Shakur Stevenson Pays Respect to Gary Antuanne Russell
Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) and Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs) are two of the more talented
younger fighters in the sport. Stevenson has won world titles at 126 and 130, and is now campaigning at 135. Russell is a world-ranked junior welterweight. They grew up in the amateur ranks and are very familiar with one another.
COULD A MATCHUP BE BREWING?
During an interview with Urban Sports Scene podcast, Stevenson was asked if he was interested in a possible fight with Russell. The two-division champ said anything is possible and showed Russell the ultimate respect.
“Yeah, if it comes down to it. If I’m being honest with you, he gave me my best work ever in terms
of sparring. We’ve done like twelve rounds straight in the heat. Their gym is so damn hot. Me and him went to war in the heat, and I got to respect him. He’s a fighter that I respect because he made me earn a lot of stuff.
[…] Yeah, I think me and him would be a hell of a fight. I think that’s like the Sugar Ray Leonard – Marvin Hagler, if we ever fight. It would be that kind of fight. So, tip my hat off to him, he’s a hell of a fighter. I think he’s the best fighter in the DMV area right now. Him and Tank (Davis) […], they are the best two fighters out there.”
The last time he was in the ring, Stevenson scored a dominant win against Robson Conceicao in September 2022. Stevenson was supposed to defend the unified junior lightweight titles that evening but was stripped of the belts when he failed to make weight. After being stripped, the 25-year-old from Newark, New Jersey announced he would move up to the light division.
Russell is coming off a questionable sixth-round stoppage over two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in July 2022. Ranked fifth by the WBC, eighth by the WBA, and eleventh by the IBF at 140, the 26-year-old from Capital Heights, Maryland is inching closer to a world title shot.
WHAT’S THE LIKELIHOOD OF THEM FACING OFF?
A Stevenson – Russell match would be very interesting. They are fast, athletic southpaws who are highly
skilled. Both can fight effectively on the front or back foot. Russell is the bigger puncher, while Stevenson is better defensively. How would Stevenson fare against someone naturally bigger with legit punching power? How would Russell deal against an opponent so slick and hard to hit?
As of right now, that potential fight would not happen for a while. Stevenson is just entering the
lightweight division. Russell has eyes on winning a world title at junior welterweight. However, the pride of Newark was a big featherweight and junior lightweight. He has the frame to eventually fight at junior welterweight.
The fact that Stevenson expressed an interest in facing Russell suggests he is eying that possible
fight down the road. Could they be on a collision course? It’s a fantasy match that could become a reality.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.