Shakur Stevenson Talks Gary Russell Jr
When he returns to action on June 9, WBO world featherweight champion “Fearless” Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO’s) believes that he will be taking on something of a light touch. His opponent on that date will be Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KO’s). If given his choice of adversaries, Stevenson would have happily selected a fellow champion, although this was obviously not in the cards.
Provided that he gets past Caraballo without any issues, then there is little doubt that Fearless will once again seek out a unification fight with another belt holder within the 126lbs division. Unfortunately, in recent months Stevenson has had little success locking down the type of fight that he wants. In fact, the difficulty has remained so persistent that Fearless has begun regularly talking about moving up in weight to find a worthy challenge.
THE BEST FIGHT THE BEST
Since he began speculating about this potential move north, many have openly wondered what a bout between Shakur Stevenson and WBC world featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr (31-1, 18 KO’s) would look like. Even better, Russell Jr. himself let it be known that he’d love to match his wits and brawn against Stevenson in a formally contracted prizefight.
When questioned about a potential showdown against Russell in a recent round table, Stevenson upheld his willingness to tangle with Junior while still remaining very respectful.
“That’d be a hell of a fight with me and Gary. I really think we are the best two featherweights skillfully in the division; so I think that’d be a hell of a fight. And Gary is right, Gary knows that I am the only one that see it and talk about everybody else. He don’t respect a lot of other fighters. But he respects me a lot because he been around me, he know my mindset, he knows what I am about.”
UP IN THE AIR
Assuming that he is successful in his fight with Caraballo, it will be interesting to see who Stevenson can pen a bout with next. Aside from the recent talks about facing Russell Jr., Shakur Stevenson has long pursued a prizefight with IBF world featherweight champion Josh “The Leeds Warrior” Warrington (30-0, 7 KO’s).
This bout, unfortunately, has not come one inch closer to being put together. Now with the global COVID-19 protocols and travel bans in place, it is less likely than ever that the New Jersey-born Stevenson will take on the UK champion anytime soon.
So if we can’t get an international featherweight unification, let’s cross our fingers and hope that we get a highly skilled, ‘new versus the old guard’ all-American featherweight unification.
By: Bakari Simpson