Shakur Stevenson failed to make weight Thursday before his fight against Robson Conceicao on Friday in Newark, New Jersey, and will be stripped of both of his 130-pound titles, under championship fight rules governed by the World Boxing Organization ( WBO) and the World Boxing Council (WBC).
The 25-year-old weighed 131.6 pounds and had two hours to lose 1.6 pounds, but determined he couldn’t lose the excess weight.
“I gave it my all,” tweeted Stevenson, ESPN’s No. 1 super featherweight. “I’ve been pro my whole career and made weight, but my body can’t do 130 anymore. My health has to come first. I’ll go up to 135 in my next fight.”
Conceicao, an Olympic gold medalist, will be eligible to win the two vacant titles, assuming the fight goes as planned. The 33-year-old Brazilian weighed in at 129.6 pounds for his second career starting opportunity. His other championship shot came in September 2021, when he lost a controversial decision to Óscar Valdez.
Valdez was allowed to fight, despite the presence of a banned substance in his system following a positive test weeks before the fight. Conceicao (17-1, 8 KOs) bounced back with a blowout of Xavier Martinez in January, while Valdez was dominated by Stevenson in April.
Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) will be fined by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission and will likely have to forfeit some of his purse to allow the fight to continue. Stevenson is scheduled to earn $3 million, sources told ESPN. Top Rank is trying to find a solution so that Stevenson and Conceicao can still fight in the main event on ESPN, the sources said.
Stevenson previously held a title at 126 pounds. Stevenson, an Olympic silver medalist, could seek high-stakes fights with fellow Top Rank fighters Devin Haney, the undisputed lightweight champion, and Vasiliy Lomachenko at 135 pounds.