World title bout for Shakur Stevenson in Reno

Stevenson Gonzalez

Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez box for the vacant WBO featherweight title on Saturday, Oct. 26 in Reno.
Photo courtesy of Top Rank

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.”

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Diego Elizondo

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.

Mikaela Mayer boxed for the U.S. Olympic team.

“The story is that Stevenson and Gonzalez have a great animosity toward each other and Stevenson dates Gonzalez’s sister,” Arum told “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

Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

Referee Jay Nady watches Shakur Stevenson jab Juan Tapia in February 2018.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Michael Smyth

Trainer Pat Jefferson raises J.J. Mariano’s hand after winning his first pro fight.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

Carson City’s Diego Elizondo connects an uppercut to Sergio Vega.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage photos


About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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