Main Card for Shakur vs Yoshino Finalized
The ESPN televised portion of the April 8th Top Rank Boxing card has been officially announced. The card will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) will be headlining at his hometown arena for the second straight outing, making his debut in the lightweight division. His opponent will be Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino, who is the the #5 ranked contender by the WBC. This matchup is a WBC title eliminator, with Shakur being the WBC’s #3 contender. Yoshino was offered the fight after second ranked Isaac Cruz (24-2-1, 17 KOs) and fourth ranked William Zepeda (27-0, 23 KOs) both passed on the opportunity. The winner will be the mandatory challenger for whoever wins a potential May undisputed lightweight fight between champion Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) and #1 contender Vasyl Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs).
Yoshino was last in action in November when he stopped Masayoshi Nakatani (20-3, 14 KOs). Nakatani is a former opponent of Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs), pushing Lopez the twelve round distance and giving him some issues. Yoshino made a statement by finishing him quicker than Lomachenko did, scoring the sixth round knockout victory.
The co-feature spotlights the future of the American heavyweight boxing scene. Jared Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs) will be up against George Arias (18-0, 7 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Anderson is fresh off of an impressive second round stoppage over Jerry Forrest (26-6-2, 20 KOs) and will face the second undefeated opponent of his career. Arias is coming off of back to back wins over undefeated foes himself, and has the opportunity of a lifetime ahead of him against the most hyped prospect in the heavyweight division today.
The opening bout of the telecast is a lightweight battle that features 2020 US Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (7-0, 6 KOs). He will be opposite of Anthony Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KOs), who represented Sweden in the 2012 Olympics. Yigit holds a win over Sandor Martin (40-3, 13 KOs) that has certainly aged well since the two fought in 2017. He has picked up two consecutive victories since his latest defeat against Rolando Romero (14-1, 12 KOs), a fight where he was a late replacement and did not get a full camp to prepare.
The undercard will include a slew of Top Rank’s highly rated prospects. None of their opponents have been finalized yet, but it should be an exciting beginning to the night where you can enjoy watching some of the brightest young talents on the Top Rank roster. Fellow 2020 US Olympians Troy Isley (8-0, 4 KOs) and Duke Ragan (8-0, 1 KO) will be joined by Bruce Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs), Keyshawn’s older brother Kelvin Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), Antoine Cobb (1-0-2, 1 KO), and newly signed heavyweight Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) all in separate bouts.
This should deliver as a great night of professional boxing, and I cannot wait to be in the building to see how this entire card plays out.