Valdez-Stevenson & Davis-Sanchez will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
WBC champion Oscar Valdez hopes to become a Mexican boxing legend while WBO king Shakur Stevenson is eyeing the mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
On Saturday, April 30, Valdez and Stevenson, the world’s two best junior lightweights, will meet in a title unification matchup for the ages at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Stevenson and Valdez are vying to become the first unified junior lightweight champion since Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera in 2005.
Stevenson-Valdez, along with additional to-be-announced fight action, will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson are the world’s best junior lightweights.
The fans and the fighters demanded this matchup, and we are proud to deliver it live on ESPN for no extra charge,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The winner becomes a superstar, and I know both men will rise to challenge.”
Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs), the fighting pride of Nogales, Mexico, is closing in on an undefeated decade as a pro after Olympic appearances in 2008 and 2012.
He is 9-0 in world title fights and has solidified his standing as one of Mexico’s consummate ring warriors. His 2017 featherweight title defenses against Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania were Fight of the Year contenders.
In March 2018, he defeated an over-the-weight Scott Quigg despite fighting with a broken jaw for seven rounds. Valdez is 4-0 since moving up to junior lightweight, winning the WBC title with the 2021 Knockout of the Year over Miguel Berchelt.
Last September, he made his first defense of that title, coming on strong in the later rounds to edge Robson Conceição by unanimous decision.
“I want to make it clear that I am the best 130-pound fighter in the world,” Valdez said. “We know Shakur Stevenson is very good at fighting, but he’s even better at social media. I’ll let my fists speak for themselves.”
Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs), the pound-for-pound talent from Newark, New Jersey, won the vacant WBO featherweight world title against Joet Gonzalez in 2019 after Valdez vacated the title to campaign at junior lightweight.
Stevenson moved up in weight after dominating Gonzalez, winning three fights before challenging WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring last October in Atlanta. Stevenson stopped Herring in the 10th round to become a two-weight world champion.
As the toast of the U.S. amateur boxing scene, Stevenson was pegged for superstardom ever since making his pro debut in April 2017.
Through 17 pro bouts, he’s flashed a defensive riddle that has thus far been impossible for opponents to solve.
It is a battle of youth versus hardened experience, as Valdez won his first world title in July 2016, four weeks before Stevenson earned a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.
Stevenson said, “I have been chasing this fight for nearly three years since we were both at featherweight.
On April 30, I’m going to show him and the world why he ducked me all this time. I’m the best young fighter in the world, and I will become unified champion.”
Stevenson vs. Valdez matches up two of the best fighters in the 130-lb division, and the winner of the match will be in an excellent position to call the shots.
If the Stevenson-Valdez fight is a competitive one, there will be a huge demand from the boxing world to see them run it back for an immediate rematch rather than move on.
Ultimately, it’ll be up to Stevenson and Valdez’s promoters at Top Rank if they want to set up a second fight between them.
April 30: Las Vegas Native Nico Ali Walsh Makes Hometown Debut on Oscar Valdez-Shakur Stevenson Bill LIVE on ESPN at MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas native Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest,” hopes to make a statement for the hometown fans. Ali Walsh will fight Denver’s Alejandro Ibarra in a four-round middleweight attraction Saturday, April 30, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Ali Walsh-Ibarra will open the televised broadcast featuring the world junior lightweight title unification showdown between WBC champion Oscar Valdez and WBO king Shakur Stevenson.
Valdez-Stevenson, an eight-round lightweight co-feature between U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis and Esteban Sanchez, and Ali Walsh-Ibarra will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Ali Walsh said, “Las Vegas is home, and the MGM Grand Garden Arena has hosted so many legendary fights. This is a dream come true. I’ve gotten to know Oscar and Shakur, and it’s an honor to fight on their card. I’m focused on my fight, as Ibarra is a capable veteran. He wants to be the guy to knock off Muhammad Ali’s grandson. I won’t let that happen, especially in front of my family and friends.”
Ali Walsh (4-0, 3 KOs) graduated from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School and is currently a student at UNLV, where he is on track to graduate later this month with a degree in business entrepreneurship. He turned pro last August with a headline-grabbing first-round knockout. Ali Walsh fought twice more in 2021, including a four-round decision over Reyes Sanchez at Madison Square Garden, the site of many of his grandfather’s most memorable ring battles. Ali Walsh last fought in January in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he knocked out Jeremiah Yaegar in two rounds. He now turns to Ibarra (7-1, 2 KOs), a 28-year-old who has won four straight since the lone loss on his ledger.
He’s Got Next: Lightweight Phenom Keyshawn Davis Returns April 30 Against Esteban Sánchez as Oscar Valdez-Shakur Stevenson Co-Feature LIVE on ESPN at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
Lightweight Keyshawn Davis, the 23-year-old Olympic silver medal superstar from Norfolk, Virginia, is coming to Las Vegas on Pro Football Draft weekend to show why he should be the boxing world’s top draft pick. Davis will battle Mexican veteran Esteban Sánchez in an eight-rounder Saturday, April 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Davis-Sanchez will be the co-feature to the junior lightweight title unification showdown between WBC champion Oscar Valdez and WBO king Shakur Stevenson.
Valdez-Stevenson and Davis-Sánchez will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will be announced shortly.
“Keyshawn Davis was the most sought-after free agent coming out of the Tokyo Olympics, and he is among the sport’s most gifted fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The main event features two of the world’s best fighters in Valdez and Stevenson, and I have little doubt that Keyshawn is on his way to becoming a pound-for-pound great.”
Davis said, “Fighting in Las Vegas at MGM Grand on Pro Football Draft weekend… I was born for this stage. I am going to put on another flawless performance and then watch from ringside as my brother, Shakur, puts on a show as well. The stars will be out, and they are going to see something special.”
Davis (4-0, 3 KOs) was supposed to fight Sanchez on March 19 in New York, but he contracted a non-COVID-related virus. He knocked out Jose Zaragoza in two brutal rounds in his Top Rank on ESPN debut last December. Davis made an impression against Zaragoza, folding his overmatched foe with a left hook to the body. His slightly delayed return comes against Sánchez (18-1, 8 KOs) a native of Ensenada, Mexico, who won a pair of fights in 2021 following his only career loss.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting AXS.com.