By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson is well aware of the golden opportunity waiting in front of him.
With the former Olympic silver medalist less than three weeks away from taking on WBC super featherweight titlist, Oscar Valdez, he views their upcoming showdown as his de-facto coming out party.
Presently, although Stevenson has only been a professional for roughly five years, he’s already become a multiple division world champion. But, despite pillaging those golden trinkets from several notable names, Stevenson believes he isn’t given the recognition he deserves.
That can all change come April 30th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the mind of Stevenson, if he successfully strips Valdez of his WBC title and becomes the division’s only unified champion, he firmly believes that he deserves a lofty spot on everyone’s pound-for-pound list.
“I’ll say like number five on the pound-for-pound list,” said Stevenson to a group of reporters. “I just fought Jamel and I’m right back, fighting Oscar Valdez. I’m taking on tough competition. Oscar is undefeated, 30 and 0 with 23 knockouts.”
As mentioned by Stevenson, the 24-year-old was last seen in the ring, manhandling Jamel Herring. Though he was viewed as the bigger man, Herring’s size advantage did little to keep Stevenson off him, as he went on to lose via 10th round stoppage.
Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Stevenson immediately issued a challenge to Valdez, something the Mexican product quickly accepted. With the pair now set to unify 130-pound titles, Stevenson isn’t taking his upcoming opponent lightly.
Not only has Valdez won world titles at both 126 and 130 pounds but he’s produced some of the more notable performances in recent memory. In 2018, Valdez successfully defended his WBO featherweight crown against Scott Quigg, despite suffering a broken jaw.
Most recently, Valdez pitched a near-perfect game against former division kingpin, Miguel Berchelt. The Mexican native pummeled his man for much of their February of 2021 showdown, before violently ending the night in the 10th round.
Having watched Valdez up close and personal, Stevenson believes it would be disingenuous to downplay the overall skills of Valdez. While he knows this could be the most difficult fight of his young career, Stevenson candidly explains why he was so anxious to face his fellow 130-pound champion.
“It’s not an easy fight for me but I’m willing to take the challenge. I love these types of challenges. These challenges wake me up every morning.”