Shakur Stevenson set to step up with fight against Christopher Diaz on April 20
Shakur Stevenson is ready to truly test himself.
The Olympic silver medalist is set for a step-up fight against Christopher Diaz on April 20 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, a source with knowledge of the deal told The Ring. The featherweight fight will be staged on the ESPN Pay-Per-View undercard to Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan.
Diaz was actually set to fight Jessie Magdaleno on March 16, but Top Rank incentivized the Puerto Rican to accept the more challenging fight with a greater payday. ESPN first reported the news.
Stevenson (10-0, 6 knockouts) has displayed improved strength and power in his last two fights as he continues to grow physically. The 21-year scored a first-round knockout of Viorel Simion in October, his first scheduled 10-rounded. The Newark, New Jersey, native followed up with a crushing fourth-round stoppage of Jessie Cris Rosales last month.
Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) figures to present a proper litmus test for Stevenson, who would prove he’s ready for a title shot with a win. Diaz, 24, was one of Top Rank’s best-regarded prospects until he was upset in his 130-pound title tilt against Masayuki Ito in July. Now, Diaz will drop back to 126 pounds for another tough challenge.
It’s Stevenson, though, who will have the spotlight focused squarely on him.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger