What Is Shakur Stevenson’s Future Within The Featherweight Division?
Given a taste of what he can do outside of his normal weight, Shakur Stevenson might be ready to explore his options.
Speaking with ESPN, Stevenson (14-0), the WBO Featherweight Champion, discussed the idea of leaving the 126-pound division and competing at 130. This comes after rumors of him wanting to compete for more opportunities. The co-promotor of Stevenson, Antonio Leonard, would state what the goals are for the 22-year-old.
“We’re moving on up … We’re getting all the belts, and everyone at 130 [pounds] can get it,” Leonard stated.
A silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics, Stevenson made his boxing debut in 2017. He won the IBF Inter-Continental and WBC Continental Americas Featherweight Title in his tenth fight and the WBO-NABO Featherweight Title right after. Towards the end of 2019, Stevenson beat Joet Gonzalez to become WBO Featherweight Champion.
Stevenson was supposed to defend his title against Miguel Marriaga on March 14 inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight was postponed. He then fought at 130, beating Felix Caraballo in Top Rank’s return to action. The New Jersey-born fighter was hoping to face Josh Warrington, the IBF Featherweight Champion. With Warrington’s eyes set on Xu Can, Team Stevenson has moved on.
“You know what? Warrington didn’t want the fight to happen,” Leonard went on to say. “Because we gave him all the opportunity. He didn’t even start acting like he wanted to fight Shakur until he seen we might go up to 130. He didn’t want to fight Shakur.”
Stevenson has decided to do what he believes is best for him, health and career-wise.
“I just didn’t want to keep making that weight,” Stevenson would end up stating. “I think I should be in the rankings to fight for a title [at junior lightweight] ASAP. I think I deserve it.”
When it comes to the WBO Featherweight Title, there are options for Stevenson if he decides to either defend or drop it. Jessie Magdaleno, who beat Yenifel Vicente via DQ, offered his services to fight for the title. He even stated Michael Conlan would be a good opponent if Stevenson wasn’t available. WBO Junior-Featherweight Champion Emanuel Navarrete is also interested in facing Stevenson.
Stevenson has options within 130, but a majority of the champions are preoccupied. If he had a say in who he wants next, however, he would want to face a WBA Super-Featherweight Champion.
“I want Leo Santa Cruz,” Stevenson went on to say. “It seems all the belt holders are occupied with opponents. But I really want Santa Cruz, though.”