Shakur Stevenson: “I’m A Superstar, I Feel Like I Deserve To Be Pound For Pound”
By: Hans Themistode
Throughout Shakur Stevenson’s relatively short career, the 24-year-old has already produced several jaw-dropping performances.
In 2019, Stevenson dominated former title challenger, Christopher Diaz. To cap off his year, Stevenson handed Joet Gonzalez the first defeat of his career. To kick off his 2021 campaign, Stevenson thoroughly outboxed Jamel Herring, before violently stopping him, resulting in Stevenson’s first world title at 130 pounds. This past weekend, on April 30th, Stevenson believes he constructed another masterpiece.
On the night, Stevenson carefully dissected Oscar Valdez. Following five fairly lopsided rounds, Stevenson nearly closed the show, sending the rough and rugged Mexican native to the canvas in the sixth, before cruising to a unanimous decision victory. As Stevenson reflects on the totality of his career, he admits that his showing against Valdez is one that stands out.
“That was one of my best performances,” said Stevenson to Sky Sports Boxing. “Oscar Valdez was a tough fighter. He was a fighter who came to win.”
As Stevenson eludes to, Valdez was both defiant and relentless throughout the course of the night. However, thanks to Stevenson’s defensive brilliance, Valdez’s efforts were ultimately in vain.
Well before Stevenson sauntered his way through a pro-Valdez crowd, the former Olympic silver medalist had grown agitated with the constant chatter surrounding his bout against Valdez. At the age of 31, and sporting a then, undefeated record through 30 career bouts, Valdez had successfully defeated a who’s who of fighters.
Although Stevenson was still considered a sizable favorite, many were of the belief that his upcoming bout was a bridge simply too wide for Stevenson to cross at this very moment. But, despite the dubious voices, Stevenson warned his naysayers of what was to come. Now, with what Stevenson considers a career-defining victory, the now unified champion at 130 pounds is convinced that his name should be mentioned amongst the best fighters in the world.
“I heard a lot of people asking was this moment going to be too much for me. I told y’all, I shine bright in the brightest moments. I’m a superstar and I’m going to continue to be a superstar. I feel like I deserve to be pound-for-pound.”
Oscar Valdez Tips His Cap To Shakur Stevenson: “He Has Great Boxing Skills, He Was The Better Man”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson was everything Oscar Valdez was expecting and more.
The Mexican native and now, former WBO super featherweight titlist, did his best to offset the supreme boxing skills of the former Olympic silver medalist. The two engaged in a tactical chess match in the main event at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, late last night.
Pegged as a heavy favorite, Stevenson kept Valdez at range in the opening few rounds. At the halfway point, following a concentrated attack to Stevenson’s midsection, Valdez began picking up the pace. In the eighth, in particular, Valdez rendered Stevenson’s normally defensive brilliance useless. During the round, the Mexican product landed 17 total punches, more than any other opponent in any particular round in Stevenson’s relatively short career.
Although Valdez began his furious comeback, Stevenson tamed his man in the following round, landing 16 shots of his own, while only allowing Valdez to connect on four.
As Valdez sauntered back to his corner at the end of the final round, he hung his head low, knowing good and well that Stevenson had just handed him the first defeat of his career. Moments later, Valdez’s fears came to fruition as Stevenson was awarded the unanimous decision victory.
While visibly upset with his performance, Valdez refrained from blaming himself. Instead, he tipped his cap to Stevenson as a sign of respect.
“He has great boxing skills,” said Valdez following his defeat. “He was just the better man tonight.”
Stevenson, known for his defensive acumen, placed his power on display throughout the night, particularly in the sixth. The loquacious and supremely confident star evaded a looping left hand that was hurled in his direction. Valdez, as a result, stumbled into the ropes. Though he was aware of his surroundings, Stevenson quickly landed a sneaky right hand, sending Valdez to the canvas.
Shortly after, Valdez immediately rose to his feet and protested referee Tim Cheatham’s decision to rule it as a knockdown. Ultimately, Valdez is unwilling to fulminate over the decision of the referee. However, outside of what he believes was an unjustly called knockdown, Valdez admits that Stevenson was simply a cut above him.
“The referee called a knockdown, I personally think it wasn’t, it was ,ore of a slip but he’s a great fighter. His speed is there, his power is there, his footwork, takes little risks. Overall, just a great fighter.”
Oscar Valdez Believes Shakur Stevenson Will Bring The Best Out Of Him
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez knows that there were times when he didn’t look like his normal dominant self.
