A superb looking unification match heads a Top Rank card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday night, as WBC super featherweight champion, Oscar Valdez meets WBO ruler Shakur Stevenson in a battle of unbeaten talents.
Sky Sports televise live Valdez vs Stevenson in the UK, with ESPN the US broadcaster.
Mexico’s super talented Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) is a two-weight world champion, having first ruled as WBO featherweight champion in 2016, winning the vacant title with a second round stoppage win over Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda.
The 31-year-old made six successful defences before moving up to super featherweight, and in his first contest at the weight, a ten round WBC title eliminator against the little fancied Adam Lopez, Valdez found himself on the deck in in round two, before dropping and stopping the American in the seventh in a difficult baptism in the division.
A stoppage win over Jayson Velez lead to a shot at the WBC belt, and Valdez put in a career-best display, ruthlessly knocking out Miguel Berchelt in ten rounds after having his countryman on the floor three times during the bout.
His first defence came in September 2021, and it was a difficult nights’ work before he outscored Olympic Gold Medallist, Robson Conceicao.
He now faces another Olympian, but a gifted talent in 2016 Silver Medallist, Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs).
The Virginia native is also a two-weight world champion, and became WBO featherweight champion in just his 13th contest, taking the vacant belt that Valdez had left behind with a wide points win over Joet Gonzalez.
The 24-year-old southpaw has barely lost a round in his career to date, and took the WBO belt at super featherweight in his last fight, in October 2021, dominating and overwhelming Jamel Herring, winning every round on two cards before finally stopping ‘Semper Fi’ in the tenth in Atlanta.
Prediction: Although Valdez is a formidable opponent for anyone, this feels like it could be a real coming out party for Stevenson, who has been itching to show the world just how good he is, and that started against Herring in his last fight. I think Stevenson can dominate, before grinding Valdez down in the championship rounds.
2020 Olympic Silver Medallist, Keyshawn Davis (4-0, 3 KOs) is in action, and ‘The Businessman’ should have too much for Mexico’s Esteban Sanchez (18-1, 8 KOs), a man with a deceiving record having never fought outside of his homeland.
Prediction: Davis should take this lightweight contest inside schedule.
Ali Walsh features
21-year-old grandson of the legend Muhammad Ali, Nico Ali Walsh (4-0, 3 KOs) takes part in his fifth paid bout, and the middleweight should be able to stop Alejandro Ibarra (7-1, 2 KOs), who was halted in his only defeat to date.
Raymond Muratalla (13-0, 11 KOs) is building a name for himself, and the Californian lightweight comes up against the durable Jeremy Hill (16-2, 11 KOs), who hasn’t previously been stopped. Muratalla may need the late rounds to do the job.
Andres Cortes (16-0, 9 KOs) should remain unbeaten, and the super featherweight can snap the six fight unbeaten streak of Mexican, Alexis del Bosque (18-5-1, 9 KOs) with a points success.
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18-year-old lightweight prospect, Abdullah Mason (1-0, 1 KO) should stop Luciano Ramos (1-2), and also at lightweight, Charlie Sheehy (2-0, 2 KOs), can do the same against Burnell Jenkins (2-1, 1 KO).
Super lightweight, Antoine Cobb (1-0, 1 KO) should also taste early victory against Jaylan Phillips (1-2, 1 KO).