Former 126-pound champion Shakur Stevenson wants to make a splash in the super featherweight division by squaring off with the division’s newly crowned champion.
Oscar Valdez, who scored the knockout and upset of the year last month over Miguel Berchelt last month to capture the 130-pound WBC crown, apparently has sparked the Newark native’s appetite for a palatable fight.
"I think [Oscar Valdez is] the better fighter out of everybody in the division, I think he established himself as one of the top fighters and I feel the top fighter in the division so I want Valdez more for sure. I don’t know if he really wants to fight me, but our teams are talking and we're going to see,” Stevenson told “The Last Stand” with Brian Custer.
The 23-year-old Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) is a Top Rank stablemate of Valdez, so pushing for the fight and making it happen could be done with a simple phone call through his manager James Prince.
The 2016 Olympics silver medalist picked up the featherweight WBO belt Valdez vacated in 2019 with an easy unanimous decision win over Joet Gonzalez. Stevenson has since vacated the belt and campaigned at 130 over his last two fights in 2020.
Although Stevenson is calling out Valdez, he’s more likely to next face the winner between 130-pound WBO champion Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton, who are set to square off April 3 in Dubai.
"I feel like a lot of fighters don’t want to fight me, I feel like I had opportunities to fight in big fights but I can’t in those big fights because of other fighters, it’s not me,” said Stevenson. “I just feel like these guys always find a way out and I’m the boogeyman."
One pound-for-pound star that the savvy southpaw particularly picked on was two-time Olympics gold medalist and three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
"There’s no way he can beat me. It’s impossible, I would not let him beat me,” said Stevenson. “Ain’t no way a scared man can beat me, I feel like there was a lot of fear in that Teofimo [Lopez] fight, and I just don’t think a scared man can beat me."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com