Even with the betting world, along with media pundits and fans, believing that he should waltz over a particular foe, Valdez has struggled. In November of 2019, Valdez was viewed as a gargantuan favorite against Adam Lopez. But while many were expecting him to easily take care of business, the Mexican star found himself in a back and forth firefight.
In the second round, after being thoroughly outboxed in the first, Lopez appeared on his way to scoring the gigantic upset as he sent Valdez crashing to the canvas. Ultimately, however, Valdez dusted himself off and went on to score the stoppage victory in the seventh.
In his most recent trip to the ring, Robson Conceicao walked into the ring brimming with confidence, despite being viewed as a sizable underdog. While Valdez would go on to win, the end results were considered controversial.
Valdez, 31, is well aware of his unflattering moments in the ring. He’s also cognizant that if anything less than his best appears tonight, his WBC super featherweight title reign will come to an end. In just a few short hours, Valdez will attempt to unify the 130-pound division when he takes on WBO titlist, Shakur Stevenson. The two are scheduled to swap fists in the main event at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although Valdez acknowledges that he hasn’t always looked like a world-beater in the ring, he believes that tonight will be different. The confidence of the 31-year-old doesn’t simply stem from an arduous eight-week training camp but more so from the threat Stevenson presents.
Pegged as boxing’s next big thing, Valdez believes that considering the overall skillset of his upcoming opponent, his game will have to rise.
“When I go against fighters that are higher level, it just brings the best out of me,” said Valdez to Mark Kriegel.
Stevenson, 24, has vociferously pushed for a showdown against Valdez for a number of years now. At one point, the former Olympic silver medalist fought his way to the number one ranking in the WBO sanctioning body at 126 pounds. Valdez, at that moment, proudly held said title. Although the Mexican product could have opted to face his mandatory challenger, he decided against it. Instead, Valdez would drop his world title and make the trek four pounds north where he would ultimately dethrone former super featherweight kingpin, Miguel Berchelt.
Shortly following his victory, Stevenson moved up in weight as well. After securing his own world title against Jamel Herring, stopping the former Marine in the 10th round of their October of 2021 showdown, Stevenson began chastising Valdez, provoking and antagonizing his man while urging him to face him.
Even after securing a date against Valdez, Stevenson has continued to push his buttons. With the pair set to face off later on tonight, Valdez’s emotions are edging on rage. As the Mexican star and former two-division world titlist ponders long and hard to himself, he can’t recall another fighter who made him feel so apoplectic.
“I don’t think so, no,” said a laughing Valdez when asked if any fighter has ever annoyed him more than Stevenson. “Shakur does a good job tweeting, he does a good job on social media.”
Regardless of the back and forth trash talk and despite the raw emotions that Valdez is experiencing, the current WBC 130-pound titlist is attempting to stay level-headed. While Valdez would love nothing more than to charge straight ahead the moment the opening bell sounds, he’s acutely aware that his mindless game plan would lead to his undoing.
With most pure boxers, there’s a tendency to perceive that a persistent and relentless attack to the body will slow them down in the later rounds. However, Valdez believes it will take more than a concentrated attack to Stevenson’s midsection to secure the victory.
In addition to planning a more well-round assault, Valdez is convinced that his showdown against Stevenson will not resemble his typical blood and guts war of attrition. Rather, Valdez believes he’ll be forced to place his thinking cap on.
“I can’t go in there and try to dig to the body. You go to the head, you go to the arms, there’s types of ways of putting pressure. You have to use smart pressure. Instead of a war, it’s going to be a chess game.”
Robert Garcia Has Complete Confidence In Oscar Valdez: “Think Valdez Is Going To Prove Everyone Wrong”
By: Hans Themistode
Despite Oscar Valdez sporting an undefeated record through 30 professional bouts, most are under the assumption that the 31-year-old will hand his WBC super featherweight title to Shakur Stevenson without much of a fight.
Presently, while Valdez is considered Stevenson’s most arduous test, most have firmly picked the former Olympic silver medalist to relieve his man of his world title.
Currently, oddsmakers have publicly backed Stevenson as a gargantuan favorite. Although he’s always been lauded for his otherworldly abilities, his stock reached an all-time high following his most recent trip to the ring.
On October 23rd, 2021, Stevenson battered Jamel Herring, forcing referee Mark Nelson to step in at the halfway point of the 10th round. While the New Jersey native has yet to be extended, Robert Garcia is incredulous to the ongoing narrative surrounding his upcoming bout.
Like most, the longtime trainer is in awe of the skills of Stevenson. However, Garcia is unwilling to concede that Stevenson will walk through Valdez unimpeded, especially considering Valdez’s heritage.
