Stevenson, the WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine champion, puts his hardware on the line against 2016 Olympic gold Brazilian medalist Robson Conceição on Friday, Sept. 23, at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The eight-round lightweight bout will co-feature Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis, returning to the ring with an opponent to be named.
“The sensational Shakur Stevenson is a once-in-a-generation boxing talent, and he’s back home in Newark as a world champion against a worthy contender in Robson Conceição,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I also can’t wait to see young talents like Keyshawn Davis and Bruce Carrington perform on such a significant card.”
Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) returns to the Rock following a stellar performance in April over Oscar Valdez. He unified two junior lightweight titles in a near-shutout over 12 rounds and moved up in rank. Stevenson wears the city of Newark not only on his garments but bleeds it—wining the WBO junior lightweight last October with a knockout over long-reigning champion Jamel Herring. Since winning a silver medal in eighteen professional fights at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Stevenson has lost some rounds but his quick hands and the way he is able to dodge punches make him the sport’s premier defensive practitioner. The southpaw showman comes back to Brick City intending to put on a show for his home crowd fans.
“Prudential Center is incredibly proud to partner once again with Top Rank and ESPN to host Newark’s own Shakur Stevenson in his homecoming bout, as he defends his junior lightweight world titles in this exciting matchup versus Robson Conceição”, said Dylan Wanagiel, VP of Sports Properties & Special Events for Prudential Center. “Having Shakur back home means a great deal to this city, as his presence alone is an inspiration to our next generation. We look forward to another historic night as we add to the rich history of combat sports in our great state of New Jersey. We welcome all fight aficionados to join the unique excitement of a Newark crowd, which we will share with the worldwide audiences of ESPN and ESPN Deportes.”
Stevenson said, “I’m coming home to Newark and I’m back as a unified champion. I’ve always proudly represented Newark, and I’m ready to perform in front of my hometown fans at Prudential Center on September 23. Robson Conceição gave Oscar Valdez a tough fight. A lot of people felt like he won, but we’ll see how good he really is when he fights me.”
Conceição (17-1, 8 KOs) made history as Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medalist, turning pro under the Top Rank heading less than three months after the 2016 Rio Games. He entered the Valdez fight last September with a 16-0 record, but the boxing pundits gave him little shot at beating the champion. Conceição lost a close points verdict but he proved himself as a very worthy title opponent. After the Valdez bout, he traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and upset the previously undefeated Xavier Martinez over 10 rounds. Conceição, who fought Valdez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Joe Cordina and Josh Taylor as an amateur, now gets the chance to battle another skilled and crafty world champion.
Conceição said, “Shakur Stevenson is an excellent athlete and has my respect for everything he has accomplished. Our paths are crossing, and there will only be one champion. I guarantee the best performance of my life. It will be the fight of the year and a great show for the audience and my Brazilian fans, the ones that never give up!”
Davis (5-0, 4 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, put on a show in the Stevenson-Valdez co-feature, knocking out Esteban Sanchez in six. The 23-year-old nicknamed “The Businessman,” is a budding star who has yet to lose a round in the paid ranks. Davis ran through the lightweight bracket until the championship bout, where he lost a tough decision to Cuban boxer Andy Cruz.
The undercard, streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+, is highlighted by the fifth professional outing of featherweight Bruce Carrington, who comes from Brownsville, Brooklyn. Carrington (4-0, 3 KOs) will fight Chilean veteran Jose Argel (8-4, 2 KOs) in a six-round bout. Carrington has won three straight by knockout since turning pro with a decision victory last October on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III undercard.
Mayor Ras Baraka was in attendance and mentioned: “no matter where Shakur Stevenson goes he reps the city of Newark the right way. He represent Newark with his garments in the ring as well in his heart and I’m very proud of him.”
In other undercard action:
Long Island-born welterweight prospect Jahi Tucker (8-0, 5 KOs) steps up in weight class against New Mexico’s Jose Luis Sanchez (11-2-1, 4 KOs) in a six-rounder. Sanchez went the distance against top junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas last September.
A pair of Puerto Rican contenders, junior lightweight Henry “Moncho” Lebron (16-0, 10 KOs) and featherweight Orlando Gonzalez (18-1, 11 KOs), will see action in separate eight-rounders.
Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (6-0, 2 KOs), from The Bronx, N.Y., fights in a six-rounder at junior featherweight, while Puerto Rican prospect Armani Almestica (6-0, 6 KOs) goes for his seventh knockout in a six-rounder at lightweight.
Popular New York City welterweight Pablo Valdez (6-0, 5 KOs) makes his 2022 debut in a six-rounder.
Stevenson-Conceição and Davis’ bout will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ (simulcast) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets starting at $50 go on sale TODAY, July 25, at 2 p.m. ET and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.