Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Stevenson Officially Vacates WBO 126 Title, Installed As Number One Contender At 130

The next goal for Shakur Stevenson is to become a two-division titlist.

A big step has been taken on the path to bringing that vision to life, as the 23-year old southpaw from Newark, New Jersey has officially abandoned his featherweight title reign in favor of a run at junior lightweight. The move was acknowledged by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), whose 126-pound crown Stevenson (14-0, 8KOs)has held since a 12-round whitewash of Joet Gonzalez last October.

With the move came a formal request to be positioned to challenge for the WBO 130-pound title at his leisure.

“On July 7, Shakur wrote to the WBO to notify this sanctioning body that he was having serious difficulties making the division’s 126-pound limit,” confirmed the sanctioning body in an official statement. “Because of this, he decided to move up in weight requested to be ranked in the Junior Lightweight (130 pound) division, where Jamel Herring is the current WBO ruler.”

shakur-stevenson (2)_27

Francisco “Paco” Valcárcel, longtime president of the WBO confirmed that the unbeaten rising young star will be installed as the number-one contender in the junior lightweight division.

Stevenson ends his eight-plus month title reign without having made a title defense.

One was planned on March 14, where a scheduled voluntary defense versus Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga was to serve as the final fight at featherweight. The bout–to have headlined a Top Ran Boxing on ESPN show live from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City—never saw the light of day, as the event was among the first to have been shut down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Stevenson—who captured a Silver medal for the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team which competed in Rio—returned to the ring this past June, headlining the first show to be televised from stateside. It came in the form of his debut at junior lightweight, scoring a 6th round knockout of Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo on a June 9 show which aired live on ESPN from a crowdless MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Despite growing speculation that he was moving up for good, Stevenson entered the bout as the recognized WBO featherweight titlist. His next ring appearance will mark the first without a title around his waist since a homecoming showcase last July in Newark, though with the intention of moving quickly toward a second divisional title.

“I look forward in the very near future to fighting for another World Championship within the WBO,” declared Stevenson.

Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (32-1, 28KO)—who recently vacated his WBO junior featherweight title—will be first in line to compete for the now-available WBO featherweight strap. The current next highest-rated challenger is Belfast’s Michael Conlan (13-0, 7KOs), a two-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist.

Following the unbeaten Conlan are Salinas, California’s Ruben Villa (18-0, 5KOs), England’s Ryan Walsh (26-2-2, 12KOs) and Las Vegas’ Jessie Magdaleno (28-1, 18KOs), a former 122-pound titlist.

A major shakeup could come as the WBO ratings have not been updated since mid-March. The Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body closed its shop due to the ongoing global health crisis, re-opening its San Juan office in mid-June.

Of the five aforementioned featherweight contenders, Navarrete and Magdaleno are the only two boxers to have fought over that stretch.

Navarette stopped overmatched countryman Uriel Lopez in the 6th round of a June 20 non-title fight in Mexico City, marking his official arrival at featherweight. The bout came nine days after Magdaleno picked up his third straight win at featherweight, when Yenifel Vicente was disqualified in the 10th and final round of their June 11 ESPN headliner in Las Vegas.

Growing speculation has called for a potential vacant title fight between Navarrete and Magdaleno.

Meanwhile, Stevenson will be among the interested observers for Tuesday’s ESPN telecast in Las Vegas. Headlining the show, Herring (21-2, 10KOs) attempts the second defense of the WBO 130-pound crown as the 34-year old southpaw from Coram, New York faces Jonathan Oquendo (31-6, 19KOs), a former title challenger from Vega Alta, Puerto Rico.

Stevenson and Herring have frequently trained together, but it has become abundantly clear that any friendship can be put on hold when it comes to business.

“I don’t care who’s at 130,” Stevenson declared. “This is my weight class now.” 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by tophat1 on 07-13-2020

Would have liked to see Stevenson take on the best guys in the division before moving up.

