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Shakur Stevenson makes lightweight debut on April 8 against Shuichiro Yoshino

Shakur Stevenson dominated Oscar Valdez to emerge as Ring, WBC and WBO champ at 130. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Fighters Network

Shakur Stevenson will attempt to win a world title belt in a third weight division.

That journey will begin on April 8, as Stevenson will also make his lightweight debut against Shuichiro Yoshino, Top Rank announced Saturday afternoon. The 12-round WBC world lightweight title elimination bout will take place at the Prudential Center in Stevenson’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey. 

The clash between Stevenson and Yoshino, along with unbeaten heavyweight Jared Anderson and lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis in separate bouts, will air live on ESPN (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

“Shakur Stevenson is one of the most gifted fighters I’ve had the pleasure of promoting, and I look forward to seeing him once again fight in front of his incredible hometown fans in Newark,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Yoshino is a tough fighter and won’t be deterred by the hostile crowd.

“Jared Anderson and Keyshawn Davis are two of the sport’s emerging superstars, and I can’t wait to see them back in the ring.”

Stevenson (19-0, 9 knockouts) last fought on September 22, a fight that also took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, defeating Robson Conceicao by unanimous decision in front of a crowd of 10,107. Stevenson was stripped of the WBC and WBO world title belts after being one and a half pounds over the 130-pound limit. 

Almost five months prior to the win over Conceicao, Stevenson challenged and won the WBC world title by defeating Oscar Valdez by unanimous decision. 

The 25-year-old also won a world title belt at 130 pounds, stopping Jamel Herring in October 2021. Stevenson also won a world featherweight title belt back in October 2019. 

“I am taking over the lightweight division and my run will start on April 8 in Newark,” said Stevenson, who is currently not ranked at 130 or 135 pounds by The Ring. “Shuichiro Yoshino is an undefeated fighter who was willing to step up and fight me when so many fighters were scared. My last fight at the Prudential Center was just the start of what I’m building in (New) Jersey. We are going to pack the Prudential Center again and show the world who the future of boxing really is.”

Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs), who resides in Tokyo, Japan, knocked out Masayoshi Nakatani in the sixth round of his last bout on November 1. The win over Nakatani came almost seven months after the 31-year-old defeated former WBO world junior lightweight titleholder Masayuki Ito.

Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs) hopes to continue down a path towards becoming a legit contender.

The 23-year-old from Toledo, Ohio stopped Jerry Forrest in the second round of his last bout on December 10.

Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), the 2020 Olympic Silver medalist from Norfolk, Virginia, also fought on December 10, battering former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos en route to a unanimous decision victory. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]