Muratalla, Garcia Puzzled by Shakur’s Choice for Title Defense

By Nationvegas - 03/29/2024 - Comments

Raymond Muratalla and his trainer Robert Garcia don’t understand why Shakur Stevenson is choosing to defend his WBC lightweight title against #8 Artem Harutyunyan, a fighter coming off a loss, for Shakur’s next fight on July 6th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The Harutyunyan fight still hasn’t been officially confirmed by Top Rank, but many believe this is the one that is happening next for Shakur.

Muratalla Feels Overlooked

#2 WBC Muratalla (19-0, 16 KOs) feels that he should be next for Shakur to fight on July 6th rather than against a fighter, Harutyunyan, who is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision to Frank Martin last July.

It sends the wrong message for a world champion like Shakur to ignore the highly-ranked Muratalla and defend against a guy coming off a loss.

What makes it look especially bad is Shakur is coming off a dreadful performance in his last fight against Edwin De Los Santos last November in a clash that many felt he lost.

In the aftermath, Stevenson, 26, blamed his poor effort on a hand, shoulder, and weight drain problem. If that were the case, Shakur should have given De Los Santos a rematch to show fans what he could do when 100% healthy. Instead of facing Muratalla or doing that, Shakur defends against Harutyunyan.

Muratalla is fighting tonight against Xolisani Ndongeni (31-4, 18 KOs) in a ten-round bout on the undercard of Oscar Valdez vs. Liam Wilson on ESPN+ at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

“Absolutely. I don’t know why he’s fighting a guy that lost his last fight [Artem Harutyunyan] when he could fight me. I’m here. We’re in the same promotion [Top Rank], so I don’t know why I’m not an option,” said Raymond Muratalla to K.O. Kristy about WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson choosing to fight the recently beaten Artem Harutyunyan for his title defense on July 6th.

“He [Shakur] realizes I’m a threat in the division, so Top Rank needs to match us together. It’s a big fight, it’s an amazing fight. I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m here to take over the 135-lb division, so it’s going to be trouble for him.

Robert Garcia: “Pound-for-pound fighters should fight the best”

“From what I understand, he’s fighting a guy that lost his last fight,” said Robert Garcia, the trainer for Raymond Muratalla, to Tru School Sports on X about Shakur Stevenson, who is rumored to be fighting recently beaten Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th in Newark, New Jersey.

“So, how can a pound-for-pound fighter choose to fight a guy that lost his last fight? If you’re pound-for-pound the best, you got to fight the best. That’s who you should be fighting. Honestly, I don’t see why they would even consider that against a guy that lost his last fight,” said Robert.