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WBC orders Shakur Stevenson vs. Isaac Cruz for final 135-lb eliminator

Image: WBC orders Shakur Stevenson vs. Isaac Cruz for final 135-lb eliminator

By Craig Daly: The WBC has now ordered #2 Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz to face #4 Shakur Stevenson in a final 135-lb title eliminator to decide the mandatory challenger to lightweight undisputed champion Devin Haney.

It’s unclear whether Shakur’s promoters at Top Rank will want to oblige the World Boxing Council’s decision to order their fighter to face Pitbull Cruz (24-2-1, 17 KOs) next because they intend on matching Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) against the winner of the Haney vs. Vasyl Lomachenko fight.

If Haney chooses to vacate his WBC title to move up to 140, Stevenson would be in a position to potentially fight for the vacated title unless the sanctioning body orders #1 Lomachenko to face #2 Pitbull Cruz for the belt.

Ideally, Top Rank should allow the former two-division world champion Shakur to take on Pitbull Cruz because it’s a winnable fight for Stevenson, and it’ll increase his popularity in a great build-up for him to take on the Haney vs. Lomachenko winner for the WBC title.

Stevenson, 25, is going to need to stay busy anyway while he waits for the smoke to clear from the Haney-Lomachenko winner before he gets a shot at the WBC title, be it against the last man standing in that bout or, more likely, for the vacant strap.

If Haney beats Lomachenko, he’ll almost surely move up to 140 immediately after rather than sticking around the lightweight division, fighting half-drained, to defend against Shakur.

“WBC orders Shakur Stevenson vs. Isaac Cruz as the final 135-pound eliminator toward champion Devin Haney,” per Lance Pugmire on Twitter during today’s World Boxing Council convention in Mexico.

Pitbull Cruz, 24, has looked sensational in his last three fights against Eduardo Ramirez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis. Cruz should have won all three of those fights, as he got the better of Tank Davis in their clash last December at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Pitbull Cruz got the business, losing a fight that he should have won against Tank Davis. If Pitbull fights at the same level against Stevenson as he did Tank, it should be interesting to watch the match-up from start to finish.

Pitbull’s short height and the way he batters his opponents on the inside are going to make it awfully tough for Shakur if he can’t keep him off of him.

Stevenson isn’t used to fighting on the inside or getting hit a lot. In Shakur’s loss to Cuban fighter Robeisy Ramirez in the gold medal match in the 2016 Olympics, he struggled with the inside game of his opponent.

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