Shakur Stevenson may have lost his WBO and WBC junior lightweight titles on the scales when he missed weight for his fight with Robson Conceicao, but he dominated the action in the ring The Newark, New Jersey native ended his junior lightweight career with a dominant decision victory in front of his hometown.
Stevenson was forced to vacate the titles after failing to make weight on Thursday and immediately made it clear he would be moving up to lightweight. Having maybe lost some points with the boxing public for his failed cut, Stevenson made sure to turn in a gem of a performance as he outlanded Conceicao by nearly 140 total punches.
Stevenson was more aggressive early than in some past fights, which got him labeled as a "boring fighter" by some. Conceicao's style played into Stevenson's wishes as the former Olympic gold medalist whipped wild right hands that allowed Stevenson to easily avoid eating clean punches while landing thudding counters.
Stevenson, one of the most masterful defensive fighters in the sport, made adjustments as the rounds ticked by, seeing Conceicao's lack of effective output and high guard as an opportunity to dig to the body with left hands from his southpaw stance. That work to the body paid off in a big way in the closing seconds of the fourth round as he scored a delayed knockdown.
The body shots would continue to come from Stevenson until Conceicao's guard dropped enough to open up cleaner shots to the head, which Stevenson happily took advantage of.
In Round 9, Stevenson was deducted a point for slamming Conceicao to the ground during an awkward clinch. The moment was a reaction to the one frustration Stevenson had in the fight as he frequently complained about Conceicao's roughhouse tactics in the clinch. He would again toss Conceicao to the canvas in Round 10 but did not lose a point for the infraction the second time around.
Round after round played out the same, with Conceicao unable to find Stevenson as Stevenson piled up a dramatic advantage in punches landed, all leading to wide scorecards of 117-109, 117-109 and 118-108 at the conclusion of 12 rounds. Stevenson landed 199 total punches -- 75 to the body -- to just 60 total for Conceicao.
After the fight, Stevenson addressed what is next in his career as he will move up to join a deep and dangerous lightweight division.
"We gotta fight the champ. Set it up," Haney said. "Me and [undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney], we can lock it in after he fights Kambosos. Let's get it on. I'll [fight] Lomachenko, too."
For Conceicao, this was his second chance to win a world title, having previously lost to Oscar Valdez in a bid for the WBC junior lightweight crown. He could have accepted his full fight purse and walked away when Stevenson missed weight and he would have likely ended up in a fight for the WBC title Haney was forced to vacate.