Shakur Stevenson lost his WBO and WBC junior lightweight titles on the scales after failing to make weight for his fight with Robson Conceicao, but he dominated the action in the ring. In front of his hometown, the Newark, New Jersey native finished his junior lightweight career with a dominant decision victory.
Stevenson was forced to relinquish the titles after failing to make weight on Thursday, and he quickly announced that he would be moving up to lightweight. Stevenson made sure to turn in a gem of a performance, outlands Conceicao by nearly 140 total punches, despite possibly losing some points with the boxing public due to his failed cut.
He was more aggressive early than in previous fights, prompting some to label him a “boring fighter.” Conceicao’s style suited Stevenson’s preferences, as the former Olympic gold medallist whipped wild right hands, allowing Stevenson to easily avoid eating clean punches while landing thudding counters.
Stevenson, a masterful defensive fighter, made adjustments as the rounds progressed, seeing Conceicao’s lack of effective output and high guard as an opportunity to dig to the body with left hands from his southpaw stance. That bodywork paid off big time in the final seconds of the fourth round when he scored a delayed knockdown, his body shots would continue until Conceicao’s guard dropped enough to allow for cleaner shots to the head, which Stevenson gladly took advantage of.
In Round 9, Stevenson has docked a point for slamming Conceicao to the ground during an awkward clinch. The exchange was a reaction to Stevenson’s one annoyance in the fight, which was Conceicao’s roughhouse tactics in the clinch. He’d toss Conceicao to the canvas again in Round 10, but this time he didn’t lose a point for the infraction.
Round after round, Conceicao was unable to find Stevenson as Stevenson piled up a dramatic advantage in punches landed, all of which led to wide scorecards of 117-109, 117-109, and 118-108 at the end of 12 rounds. Stevenson landed 199 total punches, 75 of which were to the body, compared to Conceicao’s total of 60.
Stevenson addressed what comes next in his career after the fight, stating that he will move up to join a deep and dangerous lightweight division.
“We have to take on the champion. Set it up, please “Haney stated. “We can finalize it after [undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney] fights Kambosos. Let’s get this party started. I’ll also face Lomachenko.” Conceicao was competing for his second world title, having previously lost to Oscar Valdez in a bid for the WBC junior lightweight title. He could have accepted his full fight purse and walked away when Stevenson failed to make weight, and he would have ended up fighting for the WBC title Haney was forced to relinquish.