Shakur Stevenson’s next opponent is “close” to being finalized, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger, who reports that a deal between Stevenson and Robson Conceicao would see them land on Friday, Sept. 23, in Shakur’s hometown of Newark, N.J.
Stevenson (18-0, 9 KO) has the WBC and WBO titles at 130 lbs, winning the WBO from Jamel Herring last October and unifying by taking the WBC from Oscar Valdez in late April.
Both fights were dominant performances from the 24-year-old, who has clearly grabbed the No. 1 spot at 130 lbs in all independent rankings lists — in short, he is seen as The Man in the division.
Conceicao (17-1, 8 KO) is probably the best immediate option for Stevenson. The 33-year-old Brazilian got a shot against Valdez himself last September, and came up short on the cards.
That much itself was debatable, not to mention that Valdez had drug test issues before the fight. Conceicao filed a complaint with the WBC, and a judge who scored it 117-110 for Valdez apologized and said he should have scored it closer for Valdez.
Conceicao returned to action in January, dominating previously-unbeaten Xavier Martinez over 10 rounds in a Top Rank main event from Tulsa, and kept himself in the conversation.
Now, we have a meeting of the 2016 Olympic bantamweight silver medalist from the U.S. and the 2016 Olympic lightweight gold medalist from Brazil on tap.
All in all, it’s probably as good a fight as was going to get put together to get Stevenson back in the ring this fall, and really, there’s not anyone else in the division who’s much better an opponent for him, period. Further unification with Joe Cordina or the Gutierrez-Garcia winner would have a stronger marketing gimmick, but again probably not by as much as you might think there, either.