“Oscar Valdez is Mexican and you guys know that Mexicans come to fight,” said Garcia to a group of reporters. “Obviously, it’s not an easy fight. Shakur is very technical, very smart, and great power also. It’s a very difficult fight for both of them.”
Though Garcia has admitted that he’ll be rooting for Valdez to buck the odds and bring home the victory, he’s well aware that it will be much easier said than done. Ultimately, the renowned trainer is willing to do much more than simply cheer for the 31-year-old to protract his world title reign from his ringside seat. As Garcia ponders to himself, he’s convinced that he knows the keys to Valdez pulling off the unlikely victory.
“Valdez is going to try and break him down,” continued Garcia. “Body shots, elbows, shoulders, wherever, that’s what he needs to do. He has a shot.”
Ultimately, despite Garcia lending Valdez what he believes are his keys to victory, he’s unwilling to go against the grain and choose the Mexican star to pull out the win.
“I still think that Shakur is the more talented fighter so I pick Shakur by decision.”
Valdez, a former world champion at 126 pounds as well, has built his career on his rough and rugged style, as well as his never say die attitude. His current underdog status is one that neither bothers nor surprises him. In February of 2021, Valdez was once again doubted by both the betting world and most media pundits.
In a fanless MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stevenson was wildly expected to be brutally knocked out by former 130-pound kingpin, Miguel Berchelt. Undaunted by the dubious voices that surrounded him, Valdez confidently registered the biggest win of his career.
In addition to outboxing his man early on, Valdez brutalized the former champion, resulting in three knockdowns and a 10th-round stoppage victory. Considering Valdez’s propensity for rising to the occasion when the lights shine brightest, Garcia is convinced that he will do so again, albeit in a losing effort.
“Come tomorrow night, I think Valdez is going to prove everyone wrong. He’s got a chance to win, even if he doesn’t, he’s still going to prove everybody wrong. Mostly everybody isn’t even giving him a shot. I think he’s going to go out there and show that he can compete against anyone in the junior lightweight division.”
Oscar Valdez: “Shakur Stevenson Is A Tough Fighter But He’s Not Invincible”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has spewed every vulgar curse word imaginable in the direction of Oscar Valdez. He’s also issued numerous warnings to his upcoming opponent.
Yet, despite Stevenson’s brazen bravado, Valdez has stood stoically in the face of Stevenson, undaunted and unamused by his relentless trash talk. On April 30th, this upcoming weekend, Valdez is eager to put his rivalry with Stevenson to bed. The two will engage in a 130-pound unification that will crown the winner as the Ring Magazine champion as well.
With only a few days remaining, both Stevenson and his team, have upped their aggression. In a recent press conference, Stevenson audaciously grabbed Valdez’s world title. Valdez though, simply smiled as he grabbed at Stevenson’s WBO strap. In addition to the onstage theatrics, team Stevenson was seen verbally chastising team Valdez.
Throughout it all, Valdez never seemed flustered by the entire ordeal. Simply put, Valdez is unwilling to allow Stevenson to knock him off his A game.
“My fuel tank is full,” said Stevenson to FightHype.com. “There’s nothing right now that he can say or do that will make me lose focus. My main focus is just to win the fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s by knockout, by 12 rounds, if it’s a dirty fight, if it’s a technical fight. To me, it’s just win the fight no matter what.”
Stevenson, 24, has fought and clawed his way to his current position. Following a successful world title run at 126 pounds, the former Olympic silver medalist truncated his time as a featherweight world champion and planted his flag at 130 pounds. So far, everything has gone swimmingly.
With three consecutive victories in his new weight class, Stevenson challenged then, WBO world titlist, Jamel Herring. While Herring was thought to be Stevenson’s sternest test, the 24-year-old went on to dominate his man, resulting in a 10th-round stoppage victory.
Throughout his relatively short career, Stevenson has been viewed as boxing’s next premier star. And, in the mind of oddsmakers, Valdez’s unified dreams will be dashed away from him come Saturday night.
Regardless of the outside belief of the betting market and despite the consistent praise that’s been heaped onto the shoulders of Stevenson, Valdez has issued one final warning to both his upcoming opponent and his undying supporters.
“If I have to take one shot to land my shot, I’ll do it, I’ve done it before. Shakur Stevenson is a tough fighter but he’s not invincible, no fighter out there is not invincible, including myself, including the best fighters in history. Every fighter is beatable.”
