Shakur Stevenson Cruises To Lopsided Win Over Conceicao
Shakur Stevenson could not defend the unified junior lightweight world title because he had been stripped on Thursday for failing to make weight.
But that did not stop him from turning in a dominating performance against Robson Conceicao on in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on Friday night before a record boxing crowd of 10,107 at Prudential Center in Stevenson’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) September 24, 2022
Stevenson scored a fourth-round knockdown and cruised to a one-sided decision, 118-108, 117-109 and 117-109. Fight Freaks Unite had Stevenson winning 119-107.
Because Stevenson was 131.6 pounds at the weigh-in he lost the WBC and WBO 130-pound titles at the scale, so they remained vacant. Had Conceicao won he would have become champion, but was never seriously in the fight, stymied time and again by Stevenson’s all-around game.
“I had a long week. I killed myself to make weight,” Stevenson said. “All I wanted to do is come in here and perform. I did everything I could to do that.”
Weight issues notwithstanding, he performed at a very high level. Stevenson, who plans to move up to lightweight, took control from the outset, outboxing and outpunching Conceicao, who could have opted out of the fight with Stevenson overweight and still gotten his $250,000 purse and been in line to fight somebody else for a vacant title.
But he went through with the bout – getting an undisclosed amount of money from Stevenson’s $3 million purse – and took a beating.
Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), 25, a southpaw, said he got a big lift from his hometown crowd. “It gave me an enormous amount of energy,” Stevenson said. “I love Newark and I appreciate Newark.”
While Stevenson was diverse with his attack, using right hooks, straight left hands and a ton of body shots, Conceicao mainly looked to land his right hand but had virtually no success against Stevenson, who has supreme defense.
Stevenson also flashed his offense. He landed his first big shot in the third round when he clipped Conceicao with a clean left uppercut. In the fourth round, Stevenson connected with a solid right hook that stunned Conceicao. Later in the round, Stevenson landed a left to the body that dropped Conceicao on a delayed reaction with one second left in the round.By the seventh round, Stevenson was laying a beating on Conceicao, who had little left other than his heart. After the seventh round, the ringside doctor went to Conceicao’s corner to examine him and allowed the fight to continue. He actually had one of his best rounds in the eighth but still could not do much. Mostly, he tried to hold Stevenson in order to fend off more damage.
“I’m just a dominating individual. With me versus him and the ref, I did everything I could to try and beat him up as much as I could,” Stevenson said. “He held me the whole night, but I did everything I could.
“I think that he was doing a lot of holding whenever I was getting on the inside. As soon as I got on the inside, he grabbed me. Other than that, he’s real awkward and he’s real tough so he knows how to survive.”
Stevenson knocked Conceicao off balance with a hard right hand on the button in the opening seconds of the ninth round but when he threw him to the canvas later in the round referee David Fields docked one point from Stevenson.
A left uppercut stopped Conceicao in his tracks in the opening seconds of the 11th round and late in the round Stevenson looked like he was close to a stoppage when he landed a series of power left hands.
Conceicao made it to the final bell but after the fight medical personal administered him an IV in his dressing room as a precaution.
“Shakur was marvelous as always, and he was in there tonight against a tough fighter in Robson Conceicao,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. “There are so many great fights for Shakur at lightweight. The Newark crowd was spectacular, and we look forward to many more great fight nights in this arena.”
According to CompuBox statistics, Stevenson landed 199 of 531 punches (38 percent) and Conceicao landed 60 of 483 (12 percent). Of Stevenson’s career-high 199 landed blows, 75 were body shots. Conceicao landed just five body punches.
Stevenson also outlanded him in every round except for the first, in which Conceicao had a 4-3 advantage. Conceicao landed double digit punches only in the third round when he connected with 10 shots.
Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs), 33, a three-time Brazilian Olympian and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, lost his second world title fight, although many viewed him as an uncrowned champion because of a controversial decision loss to then-WBC titlist Oscar Valdez last September, after which Valdez went on to lose a lopsided decision to Stevenson in a unification fight on April 30.
With his performance, Stevenson said he felt like he said he sent a message to the deep and talented lightweight division, which includes fighters such as undisputed champion Devin Haney, former titleholders George Kambosos Jr. and Vasiliy Lomachenko, and secondary titleholder Gervonta “Tank” Davis, among others.
“Everybody at 135 got to get it,” Stevenson said, adding that he would fight “anybody.”
He would, of course, prefer to challenge Haney, who is also with Top Rank. However, he meets Kambosos in a rematch on Oct. 15 and then, assuming Haney wins and Lomachenko wins a fight scheduled on Oct. 29, they are likely to meet in the first quarter of 2023.
So while a title shot at lightweight is unlikely in the near future, that is Stevenson’s goal.
“We gotta fight the champ. Set it up. Me and Devin can lock in,” said Stevenson, who is also a former featherweight titleholder “After he fights Kambosos, let’s get it on. I’ll fight Lomachenko, too.”
Davis dominates, stops Tienda
In the eight-round co-feature, top lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis dominated, dropped and stopped Omar Tienda in the fifth round.
“Honestly, it felt like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe I got a chance to perform (on a card of this) magnitude again being that I was out with health issues,” said Davis, who had not boxed since winning on Stevenson’s last undercard in April due to illness. “I didn’t really know what to expect in myself, but I always said since I went pro, God has me. And he definitely had me tonight.”
Davis (6-0, 5 KOs), 23, of Norfolk, Virginia, who claimed a silver medal at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, repeatedly hurt Tienda with his right hand beginning in the first round when he appeared to drop him one in the closing moments of the round but referee Earl Brown ruled it a slip.
Now being trained by Brian McIntyre and in the Terence Crawford camp, Davis was in control throughout the fight and an apparently frustrated Tienda, who landed almost nothing of note, threw him to the mat in the fourth round and took a stern warning for the infraction from Brown.
In the fifth round, Davis caught Tienda with yet another fight hand and dropped him to all fours. Tienda beat the count but Davis was all over him in a follow-up attack, smashing him with about 10 unanswered punches and snapping his head back, which forced Brown to stop the fight at 1 minute, 38 seconds.
“We’re working toward becoming a contender,” Davis said. “My next fight will put me in that process faster. Then next year, we’re definitely going to be contending, and we’re going to be top 10, for sure.”
Tienda (25-6, 18 KOs), 34, of Mexico, had a seven-fight winning streak and suffered his second knockout loss and first since 2013.