Shakur Stevenson has been searching, and searching, for a willing dance partner at 135 pounds, one who is willing to face him in a final elimination bout for the WBC lightweight title.
Guys like Isaac Cruz, William Zepeda and George Kambosos Jr declined to take on the unbeaten southpaw who won world titles at featherweight and super-featherweight, so Stevenson has kept on going down the line as far as the rankings go.
Now, according to an ESPN article, Stevenson, 19-0(9) – and for some fans, quite a few in fact, the next superstar of the lower-weight divisions – has at last found a rival who is willing to rumble with him. Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino, 16-0(12) has agreed to the fight and a deal is being worked on at time of writing, the fight to take place on April 8 at a site to be determined.
The 31 year old Yoshino has never before fought outside of his homeland and he will no doubt be a pretty stiff underdog against Stevenson, but this is an interesting fight. And kudos go out to Yoshino for agreeing to take it when those other fighters never did (to be fair to Kambosos Jr, he says he is taking a well-deserved vacation right now, with the former unified lightweight champ stating how he feels he may fight Stevenson at the end of the year).
Yoshino, a pro since December of 2015, hits hard, he has an exciting style, and he is coming off a good KO win over Masayoshi Nakatini (who defeated Felix Verdejo and then took on the mighty Vasiliy Lomachenko, Nakatini being outclassed but showing real heart in the fight).
You can look for Yoshino to give it his all in a genuine go for it effort in the Stevenson fight. Boxing is huge in Japan right now, and Yoshino will not want to let his country down. Again, the hungry for greatness Stevenson will be the big fave to win the fight, but Yoshino should make it just that – a fight.