Recently crowned featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson is already talking a big game, even though he’s yet to defend the WBO title he won last October in a one-sided beating of Joet Gonzalez.
The 22-year-old Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) will fight Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York on May 14, and he’s already operating with the mentality of “who’s next?”
“I’ve done more than I expected to do at this point of my career. I’m going to put on another show [versus Marriaga] so I can get on bigger shows. I’m going to beat the f--- out of this dude. I’m going to stand there in the pocket and not move too much in close range,” said Stevenson, a 2016 Olympics silver medalist.
The hard-hitting Marriaga is on a four-fight winning streak and he will present a tough test to the New Jersey native. The Colombian’s only three losses have come in world title fights to the likes of Nicholas Walters in 2015 and Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez in 2017.
Stevenson wants to add a fourth strike to Marriaga’s resume before moving on to bigger and better challenges.
“I’m willing to jump back into the ring in May and face [IBF featherweight champion] Josh Warrington in the UK. I want that fight really bad. That fight should be easy to make,” said Stevenson. “If I can’t get Warrington in the ring for a unification fight, I want Leo Santa Cruz [after the Marriaga fight] so bad. Plus, in my last fight, he said I was going to lose. I want to f---- him up. I’ll go in his backyard at Staples Center and turn myself into a star. Santa Cruz has a good fan base … I’ll fight Gary Russell Jr. too if that fight is presented. He’s a hell of a fighter, but I’m bigger and stronger and have range. I have nothing but respect for Gary.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.