What's Next for Shakur Stevenson?
On Saturday, April 30th, Shakur Stevenson became a unified champion in the Super Featherweight division as he outclassed Oscar Valdez on his way to a unanimous decision victory. Valdez came into the fight against Stevenson, undefeated at 30-0. Stevenson made him look like a journeyman, who had multiple losses on his record. Stevenson showed the world that he is one of the best boxers in the world, no matter, the weight class. The big question now. is what's next for the WBC and WBO Super Featherweight champion? Let's take a look at some possible opponents.
IBF Super Featherweight Champion, Kenichi Ogawa (Photo via Bad Left Hook)
Shakur Stevenson is chasing greatness and being undisputed champion is a great notch to have on your belt as you climb the ladder of greatness. Kenichi Ogawa is the IBF Super Featherweight Champion and has an impressive record of 26 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw, and 1 no contest with 18 wins by way of knockout. Ogawa's best win was overturned and changed to a no contest. Ogawa had a split decision win over former champion Tevin Farmer but it was overturned due to a positive test for Androstanediol. That black mark on his resume, really makes his resume light compared to other title holders. That could be what gives Stevenson's team a cause to pause on fighting Ogawa. Is he worth it?
Ogawa having one of the belts makes him worth it. He also can provide issues to Stevenson with his power and size. Valdez has power but is a smaller fighter. The size difference between Stevenson and Valdez was so evident in the ring. Stevenson would not have that advantage in this fight as Ogawa is one inch taller and both fighters have a 68 inch reach. This would be a good fight to test Stevenson and plus the more titles, the better.
WBA Super Featherweight Champion, Roger Gutierrez (Photo courtesy of Venezuela News)
Again, we get back to the theme of collecting belts and Roger Gutierrez has the WBA Super Featherweight title. Gutierrez has a record of 26 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw with 20 wins by way of knockout. Gutierrez does not have the greatest resume but he has power and size. For those who question the greatness of Stevenson. He can put to bed the size advantage slight by defeating Gutierrez. Gutierrez is taller and has a longer reach than Stevenson. Stevenson is now a big enough name to carry a card and make money even with an opponent that doesn't have a huge following.
Vasyl Lomachenko (Photo provided by ESPN)
If Shakur Stevenson isn't interested in becoming undisputed at 130 pounds because of the other title holders not having big time resumes. He can move up to 135 pounds where there are a plethora of fighters with big time followings and resumes. One of those many stars at 135 pounds is. Vasyl Lomachenko, who has 16 wins and 2 losses with 11 wins by way of knockout. Lomachenko and Stevenson are both under the ESPN/Top Rank umbrella which makes this fight the easiest to make on this list. This fight may also be the most profitable as it could be a pay per view event. Lomachenko was formerly ranked number one of most pundits pound for pound list. This could be the fight to make Stevenson a true household name.
Lomachenko was set to fight George Kambosos Jr but due to the conflict in his home country of Ukraine, had to bow out. So he will be in line to fight the winner of Kambosos vs Devin Haney. That may put a hold on Stevenson getting Loma in the ring.
Gervonta Davis (Photo via Sports Illustrated)
Gervonta "Tank" Davis is another one of the many stars at 135 pounds. Davis has 26 wins and 0 losses with 24 wins by way of knockout. He has turned his great knockout rate into pay-per-view stardom. Tank vs Stevenson would be a huge draw and the winner would be able to call their shots on who they fight and where from this point forward.
Davis is fighting Rolando Romero on May 28th. If he wins, he will need to fight a big name afterwards, as fans are tired of seeing him against "subpar" competition. So this is a fight that can be a major positive for both, if its a good fight. Which team backs down if this fight is proposed?
The sky is the limit for Shakur Stevenson and I am so excited to see what is next. Now in boxing, usually when we get excited about the possible opponents for a boxer, is when we get hit with mandatory challengers. There are a few fighters who I wouldn't mind seeing Stevenson defend his titles against like; Robson Conceicao, Hector Luis Garcia, or Archie Sharp, among others.
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