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Shakur Stevenson unified the WBC and WBO super featherweight titles before a lively crowd of 10,102 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by outboxing and befuddling Oscar Valdez.

It wasn’t close from the opening seconds, as Stevenson’s speed and punching accuracy was far too much for Valdez to handle. Judges had it 118-109 twice and 117-110. Yahoo Sports had it 117-110 for Stevenson.

Valdez, with noted trainer Eddy Reynoso in his corner, never made adjustments and spent much of the night following Stevenson. Stevenson peppered him with a jab that was consistent from beginning to end, and followed it occasionally with hooks to the body or straight right hands to the head.

Valdez kept trying to throw lead right hands and hooks to the body. He had some success with the hook, but not nearly enough, and his right hands were consistently coming up short.

Stevenson, a silver medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was far too quick and savvy in the ring. He was brilliant defensively, slipping many of Valdez’s biggest shots.

He didn’t run, as Valdez predicted he would, until the final seconds of the fight when he raised his arms skyward in celebration and flexed as Valdez was still chasing him.

He’s a brilliant boxer who took his game to another level on this night in the face of a loud and enthusiastic crowd rooting hard against him.

Stevenson scored the fight’s only knockdown, dropping Valdez in the sixth. Stevenson threw a right and Valdez backed up. He appeared to slip and Stevenson threw a left simultaneously.

Valdez went down and because Stevenson had thrown a punch, it was ruled a knockdown. Valdez wasn’t hurt and briefly complained to referee Kenny Bayless, but it didn’t make a difference.

Valdez went long stretches without putting Stevenson on the ropes, and that’s where his best chance was to win. Stevenson excelled when the fight was in the middle of the ring and he kept it there most of the time.

Source: Kevin lole| Combact Columnist

www.sports24ghana.com

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