Shakur Stevenson returned to Newark, New Jersey, intending to treat 10,107 hometown fans at the Prudential Center to a victory over challenger Robson Conceição of Brazil by their WBC/WBA unified world junior lightweight champion.
Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) delivered a dominant decision win over Conceição of Brazil (17-2, 8 KOs). Scores read 118-109 and 117-109 twice. But he's no longer a champion. Stevenson lost his titles on the scales before the opening bell rang. Stevenson blew through the weight limit by 1.6 pounds.
“I had a long week. I killed myself to make weight. All I wanted to do is come in here and perform. I did everything I could to do that,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson reported having difficulty making the weight light for his last bout but did it and thought I could do it again. He vacated the belts and will move up to the lightweight division, where mouthwatering matchups await him.
Conceição decided to move forward with the fight for the opportunity to win the newly vacant titles. Early in the bout, his hand speed was impressive. But Stevenson's hand speed is just that much better, and his defense is so well developed his opponents struggle to find the target.
Firepower Added To Defensive Dominance
Increasingly, Stevenson is also willing to engage in sizzling offensive firepower. As he matures, he gains strength and becomes more comfortable using it. Once Stevenson got a better handle on Conceição's unpredictability and unconventional punch delivery, he did damage. He landed a left to the body for the one knockdown in the bout at the very end of the fourth round after landing 17 body shots in the round.
Stevenson landed a career-high 199 total punches, 75 to the body. But they weren't enough to get the stoppage, so Stevenson settled for the decision.
“I'm just a dominating individual,” said Stevenson. “I tried to beat him up all night. I did everything I could. I think he was doing a lot of holding when I got to the inside. That was part of the reason. He's real awkward. He's real tough. He knows how to survive.”
Conceição was worn down enough to cause concern for his corner and the ringside physician. He stayed in the fight, believing in himself to find an opportunity to turn things around by landing a game-changing punch.
Lightweight Competition Ahead for Stevenson
Stevenson needs to temper his tendency toward low blows. In a more competitive fight, it could cause him trouble. Referee David Fields warned him twice about the stray shots. Fields eventually took a point from Stevenson in the ninth round due to a hip toss to the ground by Stevenson when he became frustrated at being tied up by Conceição. This is where Stevenson's flashes of temper get the better of him.
Conceição deserves every bit of respect for taking the fight when he was within his rights to withdraw and, in theory, maintain his standing as the WBO's number two contender. “Respect to him,” said Steveson, although he added Conceição wasn't going to give up the paycheck.
Stevenson said he's ready for unified lightweight champion Devin Haney, who has a date on October 15 in Australia for his rematch against George Kambosos Jr. and is expected to face Vasiliy Lomachenko. “I'll fight Lomachekno too!” said Stevenson.
All Business for Keyshawn Davis
Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn “The Businessman” Davis of Norfolk, Virginia (6-0, 5 KOs) seized the moment when it came, blasting out veteran Omar Tienda of Mexico (25-5, 18 KOs) at 1:38 of the fifth round for a TKO win in Friday's co-main event. In the early rounds, Davis remained content to wait and work for the perfect opening behind a snaking jab and swift, sharp right hands.
Johnson called it a “dream come true,” especially after several delays returning to the ring due to illness. “I didn't really know what to expect from myself,” said Johnson.
Johnson's mature, patient approach is impressive this early in his pro career. He didn't get anxious and swarm Tienda and put himself at risk of damage or injury. He created the right opening to knock down Tienda with a right high on the head. When Tienda got up, Davis had all the firepower needed to finish Tienda with multiple hard right hooks to the head from both sides.
Now training under Brian “Bomac” McIntire, Johnson gave him all the credit. “Tonight, I give credit to Bomac. He said, ‘You're walking to him a lot. Let that man come to you. Set him up and hit him with a shot.' That's exactly what I did. I let him walk right into the right hand. Next thing I know, he was on the ground.” Johnson said he's also benefitted from training alongside world champion Terence Crawford in the same gym.
Undercard Results From Newark
Henry Lebron of Puerto Rico (17-0, 10 KOs) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision in eight rounds against veteran Andy Vences of San Jose, California (23-4-1, 12 KOs) for a minor WBO Latino junior lightweight belt.
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (5-0, 3 KOs) of Brooklyn had to fight one-handed for half his six-round bout at featherweight against Jose Luis Sanchez of Albuquerque (11-3-1, 4 KOs). He still won a shutout victory with all scores 80-72. Carrington might have hoped for a flashier performance at home, but being forced to bite down and carry on provides something more valuable: experience over adversity.
Pablo Valdez of New York (7-0, 6 KOs) put an exclamation point on his victory over Noe Alejandro Lopez of Jalisco, Mexico (11-6-1, 4 KOs) with a vicious liver shot at 2:45 of the fourth round.
Featherweight Misael Lopez of Mexico (14-1, 5 KOs) delivered an upset in a comeback fight after his first loss over Orlando Gonzalez of Puerto Rico (18-2, 11 KOs). Lopez ground out a unanimous decision by scores of 78-74, 79-73, 78-74, and 77-75. Lopez is managed by recently retired former world champion Jamel Herring, who watched from ringside with a Mexican flag on his shoulder and jumped into the ring to celebrate with Lopez after hearing the scores.
Flashy prospect Floyd “Cash Flow” Diaz of The Bronx (8-0, 2 KOs) got more of a test than he expected from Juan Hernandez of Mexico (2-2-1). Diaz landed leather early and scored a knockdown at the end of the fourth round, but he took some hard shots from Hernandez, who refused to lay down easily. Scores were 58-55 X 2 and 59-54.