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28th June 2020
By: Michael Frank
WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson has been in the spotlight for most of his life. From his impressive amateur career and working with Andre Ward and Terrence Crawford, to headlining Top Ranks first card back after COVID-19, the southpaw has shined. The 14-0 Newark native turns 23 today and is on his way to take over the boxing world. Boxing Guru is pleased to wish Stevenson Happy Birthday!
He recently made his super featherweight debut in a non-title fight on June 9th in a dominating victory over Felix Caraballo. At the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, he used his speed and defense to control the tempo and finished it off with a left hook to the body that resulted in a 6th round knockout. Shakur’s combinations and head movement were sharp, as the time off didn’t seem to bother him. He left the fight with a slight hand injury but proclaimed he was ready to get back in the ring just one day later. Youth at its finest.
Stevenson currently lives in Virginia and trains at the Alexandria Boxing Club. He won the bantamweight silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, representing the United States. Losing to Robeisy Ramírez of Cuba in the gold medal match was emotional for the young boxer, but he uses this loss as motivation to never lose again. A rematch between the two would serve as a revenge fight for Stevenson. Ramirez had an impressive win on the undercard of the June 9th fight that Stevenson headlined. The best response to a loss is to start your career with 14 straight wins. As a professional, Shakur remains undefeated with 8 knockout victories.
He signed with Top Rank in 2017 and is co-managed by his main influencer Andre Ward who believes he has the skill to be an “all time great”. Willie Moses, his grandfather, has been his cornerman his entire career. He made his professional debut against Edgar Brito on April 22, 2017. After his first victory, he has rattled off 13 more decisive victories, including 4 wins in 2019 alone.
To start off 2019, he beat Jessie Cris Rosales with a 4th round TKO to win the vacant IBF Inter-Continental and WBC Continental Americas featherweight titles- the first of many to come. Next, he beat Christopher Diaz on April 20th at Madison Square Garden to claim the vacant WBO-NABO featherweight title. Then, in front of his hometown fans in Newark, he easily beat former two-time world title challenger Alberto Guevara using a variety of body punches. Stevenson dominated the opening round and scored a pair of knockdowns in the second. Then his three punch combination earned him a 3rd round knockout to retain his title.
His 4th and final fight of 2019 was against then-undefeated Joet Gonzalez on October 26th. Stevenson won via a 12-round unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title. It was his first fight to go a full 12 rounds, giving him an important experience.
He has been compared to Floyd Mayweather Jr. for his speed, movement, and composure. Stevenson uses a body-first approach and is not known for being a head hunter. His punch and dodge combinations are something special, and his maturity at his young age has been impressive. Good friend and sparring partner Terrence Crawford has rubbed off on Shakur in the best way possible.
He enjoys watching YouTube videos of old fights, modeling his game after legends Pernell Whitaker, Mayweather, and Crawford. Shakur uses a ‘hit and don’t get hit approach’ and takes his time breaking his opponents down. Moving up in weight may limit the amount of KO victories, but he’s determined to beat the top dogs however he can. The one concern that gets brought up is his punching power, but he’s changing the critics’ minds one fight at a time.
The dream matchup of Stevenson vs Josh Warrington may never develop. Once Warrington signed with Matchroom, Bob Arum and Top Rank could never make the fight happen. Stevenson appears to be done with the featherweight division, and will most likely vacate his WBO title.
Next up on the dream list is WBA super featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Andre Ward has come out and said Shakur Stevenson isn’t dodging any of the top guys anymore, and Santa Cruz is on the top of that list. A fight between them would prove to be explosive, igniting fireworks throughout.
Other names at the top of the 130 division include fellow Top Rank champion and friend Jamel Herring. WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, who earned a solid victory last night, would be a great test for the young Stevenson. Joesph Diaz and Carl Frampton are also in the mix of the loaded division. Shakur is looking to fight again in September to cap off a strange 2020 and hopes to land a title shot in the unfamiliar division.
The fearless southpaw is ready for the next stage of his young career. He recently came out and said that a fight between him and Gervonta Davis would be a super showdown. That means Shakur would be moving up again, to 135. He suggested this move is still a few years away but is confident that he would be a title contender in the stacked division.
Shakur is no stranger to the spotlight. He has fought at Madison Square Garden three times, at the MGM Grand two times, and made his debut at Stubhub Center in California. He has all the intangibles to become a superstar for years to come, including the charisma necessary to maintain traction. He doesn’t want to be the next Floyd or the next Crawford, he wants to be the first Shakur Stevenson. The boxing world is his to conquer.
Please join Boxing Guru in wishing Shakur Stevenson a Happy Birthday!