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What’s left for Shakur Stevenson at featherweight?

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What’s left for Shakur Stevenson at featherweight?

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

What’s left for Shakur Stevenson at featherweight?

Newly crowned WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson has officially gotten his first championship title and after dispatching Joet Gonzalez in a wide unanimous decision Saturday night. The question remains now for Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) is what is left for the 22-year-old in that weight class.

In my honest opinion, there is no-one at this current time at 126 pounds, which can matchup with Stevenson en route to him clearing out the division. The reason is simple: everyone at featherweight is moving on up more than The Jeffersons. The belt Stevenson just won was one that vacated by Oscar Valdez as he decided to move up to 130 due to weight issues he complained of.

We can start with Leo Santa Cruz moving up to 130 to challenge for a vacant title left behind by Gervonta Davis when he stepped up to 135 as an attraction bout against Miguel Flores on the upcoming Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz pay-per-view. He originally had the WBA belt champ at 126 and decided to move up.

Then there is Gary Russell Jr. The WBC Champion at 126 has become boxing fodder for the simple fact the man only is in action once a year. The idea of a Top Rank fighter taking on someone from Premier Boxing Champions is a rivalry as old as the Hatfields and Mccoys at this point. To be clear, let’s not act like this is even an option now or ever in the near and distant future for Stevenson.

The only scenario left for Stevenson is the most logical one in a unification bout with current IBF titleholder Josh Warrington. Lance Pugmire of The Athletic reported that Stevenson’s promoter Bob Arum is going to initiate contact with Warrington’s promoter Frank Warren about a fight in England in the Spring.

The fight for both Stevenson and Warrington makes sense for both as they have no one else to challenge. The primary concern, of course, falls in the camp of Warrington, who won a contentious split-decision victory in June against Kid Galahad. The question for Warrington will be footwork, which he had troubles with against Galahad and what Stevenson used to his advantage to outbox Gonzalez.  It will be a different test as the former Olympian Stevenson will have to travel for the first time in his career as a pro.

“Josh Warrington! You are a champion, now I am a champion. Let’s do this! I want to unify titles,” Stevenson said after the fight Saturday night.

This matchup doesn’t seem like one that would be an issue to create and one to keep an eye out on for your calendars in 2020.

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Marquis Johns is a unknown humorist and avid boxing fan. His love for the sweet science goes back to when matches were 15 rounds and has been covering fights since closed-circuit pay-per-views. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth is not only a quote by Mike Tyson, it's also a pretty good reminder to keep your guard up.

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