Shakur Stevenson vies for the interim version of the WBO Super Featherweight title against Namibia’s Jermiah Nakathila over twelve rounds.
2016 Olympic Silver Medallist, Stevenson (15-0, KO8) has already ruled as a WBO champion at Featherweight, and he now contests the interim bauble at the weight above.
The victor will hope that the title will put them in pole position towards a meeting with full WBO champion, Jamel Herring, or WBC king, Oscar Valdez, with the two belt holders slated to meet this year.
Virginia-based Stevenson lost in the Olympic final in Rio to the excellent Robeisy Ramirez, but has built a solid, unbeaten record as a professional.
The breakout win came in his ninth fight, when he floored respected contender, Viorel Simion, three times in a one round hammering in October 2018.
Three further wins for fringe ranking building belts gave 23-year-old a shot at the vacant WBO Featherweight title in October 2019, and ‘Fearless’ dominated the previously unbeaten Joet Gonzalez in a wide win on the cards.
Stevenson’s last two appearances came with a move up in weight, and, after a one sided sixth round knockout of Felix Caraballo, Shakur’s last fight came in December 2020, winning every round of ten against Toka Kahn Clary in Las Vegas.
Nakathila (21-1, KO17) has only made one previous trip out of Namibia that resulted in his sole career defeat to date, a November 2016 majority decision loss in Russia to Evgeny Chuprakov for the WBO Intercontinental belt.
The 31-year-old has since won ten on the bounce back in his homeland, and has picked up WBO Africa and Global trinkets along the way. His last outing also came in December 2020, scoring a second round knockout against Emmanuel Amos in a second defence of his Global belt.
Prediction: Stevenson can get better and better, the better that his opposition is, so I wouldn’t rule out a going through the motions type affair here.
Shakur may score an early knockdown, but will likely have to go to the final bell to get his hand raised.
The undercard is headed by Top Rank regular Jose Pedraza (28-3, KO13), and the Puerto Rican ‘Sniper’ takes on unbeaten New Jersey native, Julian Rodriguez (21-0, KO14), over ten rounds at Super Lightweight.
Pedraza has reigned as world champion at Super Featherweight and Lightweight, but has lost two of his last five bouts, and hasn’t looked the same force at ten stone.
Jose lost his debut at the weight on the cards against Jose Zepeda, but has won his last two, a wide points win over Mick LesPierre in July 2020, before doing the same against Javier Molina in his last appearance.
Rodriguez makes a big step up in class, having never been past eight rounds previously.
The 26-year-old was scheduled for ten in his last two contests, but they ended in a one round halting of Anthony Laureano, and, last time out, in a third round stoppage of Jose Eduardo Lopez Rodriguez in October 2020.
Pedraza still has the experience and know-how to take a win on points in this one.
Tyler McCreary (16-1-1, KO7) was last seen at the back end of 2019, dominated over ten rounds against Carl Frampton, and the Toledo, Ohio man takes part in a Super Featherweight eight rounder against the experienced Manuel Rey Rojas (20-5, KO6).
Rojas is pretty much a spoiler, and has only been stopped once, so McCreary will likely need the distance for the win.
Puerto Rican sensation, Xander Zayas (8-0, KO6) also features, and he takes on ‘Lethal’ Larry Fryers (11-3, KO4) over a scheduled six rounds at Welterweight.
Zayas should be able to remove the Irishman inside the scheduled distance.
Another Puerto Rican in action is John Bauza (14-0, KO5), and ‘El Terrible’ meets Christon Edwards (12-2, KO6), who is on a run of six straight wins.
Bauza can come through on the cards in this Super Lightweight encounter.
Robert Garcia trained Bryan Lua (7-0, KO3) should have enough to see off fellow unbeaten, Frevian Gonzalez (4-0, KO1) in their six rounder at Super Featherweight, he may need the distance though.
Troy Isley (1-0, KO0) should make it two from two in his Middleweight four rounder with LaQuan Evans (4-1, KO2), while Jahi Tucker (3-0, KO2) can halt Ysrael Barboza (3-1-1, KO3) inside the four round distance at Welterweight.
Kasir ‘Mazzi’ Goldston makes his debut, and the USA amateur starlet can outscore Maurice Anthony (3-1, KO3) over four, also at Welterweight.