Shakur Stevenson will return to his hometown to headline another boxing card ESPN will air April 8. has learned that Stevenson’s lightweight debut, likely against Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino, will be held at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The 25-year-old Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), who resides near Houston, was born and raised in Newark.

Stevenson’s last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of 130-pound contender Robson Conceicao on September 23 – also took place at Prudential Center, the home arena of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. That card drew an announced crowd of 10,107 and established Stevenson as a draw in his hometown.

Only one boxing event in Prudential Center’s 15-year history has attracted a bigger crowd than the Stevenson-Conceicao card. That show, headlined by Polish heavyweight Tomasz Adamek’s 12-round points victory over Michael Grant, drew an announced audience of 10,972 to Prudential Center in August 2010.

This will mark the third show Stevenson has headlined at Prudential Center since he made his pro debut in April 2017.

Though Stevenson decisively beat Brazil’s Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs), the two-division champion came in overweight September 22 and was stripped of his WBC and WBO 130-pound championships. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist’s difficulty making weight for that fight necessitated a move up to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for this bout.

A deal with representatives for Tokyo’s Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs) hadn’t been finalized as of Tuesday, but negotiations should lead to an agreement for what would be a WBC lightweight elimination match between the third-ranked Stevenson and the fifth-rated Yoshino.

ESPN’s tripleheader April 8 also will feature heavyweight knockout artist Jared Anderson and unbeaten lightweight Keyshawn Davis. Opponents for Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, and Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), a 2021 Olympic silver medalist from Norfolk, Virginia, weren’t secured by the time this story was posted.

While Stevenson – who is regularly recognized as one of the top 10 boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport – undoubtedly would represent a significant step up in competition, the 31-year-old Yoshino emerged as a top lightweight contender by beating a pair of fellow Japanese fighters in 2022.

Yoshino most recently knocked out Masayoshi Nakatani in the sixth round November 1 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Before Yoshino stopped him, Nakatani (20-3, 14 KOs) had lost only to former lightweight champions Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs), who beat him by ninth-round technical knockout, and Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs), who unanimously out-pointed him in their 12-rounder.

In Yoshino’s appearance prior to his knockout of Nakatani, he defeated former WBO junior lightweight champ Masayuki Ito (27-4-1, 15 KOs) by technical decision. Yoshino was ahead of Ito on all three scorecards (107-102, 107-102, 106-103) when their 12-round fight was stopped in the 11th round due to Ito’s cut, which was caused by an accidental clash of heads and prevented Ito from continuing April 9 at Saitama Super Arena.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.