Shakur Stevenson vs. Shuichiro Yoshino Odds, Pick & Prediction: 1 Bet, 1 Sprinkle for ESPN Headliner (Saturday, April 8)

Shakur Stevenson vs. Shuichiro Yoshino Odds, Pick & Prediction: 1 Bet, 1 Sprinkle for ESPN Headliner (Saturday, April 8) article feature image

Steve Marcus/Getty Images. Pictured: Boxer Shakur Stevenson

  • Saturday night's boxing schedule is full with fights on ESPN, Showtime and DAZN, among others.
  • ESPN's main event of the seemingly untouchable Shakur Stevenson vs. Shuichiro Yoshino is arguably the highest-profile bout.
  • Below, Bryan Fonseca previews all of the action and offers his boxing best bets for the night.

Shakur Stevenson vs. Shuichiro Yoshino Odds

Stevenson Odds
Yoshino Odds
10.5 (-360 / +250)
Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via FanDuel

It's hard to be untouchable in a sport that's defined by its physicality, but Shakur Stevenson is the closest thing to that in boxing.

Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) returns to his Newark, New Jersey, home this Saturday on ESPN (10 p.m. ET) at Prudential Center, taking on domestically little-known lightweight contender Shuichiro Yoshino of Japan (16-0, 12 KOs).

The 25-year-old southpaw, previously a champion at featherweight and a unified one at super featherweight, will make his lightweight debut.

Prior to this, Stevenson had defeated 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning Robson Conceicao on ESPN in September, where he outpointed the Brazillian contender in a bout for the WBO and WBC Super featherweight titles, which Stevenson had to vacate due to being 1.5 over the 130-pound limit.

He immediately announced that he'd be moving up in weight, and that his body couldn't handle the cut to 130 any longer.

Lightweight feels like where we'll see Stevenson at his best. It also provides alluring future bouts against guys such as undisputed champion Devin Haney, his May challenger Vasiliy Lomachenko, and champion Gervonta Davis, who fights Ryan Garcia in a high-profile bout two weeks from now.

But before all that, he needs to show and prove at 135 pounds against Yoshino, a fellow undefeated and reasonably accomplished challenger. Yoshino stepped up after Stevenson had been lobbying for other highly ranked contenders on Twitter months ago.

The World Boxing Council, who ranks Stevenson No. 3 at lightweight, ordered him to face previous world championship challenger Isaac Cruz. However, Cruz seemingly ducked the challenge. Next was William Zepeda, who also seemingly passed.

Yoshino, to his credit, stepped up when next in line, and he will engage in his first fight outside of Japan in the home of boxing's boogeyman, and the most stylistically untouchable man in the sport.

Guys don't wanna fight this dude, but Yoshino is. And because of that, we have a Stevenson vs. Yoshino preview!

Fight Analysis

Let's actually start with Yoshino.

This dude can crack.

He hasn't fought a ton of people whom Americans have heard of, but Yoshino earned his ranking, which is No. 4 by the WBC.

Yoshino most recently knocked out countryman Masayoshi Nakatani in November, successfully defending the regional WBO Asia Pacific lightweight championship. Nakatani is perhaps best known for his losses to Teofimo Lopez and the aforementioned Lomachenko, which were sandwiched by an upset victory over once-rising star and now-imprisoned Felix Verdejo in 2020.

Two fights ago, Yoshino scored a unanimous technical decision win over former WBO Super featherweight champion Masayuki Ito a year ago to begin a career-altering 2022.

Don't sleep on Shuichiro Yoshino 👀@AutoZone x

— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) April 5, 2023

Yoshino, 31, is 5-foot-9 with a 68-inch reach and has power in both hands. But his defense isn't overly sophisticated, and he will likely try to lure Stevenson into a brawl, which many have failed to do.

Stevenson, despite being six years into his pro career with fewer than 20 fights, is building an impressive resume, which includes blowout decisions over former champion Oscar Valdez, a then-undefeated Joet Gonzalez, current contender Jeremia Nakathila, and a list of others.

.@ShakurStevenson had his STAR making performance against Oscar Valdez last year 🤩 #StevensonYoshino | SATURDAY | 10 PM ET |

— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) April 6, 2023

He also has a stoppage win over Jamel Herring when winning the WBO Super Featherweight crown before unifying against Valdez last April.

Stevenson is too smart to brawl and is an expert counterpuncher despite being 5-foot-8 with a 68-inch reach.

Few, if any, could get in and out of the pocket like him.

Stevenson vs. Yoshino Pick

Stevenson is -1600 straight up for a reason.

I could already see this fight playing out in my head. Yoshino tries to turn this into a brawl on the inside, Stevenson preferring to bounce in and out, predominately jabbing from range, mixing in straight left hands, a southpaw favorite.

As Yoshino empties the kitchen sink, maybe he catches an overconfident Stevenson cleanly a couple of times. Stevenson then refocuses and gets back to boxing. Happens to the best of 'em.

Ultimately, Stevenson picks off Yoshino and picks him apart, which is how I see this playing out. Now, the question is, does he win on points, or does he stop Yoshino?

Yoshino has a chin, Stevenson isn't a big puncher, and thus, he's -220 to win by decision. There's a reason the over/under is 10.5 rounds in a 12-round fight. Additionally, the over is -360.

So here's my pick: Stevenson on points at -220.

However, I will also recommend a sprinkle on Stevenson by KO/TKO between rounds 9-12 at +700 because if there's a knockout from him, it'll most likely be in the latter rounds as he breaks down his opponent.

Sorry, I know the value isn't awesome, but you have a ton of parlay options to pair the -220 with over the weekend between UFC and other boxing matches.

Pick: Stevenson by decision (-220, 1u)

Pick: Stevenson to win in Round 9-12 (+700, 0.1u)

Bonus Betting Analysis: Fundora vs. Mendoza

Speaking of options, let's touch on two more notable boxing fights this week.

On Showtime, 6-foot-6 super welterweight champion Sebastian Fundora (20-0-1, 13 KOs) is facing heavy-handed contender Brian Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs). Fundora, with his height and 80-inch reach, should be boxing from the outside.

You can always count on Sebastian Fundora to have an exciting fight 🥊 #FundoraOcampo

(via @ShowtimeBoxing)

— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) October 9, 2022

However, he would rather impose his will on his opponents by brawling on the inside, leaving himself open, which saw him get dropped against Erickson Lubin in Round 7 of their bout last April.

Ultimately, someone is going to make Fundora pay for not using his height and reach, but I don't think it's Mendoza. Fundora is a heavy favorite (-1250), and he's less of a big puncher than he seems – though, he could beat you up with volume.

Mendoza, in either loss, wasn't stopped. Fundora by decision is -120, and by KO, he's +160.

Give me Fundora on points with a hedge/sprinkle for a round 9-12 stoppage, like we did with Stevenson above.

Pick: Fundora by decision (-120, 1u)

Pick: Fundora in Rounds 9-12 (+450, 0.1u)

We also have 2022 Fight of the Year candidate Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) vs. Christian Gonzalez (15-1, 5 KOs) on DAZN.

Rodriguez is facing a guy on a nine-fight winning streak who has never been stopped. Still, "Bam" is a -3000 favorite.

I'll lean a Rodriguez stoppage between rounds 7-12 at +140.

Enjoy the fights and don't go broke!

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