Shakur Stevenson Opens Up On Upcoming Showdown Against Oscar Valdez: “I Want Him To Mentally Quit”
By: Hans Themistode
Although Oscar Valdez has shown multiple layers to his all-around game, the current WBC super featherweight champion has mostly relied on his grit, toughness, and tenacity to will himself to the top of the pugilistic mountain.
Against Scott Quigg in 2018, Valdez fought his way to a unanimous decision victory, despite suffering a broken jaw. Against Adam Lopez in 2019, Valdez peeled himself up off the deck in the second round and brawled his way to a 10th round stoppage victory.
Although the Mexican native is willing to do whatever it takes to pick up the victory against Shakur Stevenson this upcoming weekend, including engaging in another all-out war, Stevenson admits that he won’t be a willing participant. Instead, the former Olympic silver medalist and current WBO super featherweight champion envisions himself practicing the art of hit, while not getting hit.
“I’m not looking to have a tough fight with him,” said Stevenson to Crystina Poncher. “I’m not looking to go tit for tat, you hit me, I hit you, let’s see who’s the tougher fighter. I’m going in there to pick him apart. I’m going in there to pick him apart. I’m going in there to mentally drain him.”
Stevenson, in his own right, has shown an eagerness at times, to press forward and fight his opposition Mano e Mano. Following what Stevenson admits was a lackluster showing against Jeremia Nakathila in June of 2021, Stevenson turned in arguably the best performance of his career four months later.
On October 23, at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Stevenson was flawless as he dismantled now former titlist, Jamel Herring. With the win, Stevenson began his second world title reign in as many divisions.
Viewed as a considerable favorite against Valdez, Stevenson isn’t surprised by the public backing of the betting world. As the current 24-year-old takes a long and onerous look at the ledger of his upcoming opponent, the New Jersey native can’t help but smile. While he wholeheartedly respects Valdez and the opponents he’s shared the ring with over the years, Stevenson is convinced that his skill set is something Valdez has simply never seen before.
“I don’t think he’s ever been in front of a fighter like me. I think this is his first time being in there with somebody with my type of skills. As the fight goes on, I want him to mentally quit.”
Shakur Stevenson: “I’m A Special Talent”
By: Hans Themistode
At one point in time, Shakur Stevenson was convinced that this day would never come.
Having fought his way to mandatory status in the WBO sanctioning body at 126 pounds, Stevenson was ecstatic over his possible showdown against then belt holder, Oscar Valdez. However, in a move that Stevenson considers “ducking”, Valdez opted against facing him and would move up in weight.
It was a sagacious move on the part of Valdez, as he would go on mercilessly pound Miguel Berchelt, ultimately resulting in the Mexican star being crowned WBC champion. Shortly after planting his flag at 130 pounds, Stevenson quickly joined him.
The former Olympic silver medalist would reel off three consecutive victories as a full-blown super featherweight before truncating the world title reign of Jamel Herring. Immediately after wrapping his waist with gold, Stevenson turned his attention toward Valdez.
Now, after poking and antagonizing his man, Stevenson and Valdez will square off this weekend, April 30th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although Stevenson is only 24 years of age, the crafty southpaw believes he’s a historian of the sport. With Stevenson being more than capable of discussing the careers of former great fighters, he’s more interested in centering his conversation on the hard-paying consumer.
While Stevenson enjoys performing for his diehard fans, he’s well aware of the vitriol that will be spewed in his direction if he were to come up short.
“My mindset is, whatever it takes to win,” said Stevenson to Crystina Poncher. “They gonna love you when you winning, they gonna hate you if you lose.”
Currently pegged as a sizable favorite to keep his undefeated record intact, Stevenson isn’t taking Valdez lightly. Although the former Olympic silver medalist has chastised Valdez while pushing the narrative that the current WBC champion wanted no part of their upcoming fight, he does, wholeheartedly, respect Valdez’s skills.
In fact, Stevenson is of the belief that Valdez was simply given a raw deal. If anyone other than himself was stepping into the ring against the two-division titlist, Stevenson would give Valdez the edge. However, with Stevenson believing that his skillset is amongst the very best in all of boxing, he’ll look to put on a show this coming Saturday night.
“I feel like if he was fighting somebody else, another fighter that’s not on my level, he would beat them. But, I think that he’s in for it with me because I’m a special talent.”
Oscar Valdez Heartbroken After Watching Miguel Berchelt
By: Hans Themistode
Long before Oscar Valdez made his way up the 130-pound rankings, Miguel Berchelt was considered the best fighter that the super featherweight division had to offer.
From 2014 to 2021, Berchelt reeled off 17 consecutive victories in a row, 16 of which came via knockout. In addition to leaving countless bodies comatose in the ring, Berchelt would go on to capture the WBC super featherweight title, stopping former champion Francisco Vargas in 2017.