Comment by skinnystev on 07-13-2020

Shakur Stevenson who traine's for a fight by beating up old black woman in the street moved to 130 to duck josh warrington and GRJ now he'll duck Miguel Berchelt and anybody else with a pulse at 130 total hype…

Comment by Dasmius Shinobi on 07-13-2020

Shakur Stevenson vs the WBO Champion Jamel Herring is a good fight and the Emmanuel Navarrete vs Jessie Magdaleno for the vacant featherweight WBO title is another good match up. :boxing:

Comment by slimPickings on 07-13-2020

[QUOTE=Greenfield02;20654321]Stevenson definitely has some boxing talent, he lacks power though. Even though he picked up the WBO belt at 126, he had it pretty easy in doing that and didn't really accomplish much at that weight. He will soon find…

Comment by chico malo ali on 07-13-2020

Puss Stevenson avoiding Nava !

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (18)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
WBA Prez Gilberto Mendoza Tests Positive For COVID-19 Joseph Parker Return Targeted For October in 'Great Fight,' Says Hearn Maxi Hughes Shocks Jono Carroll, Wins Close Decision Sean McComb Extended 10 Rounds For First Time, Outpoints Siar Ozgul Eleider Alvarez vs. Joe Smith - Full Undercard Revealed Sahir Iqbal Decisions Maredudd Thomas Over Eight Rounds ESPN+ LIVE Results: Craig MacIntyre, Pierce O'Leary Score Knockout Wins Israil Madrimov: Whoever Has The Belts - I'm Ready To Fight Them Campbell on Ryan Garcia: He's Never Had Real Test, I'm a Big Leap For Him Hearn Reacts To Arum, Warren: Fury Can't Avoid Whyte Mandatory Joseph Diaz Inks Agreement With MTK Global Felix Cash, Jason Welborn - Face-Off at Final Presser Kauffman: If I Lose To Wallin, I'm Retiring; His Claim To Fame Is Losing To Fury Braekhus On Shields: Nobody Is In Position To Be GWOAT; Has To Prove Herself More Frampton: It's A Joke That Davis & Santa Cruz Are Fighting For Titles In 2 Weight Classes Jack: I Wanted Rematch With Pascal, Staying Busy In Meantime Abel Sanchez: Been A Pleasure Working With Braekhus This Camp, She Is Really Special BoxingScene.com's Television Pick of The Week - August 12 Bob Arum Motivated To Stock Up on More Heavyweights Adrian Granat Eager To Return, Plans To Make Comeback in October Natasha Jonas Would Entertain Offer To Face Katie Taylor, Says Gallagher Felix Cash Aims For 'Clinical Display' Against Jason Welborn McCaskill Reflects Meeting Braekhus, Showdown Comes To Fruition Stevenson: If Frampton Beats Herring - I'll Whoop His Ass For Jamel! Joshua Franco Presented With WBA Belt By Oscar De La Hoya Miguel Cotto Pushes Back Event in San Juan To October 17 James-Dulorme FOX Fight Peaked At 1,224,000 Viewers; Averaged 1,076,000 Navarrete-Magdaleno Purse Bid Won By Top Rank; Eyed For Oct. 17 or 24 In Las Vegas Josh Taylor-Apinun Khongsong Being Lined Up For September in London Warren: Fury is Not Fighting Whyte, He Wants Joshua - Whyte Can Fight Dubois! Brian Mendoza vs. Cornflake LaManna Set For August 29, FS1 Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell Deal Reached "In Principle", WBC Purse Bid Delayed Adam Deines vs. Nadjib Mohammedi on August 22 Tyson-Jones To Have Belt & Scoring: Badou Jack, Viddal Riley Added To Card Whyte-Povetkin: Jack Cullen vs. Zak Chelli Added To Card Otto Wallin: I Feel Good About This Matchup With Kauffman Benavidez: Fight With Berlanga Can Be Great Rivalry Down The Line Warren: Fury Doesn't Want To Wait For Wilder Till 2021 - Let's Fight Joshua Next Carl Frampton Motivated To Exceed Career Standing of Barry McGuigan Jessica McCaskill Would Love Second Crack at Katie Taylor
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement