Shakur Stevenson’s Rumored Opponents: Abdullaev and Harutyunyan

By Tim Compton - 03/27/2024 - Comments

Shakur Stevenson is Rumored to be making his first defense of his WBC lightweight title against Zaur Abdulaev or Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th in Newark, New Jersey.

If Top Rank selects one of those two as the opponent for the 26-year-old Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs), it would be a major disappointment because he needs a high-level opponent to help him redeem himself after his terribly poor performance in his last fight against Edwin De Los Santos last November.

Pride? What Pride?

Stevenson will be laughed at if he chooses former Devin Haney knockout victim Zaur Abdullaev as his next opponent, but pride is not a factor at this point. Whatever pride Shakur had went out the window after his fight against De Los Santos.

Shakur recently retired in a huff due to his problems getting big names to fight him at 135. After winning the vacant WBC 135-lb title, he had hopes of fighting Emanuel Navarrete or Vasily Lomachenko, but neither of those two wanted anything to do with him after his performance against De Los Santos.

Scaredy-Cat Shakur?

Instead of Shakur realizing that he must move up in weight to 140 or 147 if he wants to get the fights he’s hoping for, he needs to move up in weight and take risky fights against guys who wouldn’t be afraid of the runner.

Shakur appears apprehensive of mixing it against the killers at 140 and 147, even though he’s big enough to compete in either of those weight classes. Putting himself at risk of being knocked out by a single shot might be why Shakur is reluctant to move up in weight.

Looking at the sparring video of Shakur getting handled easily by 140-pounders, it’s not surprising that he’s choosing to stay at 135. He’s arguably too weak to fight at light welterweight or 147.

Harutyunyan: A Glimmer of Hope?

#8 WBC Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision against Frank Martin last July in a fight that he had been winning through the first half before running out of fuel, allowing the musclebound fighter to come on in the second half to pull out the win.

Either of these guys would be a major letdown. If Shakur wants to be taken seriously by fans, he’s got to stop running, stand his ground, and fight some dangerous opposition. If he stays at 135, volunteer with Top Rank to face Raymond Muratalla.