Oscar Valdez Ready to Meet Shakur Stevenson in the Ring
On April 30, Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) will put the WBC junior lightweight title on the line against WBO 130-pound champ Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, live on ESPN.
Some fans wondered if the fight would happen. Stevenson has targeted Valdez since both men were competing as featherweights. It also seemed as if Valdez was looking in another direction. But during a March 9 press event in Las Vegas, the WBC champ told FightHype that Stevenson was on his radar all along.
ALL IN THE PLANS
“The fans wanted to see the Shakur fight for a long time and that’s what we wanted as well. We denied that we were trying to push the Shakur fight. […] All the social media talk, that was all fake, that was all lies. Whenever they mentioned him, I said, ‘let’s do it’. […] The bigger prize was the WBC belt. Now is the time. Now, all that talking is out, let’s get this fight going.”
In Stevenson, Valdez is facing a southpaw with the reputation of being one of the slickest boxers in the sport. But the WBC champ said he’s been in the ring with countless styles over the years. Under the guidance of trainer Eddie Reynoso, the 31-year-old feels he can deal with whatever the WBO champ brings to the table.
BRAINS OVER BRAWN
If most agree that Shakur Stevenson has the advantage in skills and defensive ability, Valdez is considered the bigger hitter. He has one of the better left hooks in the sport. While believing he can win by stoppage, Valdez believes it’s a mistake to rely on the big punch. Feeling that Stevenson will not want to brawl, the product of Senora, Mexico says his intelligence will be central to victory.
“Ring IQ, be the smarter fighter. It’s not the type of fight where we step in, stand toe-to-toe, and cross punches. He lands one and I land one, I doubt that’s going to be the case. I doubt that he’s going to want to stay in there and bang.
So, to win this type of fight, you got to be the smarter fighter, beat him to the punch, perfect timing. Just be the smarter fighter. Any false moves that he makes, take advantage of it. That’s going to be the game plan.”
WANTING HIS RESPECT
The last time fans saw Valdez in the ring was a questionable victory over Robson Conceicao in September 2021. The fight was riddled with controversy as the champ failed a pre-fight drug test. While winning by unanimous decision, he struggled for much of the bout. Many believe he was lucky to have his hand raised in victory.
Valdez has since admitted the fight was not his best performance and wants the Stevenson fight to be his moment of redemption. He believes that becoming a unified champion moves him closer to the pound for pound rankings.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.