Announced: Shakur Stevenson Faces Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th ESPN

By Tim Compton - 05/07/2024 - Comments

Shakur Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) puts his WBC 135-lb title on the line against #6 Artem Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) in a 12-round headliner in a stacked card on July 6th on ESPN and ESPN+ at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Stevenson is taking a lot of flak from boxing fans for fighting the 33-year-old
Harutyunyan, given that this guy is coming off a loss to Frank Martin.

Is Top Rank Done with Shakur?

That looks bad on Stevenson’s part, but this is likely the best that he could get. After Shakur’s last fight, he’s now someone that none of the popular fighters want to fight because they don’t want to have to chase him around the ring while the crowd boos the action. Harutyunyan is likely the only guy that Top Rank could find for Shakur.

Moreover, since this was Stevenson’s last fight of his contract with Top Rank, it didn’t make sense for them to match him against one of their talented fighters, such as Vasily Lomachenko, Keyshawn Davis, or Emanuel Navarrete, considering he could be leaving the company to sign with someone else.

It’ll be interesting to see if Top Rank will let Shakur walk after this without putting in a huge effort to re-sign him to a new contract. Look at it this way: They let the two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux go when he was with their company, winning world titles, but being a defensive-minded fighter that failed to attract a large fan base.

If Top Rank were willing to let Rigondeaux go, who was a far more talented and exciting fighter than Shakur, then there’s a good chance they’ll wash their hands of Stevenson and view him as a lost cause and not worthy of re-signing.

It’s an important fight for Shakur to impress if he wants to get a chance to fight in a unification match this year. Another performance from him like his last one, he could find himself as a pariah to be avoided for good by top dogs.

Undercard Might Be the Main Event

In a fight could steal the show on July 6h, WBC super featherweight champion O’Shaquie Foster defends his belt against 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao.

Also on the card, 2020 U.S. Olympian Keyshawn Davis faces Miguel Madueno in a 10-round lightweight contest. #3 WBC Keyshawn, 24, continues his upward trajectory toward an eventual title shot.

Keyshawn has to raise his game because he looked terrible in his fight against Nahir Albright, and that’s the only talented fighter that Top Rank has matched him up against since signing him.

If Keyshawn is going to fight for a world title one day, he’s got to make improvements in his game because he doesn’t look capable of winning a title at 135, and his chances of capturing a belt at 140 or nil.