The term prospect no longer applies to unbeaten featherweight sensation Shakur Stevenson; he is now a genuine world title contender. Last night in Verona, in his tenth pro fight, the 21 year old lightning-fast southpaw scored his second eye-catching KO in a row as he downed the 22-1-1 Jessie Cris Rosales in the fourth-round. After his sizzling KO win over Viorel Simion in October, and now this latest stoppage victory, it does seem as though the former Olympian is developing into a genuine puncher.
For a while now, Stevenson, 10-0(6) has been calling for a shot at reigning IBF featherweight champ Josh Warrington, and after last night’s win Stevenson said he very much wants to go to the UK to fight next. Is Stevenson, after just ten pro fights boxed over a 21-month period, ready for Warrington right now? Such a question is not in any way designed to disrespect Warrington, who has proven again and again how good he is, but with Stevenson we have a special talent.
Over recent boxing history a special few have been able to win a major world title after just a veritable handful of fights: guys like Oscar De La Hoya and, further back, Evander Holyfield. The great Dwight Muhammad Qawi felt he was being disrespected by Holyfield and his team when, after just 11 pro bouts, the young Holyfield challenged him for his world cruiseweight belt. But as we know, “The Real Deal” won the fight.
Stevenson may never develop into as great a fighter as Holyfield, or De La Hoya, but he sure seems to be on the right path. Warrington is a tremendous action/pressure fighter, but he is no big puncher. The edge in pro experience would of course go to the man from Leeds in a fight with Stevenson, but would Warrington beat up, embarrass or dominate an out of his depth Stevenson? It seems unlikely. Warrington, 28-0(6) actually wants to go to the U.S for the big fights, so maybe he will look at making his second title defence against Stevenson.
But for we UK fight fans it would be great to see Warrington defend against Stevenson over here, in a stadium fight perhaps. Thus far in his young pro career Stevenson hasn’t in any way shown an obvious weakness or flaw. Win or lose against the all-action Warrington, Stevenson would almost certainly play his part in a tremendous fight. Should it happen here in 2019?