Shakur Stevenson won the WBC lightweight championship on Thursday night via unanimous decision over Edwin De Los Santos in a fight that had fans booing the lack of action.
Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) picked up a title in a third weight class. The Newark, New Jersey, native also won the WBO featherweight title in 2019 and the WBO junior lightweight championship in 2021.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Steve Weisfeld both scored the bout 116-112, while David Sutherland scored it 115-113.
An announced – and displeased – gathering of 6,703 was on hand for a rare Thursday boxing card inside T-Mobile Arena, mere steps away from Las Vegas Boulevard, where Formula One cars were buzzing by during a practice session on opening night of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Qualifying for the race is Friday night and the race itself takes place on Saturday night.
Shakur Stevenson got his hand raised on Thursday night after a drab fight in Las Vegas
There was a lack of action in his fight with Edwin De Los Santos (left), leading to boos from the crowd
De Los Santos, who dropped to 16-2, kept Stevenson moving backward for much of the fight and found himself chasing and missing when opportunities presented themselves.
‘I did my job,’ De Los Santos said. ‘He came to survive. That’s what he did. They gifted him the title, but I’m the people’s champion.’
Stevenson certainly didn’t look like the overwhelming favourite and expressed his disappointment with his performance afterwards.
‘Don’t congratulate me on a bad performance,’ Stevenson told reporters shortly after his lacklustre appearance. ‘It just wasn’t me man. I had a lot going on. I ain’t gonna make no excuses. It was a good fight, just a bad performance and not my standards.’
Immediately following the fight, during an in-ring interview, Stevenson said he ‘didn’t feel good’ and sensed his performance could be off.
And while a trigger-happy right hand remained effective to keep De Los Santos on his heels, Stevenson was cautious in throwing his left, but would neither admit nor deny if it was injured.
‘I’m not giving y’all nothing,’ Stevenson said. ‘I don’t make no excuses, I own up everything, I was supposed to put on a better performance tonight. I’m a better fighter. I can’t get into details. I ain´t got no excuses to make to y’all. Bad night. I’m going to go back to the drawing board and come back.’
Stevenson admitted after the fight that he had delivered a ‘bad performance’
Stevenson’s close friend and former two-weight world champion Andre Ward (above) conceded the southpaw ‘looked a bit flat’ and needs to rest after his underwhelming display
And while the big question for Stevenson was who he’d fight next, he said he’d like to take ‘like two months’ off since he´s been training the past seven months.
‘I think that he has to go back and reassess… what changes he needs to make,’ mentor and former champion Andre Ward said. ‘He looked a bit flat tonight. He’ll determine what that reason is.
‘He does need rest… he’s never not in the gym. He’s an elite fighter, and for elite fighters who are used to dominating, when you don’t have a dominating performance, it can almost feel like a loss. That’s what he’s working through right now. But it’s also good for him, it’s sobering. It just reminds you that the game don’t always love you back.’
Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) and Brazil’s Robson Conceição fought to a majority draw in the co-main event. Navarrete, the WBO junior lightweight champion, dropped Conceição (17-2-2, 8 KOs) twice during the fight, but the challenger’s persistence in the latter rounds helped earn him the draw.
Judges Max De Luca and Chris Flores both scored the fight 113-113, while Don Trella had it 114-112 in favor of Navarrete.
Emanuel Navarrete (left) and Robson Conceicao (right) fought to a draw in the co-main event
Navarrete dropped Conceicao twice, but the Brazilian refused to give in and earned a draw
Conceição, 35, who won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games, said he would like a rematch.
‘He deserves it,’ said Navarrete, 28.
Earlier in the night, Emiliano Vargas (8-0, 7 KOs), son of former two-time light middleweight champion Fernando Vargas, remained undefeated with a second-round knockout of Brandon Mendoza (6-3).
After dropping him twice in the first round, Vargas finished off Mendoza with a pair of devastating right hands that put him on the canvas. Referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight with Mendoza stumbling to stay on his feet just 57 seconds into the second round.
Emiliano Vargas (right) maintained his unbeaten start to his career with a knockout win over Brandon Mendoza (left)