Shakur Stevenson will face Felix Caraballo on June 9 in Las Vegas
Shakur Stevenson will likely face once-beaten Felix Caraballo on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, it was announced Saturday night. The fight will air live on ESPN and will be the first fight in a series of Top Rank cards that will take place throughout June in Las Vegas.
It will also mark the first boxing card in the United States in almost three months as several fight cards in the country have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement Saturday night came from Andre Ward, who co-manages Stevenson along with James Prince, in an interview with boxing commentator Joe Tessitore during a rebroadcast of Mike Tyson fights on ESPN.
Stevenson (13-0, 7 knockouts), who grew up in Newark, New Jersey, captured the vacant WBO featherweight title on October 26, defeating Joet Gonzalez in a clash of unbeaten fighters. He was scheduled to make the first defense of the WBO title on March 14 inside The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but the fight was canceled as positive cases of COVID-19 began to break out in the New York city area.
The 22-year-old was originally scheduled to face Mexico’s Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KOs) on June 9, but Rivera reportedly had difficulty securing entry into the United States from his hometown of Tijuana.
Stevenson’s WBO title will not be on the line against Caraballo. Stevenson is currently ranked No. 4 by The Ring at 126 pounds.
Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) last fought on January 25, stopping Sergio Lopez in less than one minute of the opening round. His last five bouts, all victories, have take place in his hometown of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, including back-to-back victories over Mario Briones and Jose Nieves.
The only blemish of Caraballo’s career occurred in January 2018, losing by unanimous decision to Pedro Marquez Medina.
Caraballo’s fight against Stevenson will mark his first pro fight outside Puerto Rico.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing