Shakur Stevenson returns to the ring on Thursday night to take on Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight title. The fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (ESPN/ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET, with prelims on ESPN+ at 5:35 p.m. ET), will be the main event. In the co-main, Emanuel Navarrete defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Robson Conceicao.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) is a former featherweight and junior lightweight champion. He also won silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games representing the U.S. After winning the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round TKO victory over Jamel Herring in October 2021, Stevenson added the WBC belt with a unanimous-decision win over Oscar Valdez in April 2022. But Stevenson lost the belts on the scales when he couldn’t make weight for a title defense against Conceicao in September 2022. He then moved to the 135-pound division and scored a sixth-round TKO victory over Shuichiro Yoshino back in April.
De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) is a heavy-handed southpaw from the Dominican Republic. He has won three consecutive fights, two by KO, since suffering the only defeat of his career, a split decision loss to William Foster III in January 2022.
Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) is a three-division champion who has won 33 consecutive fights (25 by stoppage) and hasn’t lost a fight in more than 11 years. He won the WBO title with a ninth-round TKO victory over Liam Wilson in February and defended the belt against Valdez in August.
Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs) is getting his third title opportunity. He lost to Valdez challenging for the WBC junior lightweight belt in September 2021 and to Stevenson one year later. Conceicao’s most recent bout against Nicolas Polanco ended in a no-contest after Polanco couldn’t continue following an accidental clash of heads in Round 2.
“You’ve got the tough Edwin De Los Santos, but I’m here to whoop his ass,” Stevenson said during a public workout in Las Vegas on Monday. “I think that Edwin is a good fighter. I think he’s more of a boxer than what he’s trying to act like. So, he’s going to try to move around. And I’m going to figure him out by the fourth round.”
De Los Santos, who in mid-September accepted the bout after original opponent Frank Martin withdrew, said he’s not here to bow to Stevenson.
“We are not here to hesitate. We are here to fight,” De Los Santos said. “We accepted the fight, and we are going for it. I think at one point I was being underestimated. But now he has accepted the reality that he is going to have a very tough fight.”
Let’s take a look at both title fights by the numbers, starting with the main event. Information from ESPN Stats and Information and CompuBox were used in this report.
Stevenson vs. De Los Santos
2. This is Stevenson’s second fight at lightweight. He made his debut in the division against Yoshino back in April.
24. At 24 years of age, De Los Santos can become the youngest world champion from Dominican Republic since Rafael Torres in 1989 (he was 23). De Los Santos could also become just the third Dominican fighter to win a lightweight title, joining Carlos Teo Cruz and Joan Guzman.
7. Stevenson can become the youngest fighter to win a title in a third division since Naoya Inoue accomplished that feat in 2019. If Stevenson wins, he will become the seventh fighter to do so all-time.
6. Stevenson is seeking to become the sixth fighter to be a three-division champion while also winning an Olympic medal. The other five fighters on that list (Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather) have been all inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. With a win, Stevenson would also become the sixth fighter to win titles at 126, 130, and 135 pounds and he would be the youngest in that group to achieve the feat.
4. De Los Santos is looking for his fourth consecutive victory following his only career loss. If he wins, it will be his first career world title.
155. Of 171 rounds fought in five career world title bouts, Stevenson has won 155, according to the three judges scoring those fights (one of those fights ended via 10-round stoppage, against Herring, and one was for an interim title, against Jeremia Nakathila).
13.4. Stevenson allows the lowest power-punch connect percentage. He also ranks second among all fighters in opponents connect percentage at just 13.4%, and opponent total punches per round (5.5).
5. This is the fifth consecutive fight for De Los Santos outside the Dominican Republic. His first 13 fights were in his home country.
Navarrete vs. Conceicao
9. Nine of Navarrete’s last 11 wins have been by stoppage. He hasn’t won consecutive bouts by decision since 2016.
3. Navarrete is making the third defense of his WBO junior lightweight title. The Mexican is one of the more active fighters in all of boxing at the moment, this will be his third world title fight in 2023 (most in boxing). The co-main event will also be the third world title fight for Conceicao. His only career losses came in his previous two world title challenges (vs. Stevenson and Valdez).
46.5 Number of power punches thrown per round by Navarrete, 10th most according to CompuBox.
2. Conceicao is seeking to become the second oldest Brazilian to win a world title (Eder Jofre won a featherweight title at 37 years old in 1973). Conceicao won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics at lightweight. He is first Brazilian-born boxer to win an Olympic gold medal.
12. Navarrete’s 12 fights and 12 wins in world title fights are both the most in boxing since December 2018.
16. Conceicao won his first 16 professional fights, but he has just one win in his last three bouts.