Shakur Stevenson has been the epitome of success in his boxing career and Saturday will mark his very first fight in the lightweight division as he takes on Shuichiro Yoshino of Japan. The bout is set to take place in Stevenson's hometown of Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center. The lightweight title is on the line here. He's coming off a win in this same building in September over Robson Conceicao by unanimous decision. As for Yoshino, he knocked out Masayoshi Nakatani last fall and has yet to lose in his career. Keep reading for the Shakur Stevenson vs Shuichiro Yoshino picks.
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Shakur Stevenson vs Shuichiro Yoshino Odds
As you can see, practically no one expects Stevenson to lose. He's got odds as steep as -2000 at BetOnline, while Yoshino sits at +1000. These two have never stepped in the ring together before.
This is Stevenson's third weight class in his career, where he owns a 19-0 record including nine knockouts. The American will be seeking to win the WBC title here. This is the first time Stevenson is fighting at 135 lbs and was actually stripped of his belt before his defense against Conceicao in September.
Stevenson is seen as the future of this sport. He's just 25 years old and is only scratching the surface of his potential. Already a two-belt champion, Stevenson also has a silver medal in the Olympics. He doesn't rely strictly on a powerful punch but instead, Stevenson is very technical and capable of wearing down his opponents. He's got all the tools that make up a top-notch boxer. Yoshino will not be an easy out for him though, despite the lofty odds. The home crowd should help Stevenson, however.
Yoshino is 16-0 with 12 KOs since making his pro debut in 2015. The 31-year-old has never actually fought outside of Japan though, which means Saturday is brand new territory for him. He's beaten the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani and Masayuki Ito, who are no pushovers by any means. Yoshino is the definition of a puncher boxer and as you can see by his knockout numbers, is more than capable of putting his foes on the canvas.
The Japanese native will know he's the underdog here. All the pressure is on Stevenson. That's why he basically has nothing to lose. Yoshino can simply go out there and put his best foot forward. Although he's now in his 30s, Yoshino is very much in his prime. It's also an opportunity for Yoshino to showcase his talent to the boxing world since he's flown under the radar until now. Three consecutive knockouts are good news for Yoshino, too, retaining WBO Asia Pacific lightweight title at the end of last year vs Nakatani.
Shakur Stevenson vs Shuichiro Yoshino picks
I frankly see no way Stevenson loses this bout. That being said, it won't be easy. Expect Yoshino to push him to the absolute brink. Instead of betting on strictly the moneyline which offers basically no value, we're eyeing Stevenson to win by decision.
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