Is Shakur Stevenson returning to face Artem Harutyunyan to defend WBC lightweight world title?

After Devin Haney vacated his undisputed lightweight title to challenge Regis Prograis for the WBC super lightweight title, the WBC arranged a vacant lightweight title fight between Shakur Stevenson and Edwin De Los Santos.

In a lackluster bout where neither boxer managed to land double-digit strikes in any of the twelve rounds, Stevenson secured victory via unanimous decision, thus becoming the WBC lightweight champion. Now, amidst a lot of controversy and impulsive decisions, Stevenson has opted to defend his title.

Shakur Stevenson vs Artem Harutyunyan title bout confirmed?

As per Mike Coppinger, the ESPN Boxing Insider, Shakur Stevenson is set to defend his WBC lightweight title against Artem Harutyunyan. The camps of both fighters are in the process of finalizing the deal for the fight set for July 6 in Newark, New Jersey.

For Stevenson, the fight will be the final fight of his deal with Top Rank. Stevenson will enter free agency after the bout and would be looking to make a statement victory to attract a bigger contract with Top Rank or other promoters.

Harutyunyan is coming off his first professional boxing defeat to Frank Martin in a close fight in July 2023. After the fight, WBC ordered Martin to fight Stevenson for the vacant title but it did not materialize as Martin’s team could not come to terms with Stevenson’s team.

Harutyunyan had a close fight with Martin, as the match would have ended in a draw if he had won the 12th and final round. However, the German boxer took a knee due to considerable swelling on his eye, resulting in his loss via scorecards of 115-112(x2) and 114-113.

Like Stevenson, Harutyunyan also secured a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but they competed in different weight classes. Stevenson was the bantamweight silver medalist, whereas Harutyunyan secured the light welterweight bronze medal for Germany.

Did Shakur Stevenson retire or take a break from boxing?

Shakur Stevenson had an awful showing in his last bout against Edwin De Los Santos, drawing the ire of boxing fans worldwide. However, Stevenson remained determined to become the undisputed champion of the division.

After Devin Haney’s move up to super lightweight, the WBA elevated Gervonta Davis to champion status, and Stevenson won the vacant WBC title after defeating Los Santos. However, the WBO and IBF titles remained vacant, and Stevenson expressed his desire to compete for them.

Nonetheless, after his lackluster showing, the WBA did not allow Stevenson to fight for it. This made Stevenson announce his retirement on January 30, 2024. However, both Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC chairman, and Wali Moses, the grandfather and coach of Stevenson, confirmed that this is not the case.

“He is not retiring,” stated Sulaiman about Stevenson’s decision. “I don’t think it’s a real retirement,” Moses seconded the thought. As expected by the aforementioned individuals, less than 10 days after the retirement announcement, Stevenson revealed that he is open to boxing again.

Do you think Shakur Stevenson will successfully defend his title against Artem Harutyunyan? Leave your prediction below!


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