Former junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson won’t begrudge Vasiliy Lomachenko for not necessarily counting him as his No. 1 option.
While the two-division champion from Newark, New Jersey, is optimistic that he will eventually land a fight with the three-division titlist from Ukraine—both fighters have the same promoter in Top Rank—Stevenson understands that Lomachenko’s current goal is to win back the lightweight titles he formerly held. (Lomachenko lost his WBO and IBF 135-pound titles to Teofimo Lopez, the then IBF titleholder, in their unification match in 2020). That means, as Stevenson understands it, a Lomachenko showdown won’t happen quite that soon — not that he is complaining.
Given Lomachenko’s preference, Stevenson believes Devin Haney, another Top Rank stalemate, will get a shot at the Ukrainian first. Currently, all the lightweight belts are owned by Oakland’s Haney, who will be defending them against the man he won them from earlier this summer, George Kambosos Jr., on Oct. 16, at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Top Rank, moreover, has floated the idea of a Haney-Lomachenko fight as a potential outcome should Haney defeat Kambosos once more.
“At the end of the day, Lomachenko wants them belts,” Stevenson said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “His mind ain’t really focused on me. So you can’t blame me if he don’t end up taking the fight with me right now and go the Devin Haney route.
"That probably be smarter for him. I just gotta sit back and be ready when the time comes.”
Stevenson has repeatedly signaled an interest in fighting the Ukrainian whiz, and he took a step toward making that a reality when he recently announced that he will move up from 130 pounds to the 135-pound division for his next fight. The reason for that is because Stevenson missed weight in his last bout, against Robson Conceicao, and was thereby stripped of his WBO and WBC 130-pound titles heading into that 12-round bout. Stevenson soundly outpointed the Brazilian contender to win a unanimous decision in what was a well-attended card last week at the Prudential Center in Stevenson’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
Originally, Lomachenko was scheduled to take on Kambosos in the summer, but after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lomachenko decided to put his boxing career on hold, paving the way for Haney to become the undisputed champion of the division. Lomachenko, however, will re-enter the ring on Oct. 29 to face contender Jamaine Ortiz in the headline event at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.