There will be huge boxing action in New Jersey this weekend, as Shakur Stevenson makes his return to the ring. The American was last in action in September of last year, as he successfully defended his WBC, WBO, and The Ring super featherweight titles. This will be the American’s first effort in the lightweight division, but Shuichiro Yoshino will be out to make a name for himself.
This may be Stevenson’s first fight in the lightweight division, but he is heavily expected to pick up the victory in the WBC eliminator. The American is currently available at 1/20 in the BetXchange two-way betting market, with Shuichiro Yoshino available at a huge price of 6/1.
Meanwhile, in the three-way betting for the fight, the American is priced up at 1/14, with the outsider available at 7/1. The draw is the most unlikely outcome, according to the odds, with that selection available at 22/1.
Stevenson Targeting Immediate Success
There are few more dynamic fighters in the world than Stevenson, and the American will be chasing a dream to become a two-weight world champion in 2023. He was the dominant force throughout his career in the super featherweight division, having held the WBO title since June 2021. Stevenson first held the interim gold after a points win over Jeremiah Nakathila, before capturing the full title with a dominant tenth-round stoppage against Jamel Herring in October 2021.
Stevenson successfully defended the title on two further occasions before stepping up a division, with both victories being recorded by unanimous decision against Oscar Valdez and Robson Conceicao. However, after the latter of those wins, he made his announcement that he would be stepping into the lightweight division for the first time.
Yoshino Aiming For Unlikely Win
The odds for the fight indicate just how much of an outsider Yoshino is for this bout. The Japanese fighter is no stranger to winning gold throughout his career, as he landed the WBO Asia Pacific title in 2020. He has held the title ever since, and is now ranked as the ninth best lightweight in the world by BoxRec. He has been incredibly consistent throughout his career, with all 16 career starts ending in victory. Twelve of those wins have been scored by knockout, including each of the previous three.
Yoshino retained the WBO Asia Pacific lightweight title at the end of 2022, as he scored a stunning sixth-round stoppage victory over Masayoshi Nakatani. However, this will be the first time that he has fought outside of his home country, and has clashed with a non-Japanese rival. It will be fascinating to see how he performs, but this does appear to be a considerable step up in opposition.
Shakur Stevenson vs Shuichiro Yoshino Prediction
This will be a huge opportunity for Yoshino to showcase his skills to the world. However, we struggle to overlook Stevenson in this first fight in the lightweight division. We expect the American to have to work hard to score the win, but we could see the success being recorded via a late stoppage.