Shakur Stevenson will attempt to become a three-weight world champion when he takes on Dominican puncher Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight world title Thursday, Nov. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the world championship co-feature, Mexico’s Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete defends his WBO junior lightweight strap against Brazilian two-time world title challenger Robson Conceicao.
This world title twofer — broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT — kicks off the highly anticipated race week in Las Vegas.
“This is a huge week for Las Vegas and a tremendous platform for Shakur Stevenson to show, once again, why he is well on his way to reigning as the sport’s pound-for-pound king,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Many fighters turned down the opportunity, but Edwin De Los Santos eagerly accepted. Emanuel Navarrete and Robson Conceição fighting for supremacy at 130 pounds adds to a spectacular card that is loaded from top to bottom.”
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), from Newark, New Jersey, won titles in two divisions in his first five years in the paid ranks. After earning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, he debuted as pro in 2017 and compiled a 12-0 record before toppling Joet Gonzalez to win the vacant WBO featherweight world championship in October 2019. Two years later, he captured the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round TKO over Jamel Herring before adding the WBC strap to his collection with a 12-round decision over Oscar Valdez in April 2022. The 26-year-old southpaw defeated Conceição last September before moving up to lightweight and scoring a sixth-round stoppage win over Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in April.
Stevenson said, “Edwin De Los Santos is a good fighter and he’s going to come to fight. I give him credit for actually taking this fight when so many other so-called ‘fighters’ ran from it. I’m the biggest boogeyman in boxing, and on November 16, the world will see why when I put on another great performance for the fans. Come out to T-Mobile Arena or tune in to ESPN and watch me become a three-division world champion.”
De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) is a hard-hitting southpaw from the Dominican Republic. He debuted in 2018 and notched his first 13 victories in his home country. In his U.S. debut, he suffered a razor-thin split decision loss to William Foster III. He hasn’t lost a fight since. In 2022, he took two unbeaten records, knocking out Luis Acosta with a left hand in the second round and dropping Jose Valenzuela twice before stopping him in round three. In his last fight, De Los Santos dominated Joseph Adorno over 10 rounds in July. This will be De Los Santos’ first shot at a world title.
De Los Santos said, “I want to thank Top Rank, the WBC, ESPN and my promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, for this opportunity to put on a great fight and win my first world championship. I am a proud Dominican warrior who fights for my people! Shakira, I’m going to kick your ass."
Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) captured his first world title by defeating Isaac Dogboe for the WBO junior featherweight crown in December 2018. He made five defenses before moving up to featherweight, where he beat Ruben Villa for the vacant WBO title in October 2020. The 28-year-old defended his belt three times before moving up to 130 pounds. In February, Navarrete became a three-division champion by defeating Liam Wilson via ninth-round TKO for the WBO junior lightweight world title. He solidified his dominance at 130 pounds with an emphatic 12-round decision win against Valdez in August. Navarrete looks to make the second defense of his strap as the possibility of a title opportunity in a fourth weight division emerges on the horizon.
Navarrete said, “I am very happy to be able to defend my title again in 2023. My motivation is to continue achieving great victories for Mexican boxing and to bring glory to this beautiful nation. Conceição is a complicated opponent, but I want to be the best 130-pounder in the world, and for that I must face the best. I have never shied away from any rival. Whoever they put in front of me, 'Vaquero' Navarrete will always be ready to battle.”
Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs) made history as Brazil’s first Olympic boxing gold medalist, turning pro under the Top Rank banner less than three months after the 2016 Rio Games. In September 2021, he earned his first shot at a world title against Valdez, who was then the unbeaten WBC champ at junior lightweight. Though losing a close points verdict, he proved himself as a worthy title contender. Less than five months later, he traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and upset the previously unbeaten Xavier Martinez over 10 rounds. Conceição then had his second opportunity at a world title, an unsuccessful but valiant effort against Stevenson last September. Conceição will now get a third opportunity to call himself a world champion in the pro ranks.
“This is great opportunity in front of a great champion. I needed three Olympics Games to finally capture gold and become Olympic champ, and it looks like history is repeating itself. On November 16, I will fight to the end, and I will not miss this opportunity to become a world champion and once again bring gold to Brazil."
The ESPN+-streamed undercard will be highlighted by a battle between unbeaten welterweights as well as a host of emerging prospects.
Undefeated standouts Brian Norman Jr. (24-0, 19 KOs) and Quinton Randall (13-0-1, 3 KOs) will collide in a 10-round welterweight battle. Norman has boxing in his blood. His father, Brian Norman Sr., was a light heavyweight contender in a career spanning 30 bouts. The younger Norman is on the path to contender status as well, having bested Rodrigo Coria in January and Jesus Campos in May. Randall tallied a sixth-round TKO victory against Terry Chatwood in June and an eight-round decision versus Willie Jones in July.
In an eight-round junior featherweight duel between two of Las Vegas’ top prospects, Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (9-0, 3 KOs) and Max Ornelas (15-1-1, 5 KOs) will battle for intra-city bragging rights. Diaz returns after beating Luis Fernando Saavedra on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard in May, while Ornelas is coming off a highly controversial split decision loss against Hector Valdez last October.
U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (10-0, 4 KOs) steps up in class in an eight-round middleweight fight against Mexico’s Vladimir Hernandez (14-5, 6 KOs). The 25-year-old had an impressive 2022 in which he scored five victories. He heads into the biggest fight of his career after one-sided wins over Roy Barringer in April and Antonio Todd in July. Hernandez holds wins over Mexican action star Alfredo Angulo and former unified world champion Julian Williams. In August, he handed touted prospect Lorenzo Simpson his first pro defeat.
19-year-old lightweight phenom Abdullah Mason (10-0, 8 KOs) will make his fifth appearance of 2023 in a six-round fight against Texas’ Jose Cardenas (7-1, 5 KOs). Mason, from Cleveland, Ohio, is 4-0 with three knockouts this year.
Junior lightweight contender and Las Vegas native Andres Cortes (20-0, 11 KOs) takes on Nicaragua’s Freddy Fonseca (30-6-1, 20 KOs) in a 10-round tilt. Cortes was last seen notching his best victory to date, a seventh-round stoppage win over Xavier Martinez in July.
Kazakh Olympian Ablaikhan Zhussupov (4-0, 3 KOs) returns in a welterweight clash scheduled for eight rounds versus Mark Dawson (11-1-1, 4 KOs).