Undefeated boxer Shakur Stevenson is looking to add a world title under his name as he goes up against Shuichiro Yoshino this coming April 8.
After acquiring the WBC and WBO world super featherweight belts, Stevenson, 25, will venture into the lightweight division. Unfortunately last year, he was stripped of his titles due to being one and a half pounds over the limit of 130.
Returning to the ring, he will face Japan’s pride, Shuichiro Yoshino, for the vacant WBC world lightweight crown.
Yoshino, 31, recently acquired the WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight belt from Masayoshi Nakatani via knockout.
Both fighters have yet to taste defeat, and their coming match is expected to be epic. Prediction from OKBET is slated in favor of Stevenson, having a 1.06 odds. Yoshino, on the other hand, is the underdog, having 7.50.
High Expectations at Shakur Stevenson
Many sports analysts believe Shakur Stevenson will win the fight against Shuichiro Yoshino. Despite being his first test at the 135lbs division, the talented boxer is expected to pass it with flying colors.
Although he only has a 47.37% knockout percentage, Stevenson is a master at controlling the range and rhythm of the fight. He uses his lead hand to bait opponents to lower their guard, resulting in good solid punches.
The southpaw boxer is also adept at using his reach (173 cm). An expert at long-range, Stevenson can keep his target thinking twice about taking the fight close range.
His footwork is also excellent. His steps are calculated, creating a seamless in and out of his opponent’s reach.
When it comes to counterpunching, Stevenson is also good at it. It was displayed in total during his fight against Oscar Valdez.
To add to his arsenal, the two-time world champion is good at playing mind games, causing frustration to his opponents. In boxing, a distracted boxer is always prone to making mistakes. In Stevenson’s case, he thrives on those mistakes.
Shuichiro Yoshino Bound to Lose… But
Shuichiro Yoshino is the clear underdog going into this April 8 match. According to Aye Yo Boxing with Madiba, one of the reasons is his preferred defense—the high guard.
Despite having a tight high defense, Shakur Stevenson can easily break down the high guard using his ruthless combinations.
Whether Yoshino’s defense is a liability, he is not one to be underestimated. The 31-year-old Japanese boxer stands at 5’9”—much taller than Stevenson.
They are also equal in reach, with Yoshino also having 173 cm. However, the only difference is that the Japanese is a much stronger puncher.
As a WBO Asia Pacific Light champion, Yoshino has 12 knockouts in his 16 bouts. His latest fight against Masayoshi Nakatani in Super Arena, Saitama, ended in a knockout.
Unlike Stevenson’s knockout efficacy of 47.37%, Yoshino’s has 75%. This puts the American fighter at a disadvantage.
His preference to fight at long range will be impossible since the Japanese boxer has the same reach as him. Yoshino is also good at infighting, meaning Stevenson must deal with him at close range.
An example is his fight with Nakatani, who kept his distance from Yoshino. He found success in the first two rounds. However, the current WBO light champion took the following rounds into close range.
Shuichiro Yoshino: Shakur Stevenson’s Greatest Test
Stevenson is moving up to the weight category. While his last two fights in the 130-lb division were nothing short but disappointing, Yoshino will surely put the American’s boxing skills to the test.
April 8 will most likely be an entertaining fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, United Kingdom. Expect that the odds will change at OKBET as match day inches closer.