Home Boxing News Shakur Stevenson slams Top Rank ahead of homecoming bout against Artem Harutyunyan

Shakur Stevenson slams Top Rank ahead of homecoming bout against Artem Harutyunyan

Shakur Stevenson (right) with Bob Arum. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson 21-0 (10) believes his promoter Top Rank haven’t been doing their job ahead of his bout against Artem Harutyunyan 12-1 (7) at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey this Saturday night.

The 27-year-old southpaw from Newark will be out of contract with Top Rank after this bout and believes the Las Vegas-based outfit isn’t putting in their usual effort to promote his fight.

“It means everything to me. I hope that everybody comes out to support. I know that my promotional company is not trying to promote the fight properly,” Stevenson told boxing journalist Dan Rafael.

“I just pray that the same people been coming out for me keep coming out for me, and just show up and enjoy the show.

“I mean, usually it’s just more. I’ve been working with them for years. It’s not just about the interviews that I’m doing with y‘all. I feel as though we’ve been working for a long time and they just [need to do] more.

“I ain’t gonna get into details. It is what it is. I ain’t trippin’ on it – I just gotta show up and do my job.”

Stevenson insisted his impending free agency has not been a distraction, adding it would be something he addresses after the fight.

“Honestly, the free agency and everything with it, that matters after the fight,” he said.

“Right now, we gotta stay focused on what’s ahead of us and the main thing is coming in there prepared and ready to put on a performance, so nah, I don’t care for it. It is what it is and not a distraction at all.”

Stevenson will need to put on a better performance than he did in his last fight against 24-year-old Dominican southpaw Edwin De Los Santos 16-2 (14) last November is he wants promoters to come flocking for his services.

Stevenson reportedly entered that bout with a number of injuries and broke his rear hand early in the fight. He boxed competently enough with just his right hand to win a unanimous decision, but the action was so slow-paced that CompuBox had Stevenson landing just 65 blows of 209 thrown.

De Los Santos was more active but less accurate, throwing 316 punches for just 40 connects.

Top Rank boss Bob Arum labelled the fight “a stinker”. Stevenson says circumstances outside of his control dictated the style of the fight on the night.

“It is what it is. I can’t do anything about it, but at the end of the day, we got to also take recognition and understand that De Los Santos is not an easy fight,” Stevenson said.

“I’m hoping that somebody gives him an opportunity because now the world can see that that’s not a guy that you just go in there and annihilate, and especially someone like me that I got one hand in the fight.

“So now I’m fighting this good fighter that has good defensive abilities and got power and is a tricky fighter with good skills.”

Germany’s Harutyunyan, 33, looks like a tough nut to crack. He gave lightweight contender Frank Martin 18-1 (12) all he could handle in their bout in Las Vegas a year ago, losing a close decision.

“I think he’s a real good solid fighter. I think that he tries to pressure you with his legs. Got real good footwork,” Stevenson said.

“Got a nice little high guard. Honestly, I just don’t think he seen anything like me.

“I think that I’m just levels above him and I still got to go out there and prove it. So on July 6 is the date, that’s the date we go out there and show who I am.

The first order of business after this weekend’s fight will be to sign off on a promotional contract, whether that is with the incumbent or some other entity. Once that is done, Stevenson wants to be matched up with some of the other big names in the division.

“I think big fights is mainly the thing that I’m looking for,” he said. “I want to be in big fights because I want a chance to prove to the world, to show who I am as a fighter but honestly, it’s hard to think about that kind of stuff with what’s going on right now and I’m trying to like stay within a moment and focus on Artem.

“We can talk about it but it ain’t here yet. I mean, you know it will be better interviewing me after the Artem fight and then I can strategically tell you.”