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PREVIEW: Shakur Stevenson vs Shuichiro Yoshino

After being stripped of his super featherweight titles after missing weight prior to his last fight, former two-division titleholder Shakur Stevenson is looking to make his mark on a new weight class this weekend.

Stevenson will be taking on Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in his hometown on April 8 in a WBC title eliminator at 135 pounds. The bout will headline an ESPN/ESPN+ card from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Despite his shortcomings with the scale, Stevenson (19-0, 9 KO) appears to be in the best form of his career to date, with big wins over then-titleholders Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez over the past couple years. Saturday night will be Stevenson’s first fight in the lightweight division, so it should be interesting to see how that affects him.

Yoshino (16-0, 12 KO) will be making his first appearance outside his native Japan, and a significant step up in competition against Stevenson. However, the last two opponents he beat: Masayoshi Nakatani and former titleholder Masayuki Ito—have both seen success at a world level and that should add to his credibility going into this weekend.

Currently, Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KO) holds all four major belts at 135 pounds and is the undisputed champion. So, since this is a WBC eliminator, a victory on Saturday night should put either Stevenson or Yoshino right in line for a shot at the title. First though, Haney will have to get through perhaps the toughest challenge in his career so far, when he defends against former three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20.

Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):

Shakur Stevenson

Robson Conceicao - WIN by UD (118-108, 117-109, 117-109) - 23/09/2022

Oscar Valdez - WIN by UD (118-109, 118-109, 117-110) - 30/04/2022

Jamel Herring - WIN by TKO 10 - 23/10/2021

Jeremia Nakathila - WIN by UD (120-107, 120-107, 120-107) - 12/06/2021

Toka Kahn Clary - WIN by UD (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) - 12/12/2020

Shuichiro Yoshino

Masayoshi Nakatani - WIN by KO 6 - 01/11/2022

Masayuki Ito - WIN by Technical Decision (107-102, 107-102, 106-103) - 09/04/2022

Shuma Nakazato - WIN by TKO 6 - 12/08/2021

Valentine Hosokawa - WIN by UD (120-108, 119-109, 119-109) - 03/09/2020

Izuki Tomioka - WIN by TKO 8 - 13/02/2020

Event Information:

Date: April 8th, 2023

Time: 3am (GMT), 7pm (PT), 10pm (ET)

Venue: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, USA

Channel: ESPN/ESPN+

Elsewhere on the card

In the co-main event, unbeaten lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis (7-0, 5 KO) will take a significant step up in competition, facing former world title challenger Anthony Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KO). Also featured is heavyweight Jared “Big Baby” Anderson (13-0, 13 KO) taking on George Arias (18-0, 7 KO) in a 10-round bout.


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