Shakur Stevenson Needs A Superfight, But No One Is Stepping Up

Frank Martin pulled out of a WBC lightweight title fight with 'Sugar'
07:00, 15 Sep 2023

Shakur Stevenson hasn’t been able to catch a break since moving up to lightweight. The two-weight world champion moving to arguably the hottest division in boxing should have been a slam dunk. Unified champion Devin Haney, former kingpin Vasiliy Lomachenko, knockout artist Gervonta Davis and box office superstar Ryan Garcia all offered mouthwatering potential fights for Stevenson. 

Stevenson was Haney’s mandatory when ‘The Dream’ held the WBC belt. But Haney has vacated that title to move up to 140 lbs and challenge Regis Prograis for the WBC light welterweight strap. Meanwhile, Garcia is preparing a comeback fight after losing to Davis while Lomachenko’s next move is unclear.  There was no superfight to greet Stevenson once he announced his lightweight arrival with a win over Shuichiro Yoshino in June.


Even the straightforward matter of booking in his promised WBC lightweight title shot has been difficult. Original opponent Frank Martin, the 18-0 ‘Ghost’ from Detroit, pulled out of the proposed bout. Rumour has it he has accepted a lucrative bout with Gervonta Davis, who is a proven PPV draw and would likely offer a bigger purse for Martin. But nothing is confirmed on that score and Stevenson will now face Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant green belt.

It is not how Stevenson expected his assault on the lightweight division to go. After racking up the WBO featherweight title and the WBC, WBO and The Ring straps at super featherweight, Shakur would have hoped to make a splash at 135. The Yoshino was a good proof of concept for what Stevenson could do at the higher weight. He battered his world-ranked foe in six one-sided rounds. But the dreams of Haney and Davis quickly dissipated in the aftermath.


Now De Los Santos awaits. In short, this is not the sort of coming-out party anyone envisaged for Shakur at a new weight. De Los Santos is 16-1 and has never competed in a 12-round fight. The Dominican fighter lost an eight rounder to William Foster III in 2022. It’s not the hot streak of form you’d expect from a world title challenger. But that’s Martin’s fault, not Stevenson’s. ‘Sugar’ can only fight what’s in front of him. Another dominant display is needed to prove his credentials and earn a fight against one of the division’s big guns.

Top Rank Boxing chief Bob Arum has gone on record saying how keen he is to make a fight between Stevenson and Davis happen. That fight would be a huge money-spinner between two of the best up-and-coming fighters in the game. Haney remains unified lightweight champion despite moving up in weight. He could well come back down to meet Stevenson too. If Shakur is holding Devin’s old WBC belt at that point, and undisputed title fight between the pair would be massive for the sport. A lightweight version of Terence Crawford and Errol Spence’s blockbuster welterweight unification earlier this year.

Stevenson has all the ability needed to be among the biggest names in the sport. But true greats aren’t determined merely by their own abilities. They are also judged by the quality of their opposition. Stevenson’s legacy lacks a truly massive victory, despite his multiple world title belts. The lightweight division offers those opportunities. Let’s hope that Stevenson will get the opportunity to fight a top opponent sooner rather than later. 

latest boxing odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.