Thanks to the deleterious knockout power Berchelt displayed, many believed that Valdez would become another victim as the two squared off in the first quarter of 2021. But while Berchelt was viewed as the odds on favorite, Valdez made his doubters eat their words as he went on to punish the now-former longtime champion.
At no point did Valdez appear to be in any trouble as he outboxed his man early on before pounding him in the fanless MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In rounds four and nine, Berchelt was sent crashing down to the deck. In the tenth, with Berchelt already bleeding profusely from his open mouth, Valdez landed the fight-ending blow.
Before Berchelt’s lifeless body bounced off the canvas, Valdez screamed in joy as he knew he had officially stripped Berchelt of his championship status.
Vowing to bounce back in a major way, Berchelt opted to forgo the 130-pound division and compete as a full-fledged lightweight. In his first trip to the ring, Berchelt took on rough and rugged contender, Jeremia Nakathila, who was also moving up in weight. Despite the public backing of oddsmakers once again and regardless of Valdez rooting him on, Berchelt was pummeled before succumbing to Nakathila’s power in the sixth round.
A despondent Valdez was in utter disbelief as his fellow Mexican countrymen was battered and appeared to be a shell of his former great self.
Not only has the vicious beating Berchelt endured against Valdez seemingly changed him, but it also serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of the sport of boxing.
“It was a bit sad seeing him,” said Valdez during an interview with Mark Kriegel. “We fought before and I always wished him the best. The fact that I saw him that way that night, it was heartbreaking. It made me feel bad for several reasons. It’s not like basketball, it’s not like baseball. You can lose in baseball but you can always recover for the next season. These are punches, you’re receiving punches to the head. It’s a dangerous sport.”
While Valdez was devastated as he watched the former great champion stumble after every blow Nakathila landed, he’ll be apathetic towards his upcoming opponent in just a few short weeks.
On April 30th, back at the original scene of the crime, Valdez will attempt to render Shakur Stevenson unconscious on the night. Should Valdez emerge victoriously, he’ll successfully add Stevenson’s WBO title to his ever-growing collection.
Shakur Stevenson Believes He Should Be Viewed As A Top 5 Pound For Pound Fighter If He Defeats Oscar Valdez
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson is well aware of the golden opportunity waiting in front of him.
With the former Olympic silver medalist less than three weeks away from taking on WBC super featherweight titlist, Oscar Valdez, he views their upcoming showdown as his de-facto coming out party.
Presently, although Stevenson has only been a professional for roughly five years, he’s already become a multiple division world champion. But, despite pillaging those golden trinkets from several notable names, Stevenson believes he isn’t given the recognition he deserves.
That can all change come April 30th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the mind of Stevenson, if he successfully strips Valdez of his WBC title and becomes the division’s only unified champion, he firmly believes that he deserves a lofty spot on everyone’s pound-for-pound list.
“I’ll say like number five on the pound-for-pound list,” said Stevenson to a group of reporters. “I just fought Jamel and I’m right back, fighting Oscar Valdez. I’m taking on tough competition. Oscar is undefeated, 30 and 0 with 23 knockouts.”
As mentioned by Stevenson, the 24-year-old was last seen in the ring, manhandling Jamel Herring. Though he was viewed as the bigger man, Herring’s size advantage did little to keep Stevenson off him, as he went on to lose via 10th round stoppage.
Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Stevenson immediately issued a challenge to Valdez, something the Mexican product quickly accepted. With the pair now set to unify 130-pound titles, Stevenson isn’t taking his upcoming opponent lightly.
Not only has Valdez won world titles at both 126 and 130 pounds but he’s produced some of the more notable performances in recent memory. In 2018, Valdez successfully defended his WBO featherweight crown against Scott Quigg, despite suffering a broken jaw.
Most recently, Valdez pitched a near-perfect game against former division kingpin, Miguel Berchelt. The Mexican native pummeled his man for much of their February of 2021 showdown, before violently ending the night in the 10th round.
Having watched Valdez up close and personal, Stevenson believes it would be disingenuous to downplay the overall skills of Valdez. While he knows this could be the most difficult fight of his young career, Stevenson candidly explains why he was so anxious to face his fellow 130-pound champion.
“It’s not an easy fight for me but I’m willing to take the challenge. I love these types of challenges. These challenges wake me up every morning.”
