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Shakur Stevenson turns 23 today

Shakur Stevenson

By Sean Jones: Shakur Stevenson turned 23-years-old today, and he’s looking to make big things happen this year for him at 130. Although Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) still hasn’t vacated his WBO 126-lb title, he’s expected to do that now that he’s made his debut against super featherweight.

Stevenson stopped Felix Caraballo in the sixth round on June 9 in sending a message to the 130-pounders like Miguel Berchelt, Oscar Valdez, Jamel Herring, and Leo Santa Cruz. Shakur says he wants to fight Berchelt and Santa Cruz. He’s also interested in facing WBA lightweight champion Gervonta Davis one of these days.

Stevenson’s promoters at Top Rank Boxing aren’t pressuring him to move at a fast pace. The head of the company Bob Arum would like to see him face IBF 126-lb champion Josh Warrington before leaving the division, but that fight doesn’t look like it’s in the cards.

Warrington wants to fight secondary WBA featherweight champion Can Xu next, and who knows who else he’ll wish to after that?

Shakur Stevenson

Hitchens impressed by Shakur’s body punching

“The bodywork was tremendous,” said 2016 Olympian Richardson Hitchins to Fighthype on Shakur Stevenson’s recent win over Felix Caraballo. “He definitely showed a lot of growth as a pro, and he’s touching the body a lot more now.

“He’s doing what he has to do with a guy like that. That’s what he’s supposed to do against a guy like that. Get him out of there. Certain fighters don’t want to take that risk [of fighting better opposition], and certain fighters are ready to take that risk, but the money isn’t compensated right,” said Hitchens.

The body punching that Shakur Stevenson did in his victory over Felix Caraballo was impressive, as it showed a different side of his game. He was no longer fighting with the Terence Crawford style, which is how he usually fights, and he morphed into Andre Ward.

The Ward style of fighting might be the better one for Stevenson because he’s not the puncher that Crawford is, and he has a better chance of scoring knockouts that way.

The shots that Shakur landed upstairs against Caraballo did nothing to him because his power isn’t formidable when going to the head. But like Ward, Stevenson showed that he be a knockout threat when he attacks his opponent’s body.

Time is on Shakur Stevenson’s side

“So it’s about timing,” said Hitchins on Shakur. “Whoever they put in front of him or whoever they put in front of anybody. You’re going to do what you’re supposed to do with them. Whether it’s a tough fight, competitive fight, or an easy fight, you’re going to do what you’re supposed to do and get your check and go home.

Shakur Stevenson

“As I said, we’re still young at 22 and 23-years-old. So time is on our side right now. And do we don’t have to [take risks]? I don’t think he should be in the ring fighting someone like Gary Russell Jr or any big fight.

“I think he should get more experience and fight top guys, but not top guys that are a risk. Hopefully, by the time he’s [Shakur Stevenson] is 24 or 25, he’ll be ready for the big fights,” said Hitchins on Stevenson.

Stevenson indeed has the age on his side right now heading into the 130-lb division. He’s considerably younger than the top fighters in the division like Miguel Berchelt, Valdez, Santa Cruz, and Herring. However, Stevenson will need to be able to raise his game considerably for him to beat those guys.

At times during the Caraballo fight, Stevenson looked slow on his feet, and his speed wasn’t that great. Moreover, he wasn’t throwing a lot of shots, and he was looking for the perfect time to let his hands go.

That style works against lower-level fighters like Caraballo, but it’s not going to be effective against the elite in the division.


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