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Shakur Stevenson crosses past Oscar Valdez to unite junior lightweight titles by unanimous decision

To prove he’s one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound boxers, Shakur Stevenson pitched his WBO junior lightweight championship up against WBC champion Oscar Valdez in a big rally Saturday night in Las Vegas. Despite the fact that the fight was the most dangerous in Stevenson’s career, he did very easy work with Valdez, driving to a broad unanimous victory.

Valdez, a fighter known for a robust and aggressive approach to his fights, spent much of the fight stuck in neutral, standing in front of Stevenson without letting go of his hands. This approach allowed Stevenson to use a simple strategy with jabs to set up just left from his south paw.

Valdez had brief moments of success as he was occasionally able to bully himself and throw body shots at the slimmer, more capable Stevenson. These moments, however, were few and far between, and it was often Stevenson whose body shots provided the more meaningful work.

The biggest moment of the match came in round 8 when Stevenson hit a right hook that stumbled Valdez. Another right hook sent seconds later Valdez to shoot in the ropes. With the ropes holding him up, it was judged as a knockdown, giving Stevenson a 10-8 round and some extra padding in a match where he really never needed it.

Valdez simply posed no real danger to Stevenson in the full 12 rounds, leaving the ring with a swollen, red face after absorbing round after round of crisp, clean shots.

In fact, the most risky moment of the night for Stevenson may have come when he interrupted his post-match interview to propose to his young daughter’s mother in the middle of the ring. She said yes and gave Stevenson her second win in one night.

The final scorecards are 117-110, 118-109 and 118-109, all, not surprisingly, for Stevenson.

Asked what’s next in the ring, Stevenson acknowledged that his future may be lightweight before saying the immediate concern is to assemble two more belts in junior lightweight.

“I’m a superstar in this sport,” Stevenson said. “Put them up, name them. I’m ready for anyone … Anyone. Any of the champions. I want to gather all the belts at 130 and be undisputed. I deserve to be a superstar.”

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