ya’ll been seeing me fight.”

Bruce Carrington

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

“I know you will all be in the building on September 23. You know I’m bringing my people on September 23. We’re going to put on a show. A big shout out to all the boxers here. Floyd ‘Cashflow’ Diaz is in the building. ‘Flashy’ Keyshawn Davis is in the building. We’ve got Jahi Tucker. He’s in the building. And then you’ve got the man himself, Shakur Stevenson from Newark, New Jersey. He’s going to put on a show. And you know me as well, I’m going to put on a show, too. I’ll see you on September 23.”

Jahi Tucker

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

“On September 23, I’ll have a good performance for you all. It’s my first time fighting in Jersey. I’m going to make it a memorable one. Shakur is a great fighter. This is his hometown, so I’ve got to come strong. I’m going to be here September 23, and I’ll see you all.”

Floyd Diaz

“I just want to make sure I put on a show for everybody. I want to show everybody that I’m scary at 122. And it is what it is. On September 23, me and my guys are going to put on a show. We’re here to take over.”

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.