Bob Arum Unsure How Oscar Valdez Vs. Shakur Stevenson Will Play Out
By: Hans Themistode
Both Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez have an insatiable desire to prove themselves as the man to beat. With both fighters holding world titles at 130 pounds, they are widely regarded as the best fighters that the weight class has to offer.
As of late, however, before both men officially signed off on their April 30th, showdown, Stevenson openly berated Valdez in an attempt to lure him into the ring. Although Stevenson was initially convinced that Valdez wanted to shy away from his open challenge, the former Olympic silver medalist was pleasantly surprised when Valdez welcomed Stevenson’s callouts with open arms.
With Stevenson in possession of the WBO super featherweight title and Valdez holding firm to his WBC trinket, promoter Bob Arum is gleeful that their contest has become a reality.
“Both of these guys are very prideful,” said Arum during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “Both of these guys have taken the fight, not because they had to by any sanctioning body but because they wanted it. Those kinds of fights are very intense and enjoyable to watch.”
Throughout the long Hall of Fame career of Arum, the longtime promoter has always had an inkling as to how any particular contest would play out. However, this time around, he’s having trouble picking a winner.
In the case of Stevenson, since making a name for himself in the 2016 Olympics, he’s barely broken a sweat on his way to an unblemished record through 17 professional fights, which includes two world titles. In his most recent trip to the ring, Stevenson easily dissected former titlist, Jamel Herring, lifting his WBO 130 pound title in the process.
As for Valdez, he’s become bemused by the entire notion that he was “ducking” Stevenson in the first place. Although initially, Stevenson earned a mandatory title shot against Valdez at 126 pounds, the Mexican native opted against defending his WBO crown against the American star and instead, took on deleterious knockout puncher, Miguel Berchelt at 130 pounds.
Despite being considered an underdog, Valdez brutalized his man, dropping him a total of four times before finishing him off in the tenth round. Since then, Valdez’s star power has taken somewhat of a hit following his lackluster showing against Robson Conceicao in September of 2021.
Still, the listless showing of Valdez will now be brushed under the rug. With a little over a month remaining until the pair of world titleholders swap fists in the ring, oddsmakers have pegged Stevenson as a significant favorite. But, regardless of the public backing of the betting world, Arum is still unsure how their contest will play out.
“I haven’t the foggiest notion of how the fight is going to play out. These guys have become skilled professionals and they have great corners. How the fights going to unfold is hard to predict.”
Shakur Stevenson Opens Up On Oscar Valdez Showdown: “I’m The Better Fighter And I Want It More”
By: Hans Themistode
For the most part, Shakur Stevenson’s career has been on cruise control. The former 2016 Olympic silver medalist and two-division world titlist has made quick and easy work of his 17 career opponents.
Yet, even with the relative ease in which he’s picked up his victories, the 24-year-old knows that he’ll soon be in a dog fight. The WBO super featherweight champion will come face to face with current WBC belt holder, Oscar Valdez, on April 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Presently, Stevenson finds himself as a sizable favorite with several sportsbooks listing him as high as 4-1. With that said, regardless of the betting world hitching their wagons to his coattails, Stevenson isn’t overlooking his well-decorated opponent.
“He’s a great fighter,” said Stevenson during an interview with Stamina For Sale. “He never lost before. You have to pay respect to Valdez. You’re in there with a live dog.”
Valdez, of course, is no stranger to his current underdog status. Just last year, the 31-year-old listened closely as most sided with Miguel Berchelt during their February 2021, showdown. Despite the dubious voices, Valdez went on to violently rip away Berchelt’s WBC 130-pound crown via 10th round stoppage.
Since picking up his blood-soaked title, Valdez has gone on to defend said championship against Robson Conceicao, winning a fairly controversial unanimous decision roughly seven months later.
As Valdez has been busy racking up the wins, so too has Stevenson. He closed out his 2021 with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over former Marine Jamel Herring. In the process, Stevenson truncated his WBO title reign and began his own.
With Stevenson vs. Valdez inching closer and closer, the crafty and slick southpaw is upping his work rate in training camp. Winning Valdez’s WBC title is the main objective but to do so in commanding fashion, is the ultimate goal.
“I’m the better fighter and I want it more. I been waiting on a moment like this my whole life, I ain’t gonna get here and back away. I ain’t gonna get here and allow him to take this moment from me. I’m coming in there to dominate, this is going to be a special night.”
Oscar Valdez: “Shakur Stevenson Is Very Good At Fighting But He’s Better At Social Media”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has done his best to poke, antagonize, and annoy Oscar Valdez.
The 24-year-old New Jersey native has been eyeing a showdown against Valdez since both men competed at 126 pounds. At one point, Stevenson worked his way to the number one position in the WBO sanctioning body to challenge Valdez for his crown.
