Shakur Stevenson vs. Artem Harutyunyan being Finalized for July 6th

By Jeepers Isaac - 03/29/2024 - Comments

WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson is finalizing a deal to defend against Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th in Newark, New Jersey. The fight is expected to be shown on ESPN. Stevenson, 26, is playing it safe on his way out, with this contest being the final fight of his contract with Top Rank.

Shakur (21-0, 10 KOs) will fight at home in front of his fans at the Prudential Center for his first defense of his WBC 135-lb title against #8 Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs). Mike Coppinger is reporting that the Shakur-Harutyunyhan fight is being finalized.

Fans have a problem with this fight because Shakur could have fought #2 WBC contender Raymond Muratalla (19-0, 16 KOs), but instead, he is facing Harutyunyan, who lost his last fight against Frank Martin in July.

There’s no way that the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur can spin this for it to make sense to his fans because it’s never a good look for a champion to defend against a fighter who is coming off a loss, especially when a highly touted talent like Muratalla is publicly telling fans and the media that he wanted the opportunity but was ignored.

Top Rank: Keeping him or Dumping Him?

Perhaps Shakur wanted to make sure that he ended his contract with Top Rank on a positive note. This is his final fight with them, and he needs a solid performance to increase his value for the next promotional company that signs him.

It’s unclear whether Top Rank will try and re-sign Shakur for another hitch with their company or if they’re washing their hands of him, saying, ‘Good riddance.’ You have to look at Shakur’s toughest fights in the last three years to know that he’ll never be an entertaining type of fighter and won’t become a PPV attraction due to his dull style.

The problem with Top Rank keeping Shakur is that none of the top fighters want anything to do with fighting him because of his reputation as a runner. The last thing that fighters like Gervonta Davis, Vasily Lomachenko, and Emanuel Navarrete want is to chase Shakur all over creation and be part of a fight that is booed from round one to round twelve.

Shakur looked so bad in his last fight against Edwin De Los Santos last November, making it vital that he shine like a glass in this fight on July 6th to enhance his market value.

If Top Rank had thrown Shakur to the wolves by matching him against Muratalla in his final fight with them, he’d likely be exiting with a loss or another disappointing effort like last November, and no amount of injury excuses would help.