Shakur Stevenson is getting a shot at a professional boxing world championship in Reno, a city where he won four amateur national championships.
The speedy 22-year-old Stevenson — undefeated in 12 fights, winning 7 by knockout — will face Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs) on Saturday, Oct. 26, for the WBO featherweight title at the Reno Sparks Convention Center.
“I have been working for this moment my entire life, and no one is going to stop me from becoming a world champion,” Stevenson said in a press statement. “I had some of my biggest amateur moments in Reno, and I can’t wait to win my first world title there. This is my time to show the world that I am the best young fighter in boxing. The Shakur Stevenson era will officially begin on October 26.”
The entire card will be streamed on ESPN+. It is promoted by Top Rank in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions, Golden Boy and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
Terry Lane of Let’s Get It On Promotions, confirmed the undercard will include Reno’s J.J. Mariano and Carson City’s Diego Elizondo, as well as Mikaela Mayer, who represented the United States in the 2016 Olympics.
Stevenson of Newark, New Jersey, won the Olympic silver medal in 2016, qualifying for the Games after winning his fourth national title in Reno. He returned to the Biggest Little City in February 2018 and in his fifth pro fight scored a unanimous eight-round decision over Juan Tapia. The judges had him winning every round. “I always pitch a shutout,” the 126-pounder said afterward.
Gonzalez, 25, is from Glendora, California, and has a special connection to Stephenson, according to promoter Bob Arum.
“The story is that Stevenson and Gonzalez have a great animosity toward each other and Stevenson dates Gonzalez’s sister,” Arum told BoxingScene.com “That is the story. It is like ‘West Side Story.’ ”
“It’s about time I got my world title shot,” Gonzalez said in a press statement. “I’ve been asking for this opportunity for a long time. Shakur Stevenson has done a lot of talking. But I’ll do my talking in the ring with my fists on October 26.”
The WBO featherweight title became vacant when Oscar Valdez moved up to the 130-pound super featherweight/ junior lightweight category. Valdez’s sixth and final title defense at that weight was in January in Reno when he outpointed Jason Sanchez.
The Valdez-Sanchez undercard included Mariano’s debut, a fourth-round TKO over William Flenoy, and Elizondo’s four-round draw with Sacramento’s Sergio Vega. Elizondo, 2-0-2, will turn 21 years old on the day of his fifth fight. Opponents for Mariano and Elizondo have not been named.
Mayer has a record of 11-0 with 4 KOs. A three-time national champion as an amateur, she is a 5-foot-9 junior lightweight from Los Angeles.
Starting at 3:30 p.m., the undercard will be streamed on ESPN+.
— Tim Parsons