Despite making his way up the ranks, Valdez opted to ditch his featherweight title to face then WBC 130 pound champion, Miguel Berchelt. Along the way, Stevenson has continually chastised Valdez and urged the Mexican star to step into the ring with him.
Even now, with both men officially agreeing to face off on April 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stevenson’s trash talk hasn’t subsided. When given the opportunity to scream and shout in the direction of the former Olympic silver medalist, Valdez merely declined. While the Mexican product respects everything that Stevenson has accomplished inside the ring, he isn’t enamored by his boxing ability. In fact, Valdez believes that Stevenson’s skills are a distant second to what he actually does best.
“We know Shakur Stevenson is very good at fighting,” said Valdez recently. “But he’s even better at social media. I’ll let my fists speak for themselves.”
Following the brutalization of Berchelt to snag his WBC crown, Valdez has gone on to defend said title against Robson Conceicao, eking out a close, yet controversial unanimous decision.
Stevenson, on the other hand, truncated the world title reign of former Marine Jamel Herring. Stevenson proved that he was more than just a boxer, racking up the points and causing noticeable damage before referee Mark Nelson was forced to step in.
In the mind of many, Stevenson is the full package. He’s seldom if ever outboxed and is slowly growing into his man body. Still, regardless of the superlative words that are often used to describe him, Valdez has one agenda come April 30th.
“I want to make it clear that I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world.”
Shakur Stevenson Wants To Share The Spotlight With Amanda Serrano And Katie Taylor: “Let The Ladies Shine Too”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson is anxious to get his hands on more gold.
Following his 10th round stoppage victory over former WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring in October of 2021, the 24-year-old former Olympic silver medalist nabbed his second world title in as many weight classes.
With his newly won trinket now safely tucked underneath his arm, Stevenson is on the verge of adding even more hardware to his collection. According to promoter Bob Arum, both Stevenson and WBC titlist Oscar Valdez, have agreed to financial terms for a proposed bout. While the details of their showdown are still being worked upon, Arum revealed that their contest is being targeted for April 30th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although Stevenson believes his showdown against Valdez is one of the biggest in all of boxing, he also feels sympathetic for another high leverage contest that’s set to take place on the other coast.
In what many believe is the biggest fight in women’s boxing history between current undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor and former seven division titlist Amanda Serrano, Stevenson is uneasy about their contest taking place on the same date. Currently, Serrano vs. Taylor will also face off on April 30th, in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Considering the high stakes of both showdowns, Stevenson is hopeful that something can be worked out to allow everyone involved their moment in the sun.
“To be honest,” said Stevenson on his social media account. “I hope they can stagger the times for my unification with Valdez and Serrano vs. Taylor for April 30.”
Stevenson’s statement comes just a few days after the controversial comments made by Arum. The longtime promoter was originally unaware that Taylor vs. Serrano was set to take place on April 30th. However, when asked if he would be willing to move Stevenson’s unification showdown against Valdez to a later date to acquiesce Taylor vs. Serrano, Arum barked at the request.
“I mean, as good a fight as [Taylor-Serrano] is, come on,” said Arum to IFL TV. “You know, whatever reason it is, people don’t particularly pay attention to the women’s fights. The answer is ESPN made the schedule and they couldn’t care less. I don’t want to denigrate fights, I don’t want to be accused of being anti-women in sports, but I’m telling you, this is like the Premier League against women’s football.”
Since making those public comments, Arum has received pushback, including from Jake Paul, who, along with Eddie Hearn, will be promoting Taylor vs. Serrano.
“Men like this dinosaur r the reason women haven’t been given a fair shake in many parts of society,” said Paul on his social media.
While Stevenson hasn’t gone as far as to denigrate the character of his promoter, he has voiced his opinion and would like both his showdown and his female counterparts, to receive plenty of the spotlight.
“Let the ladies shine too and the fans watch both fights.”
Shakur Stevenson And Oscar Valdez Showdown Nearly Set For April 30th
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson began growing impatient as a showdown between himself and Oscar Valdez grew more and more unlikely.
Immediately following his 10th round stoppage win over Jamel Herring, to relieve the former marine of his WBO 130 pound title, Stevenson swiftly turned his attention towards Valdez and his WBC title. However, in the mind of Bob Arum, Stevenson’s promoter, he expressed a desire to match Stevenson against former WBC belt holder Miguel Berchelt. In the meanwhile, Arum also indicated that a matchup between Valdez and WBO 126 pound titlist Emanuel Navarrete, was firmly in his sights.
