Shakur Stevenson dominates Oscar Valdez to win second title by way of unanimous determination

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LAS VEGAS — Shakur Stevenson jogged across the ring together with his fingers held excessive because the seconds ticked away on the largest evening of his profession.

For 12 rounds, he virtually performed with Oscar Valdez in what turned out to be an utter mismatch within the ESPN principal occasion on Saturday evening earlier than 10,102 at MGM Grand Backyard Enviornment. Stevenson is solely that good.

He used a superb southpaw jab, among the best weapons in boxing, to maintain Valdez at vary and arrange his personal highly effective left hand to the physique. The unanimous-decision victory by scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 118-109 handed Stevenson a second title at 130 kilos.

“I am a celebrity on this sport,” mentioned Stevenson, 24. “I wish to accumulate all of the belts at 130 and develop into undisputed. I should be a celebrity, so that is what I gotta do.”

Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) floored Valdez in Spherical 6 with a cuffing proper hook that despatched him stumbling into the ropes, earlier than a second proper hand knocked him to the canvas when he was already off-balance.

The defensive-minded Stevenson pressed ahead and unloaded energy pictures in an try to complete the battle, however Valdez survived, simply as he did when he suffered knockdowns in three earlier bouts.

“I instructed myself, ‘I am gonna shut [Valdez’s fans] up,’ and because the battle went on I heard crickets,” Stevenson mentioned.

Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) merely could not discover his well past Stevenson’s jab. The hand velocity and measurement disparity additionally made issues robust for Valdez, who normally threw one punch at a time, whereas Stevenson strung collectively combos.

Valdez seemingly looked for one fight-ending haymaker, just like the one he scored final February to knock out Miguel Berchelt and win the WBC junior light-weight title, however that type of shot by no means got here near materializing.

“He was simply the higher fighter this evening,” mentioned Valdez, 31. “He did what he needed to do to win the battle. He is a terrific fighter. His velocity is there, energy is there.”

Valdez lunged ahead behind a excessive guard and caught a lot of Stevenson’s pictures on his gloves, however each time he inched nearer, Stevenson took a step backward and unleashed a number of extra jabs. Stevenson typically combined in a straight left to the physique, a punch that scored again and again.

One other left to the midsection shocked Valdez in Spherical 10, however Stevenson was much more affected person this time, content material to pile up rounds en path to the choice win.

The career-best efficiency adopted Stevenson’s win over Jamel Herring in October, which marked his first battle in opposition to a reigning titleholder. Towards Herring, Stevenson used an aggressive assault that featured loads of strain on his method to a Tenth-round TKO victory.

The win made Stevenson a two-division champion — like Valdez, he additionally gained a title at 126 kilos — and established him as ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 130 kilos. Valdez beforehand was rated No. 1 however was faraway from the rankings after he examined constructive for the banned substance phentermine.

Regardless of the adversarial discovering in August, Valdez was allowed to defend his title in opposition to Robson Conceicao in September, a battle he gained by way of unanimous determination.

“I am not a cheater. By no means have been. By no means wanted it,” Valdez, 31, instructed ESPN’s Mark Kriegel in September. “Lots of people saying, ‘You are a cheater. You are utilizing steroids. You got here again constructive.’ It is simply, it is heartbreaking for me.”

Now, Valdez should deal with the primary lack of his skilled profession, however he might discover his method to one other title shot quickly. Stevenson holds two of the division’s fours belts and mentioned he goals to develop into undisputed junior light-weight champion. It is also potential, Stevenson mentioned, that he’ll transfer as much as light-weight for his subsequent battle.

At 135 kilos, he might discover himself matched with Devin Haney sooner or later. Haney is about to battle George Kambosos for the undisputed light-weight championship on June 4 in Australia. Haney was ringside in Las Vegas after signing a multi-fight cope with High Rank, the corporate that promotes each Valdez and Stevenson.

“Devin is certainly an enormous battle for me; Devin is a helluva fighter. We are able to line it up sooner or later,” mentioned Stevenson, an Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey.

He added: “You line ’em up, title ’em, I am prepared for whoever.”

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