In Arum’s perfect world, the winners of those contests would then meet in a unification bout. While Valdez appeared open to the idea, Stevenson scoffed at prolonging his showdown against Valdez.
Despite Arum’s original thoughts, Stevenson is now on the verge of landing his first unification bout.
As first reported by Dan Rafael, formerly of ESPN, both team Valdez and team Stevenson are nearing a deal for a two belt 130 pound unification. Though the finish line is within reach, there are still a few small details that are left to be ironed out. As of now, their contest is expected to take place on April 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Valdez, 31, strung together arguably the best year of his career in 2021. To start things off, Valdez walked into his showdown against the previously mentioned Berchelt as a considerable underdog. Despite the odds, Valdez dominated, dropping the heavy-hitting former titlist a total of three times before scoring a brutal stoppage victory in the 10th.
Shortly after nabbing Berchelt’s WBC crown, Valdez eked out a close and somewhat controversial unanimous decision over Robson Conceicao.
Should Stevenson successfully dethrone Valdez and reign as unified champion, the 24-year-old no longer wants to see any pound-for-pound lists without his name near the top.
“My next opponent gone be a big surprise,” said Stevenson on his social media account. “Pound for pound me please.”
Shakur Stevenson More Interested In Oscar Valdez Showdown Over Vasiliy Lomachenko: “We Seen Lomachenko Lose Twice”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has enjoyed his time fighting under the promotional banner of Top Rank. But, despite his ongoing success, both Stevenson and longtime promoter Bob Arum, are diametrically opposed when it comes to his immediate pugilistic future.
Following a one-sided win over Jeremia Nakathila at the midway point of 2021, Stevenson marched confidently into his showdown against former WBO super featherweight titlist Jamel Herring. Although the crowd at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, vehemently cheered on the former marine, Stevenson effortlessly dissected his man throughout the night.
As the punishment continued, referee Mark Nelson saw enough, putting an end to their showdown in the 10th round. With the victory, Stevenson wrapped his second world title in as many weight classes around his waist.
For his next ring appearance, Arum has floated around the idea of matching up Stevenson with former three-division world champion and current pound-for-pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko. In the opinion of Stevenson, however, a showdown against the Ukrainian, while intriguing, isn’t at the forefront of his mind.
Considering both men’s track records, if the decision was solely up to the former Olympic silver medalist, he would much rather face off against undefeated WBC 130 pound titlist, Oscar Valdez.
“We seen Lomachenko lose twice,” said Stevenson during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “He beat a lot of great fighters but did we see him lose twice? We did right? How many times did we see Valdez lose? We never seen him lose before.”
Although Lomachenko currently occupies a high standing on most pound-for-pound lists, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist has suffered defeats during his time as a pro.
In only his second professional contest, Lomachenko attempted to become the fastest boxer in history to win a world title. However, though he would rally back in the second half, Lomachenko was handed a split decision loss to Orlando Salido.
For the next six years, Lomachenko outboxed and out-muscled his competition. As a result, he was crowned a world champion in three separate weight classes. Nevertheless, at the tail end of 2020, Lomachenko was surprisingly dethroned by Teofimo Lopez. Since then, the slick hitting southpaw has picked up back-to-back victories over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.
Still, regardless of Lomachenko regaining his form, Stevenson believes Valdez has been more impressive as of late.
“Valdez had a great performance with [Miguel] Berchelt, knocked him out and Valdez has never been beat. We saw him [Vasiliy Lomachenko] get in the ring with Teofimo and he looked kind of scared.”
Valdez, 31, sauntered his way to the ring against Berchelt in the first quarter of 2021, attempting to establish himself as a true player at 130 pounds. In his lone appearance as a super featherweight before his showdown against Berchelt, Valdez won a fairly close unanimous decision against journeymen Jayson Velez.
Even with most in the betting market and boxing world counting him out, Valdez had arguably the best performance of his career. The 31-year-old would go on to drop Berchelt a total of three times before registering a knockout of the year contender in the tenth to strip Berchelt of his WBC crown. Recently, Valdez defended his newly won strap against Robson Conceicao.
If Arum were successfully able to lure Lomachenko down to the 130 pound weight limit or convince Stevenson to move five pounds north, the Hall of Fame promoter believes a showdown between them would be box office gold.
While Stevenson isn’t opposed to facing Lomachenko, or anyone else for that matter, if he was given complete autonomy over his career, he would much rather take on Valdez.
“Valdez never lost, I never lost. I’m reaching the prime of my career, he’s in the prime of his career. The best vs. the best.”