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IF top American prospect Shakur Stevenson gets his way, his first featherweight title shot will arrive this year and see him oppose IBF champion Josh Warrington in the United Kingdom.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallist recently revealed this plan to Tha Boxing Voice podcast and clearly, despite boasting just nine professional fights to his name, has no qualms about fighting Warrington in his home country. That’s good news for Warrington, who has built quite the following in the UK, especially in his home city of Leeds, and it is also good news for British fans eager to get a closer look at one of America’s hottest boxing talents.
“I’m fiending for my [first] title shot to be against Josh Warrington in the UK,” said the 21-year-old from New Jersey. “I just watched him fight Carl Frampton and I’m fiending so bad.
“I respect him, and I think he’s a great champion. I ain’t just saying that because I see flaws. I’m saying that because he’s tough. It’s not going to be an easy fight at all for anybody in that division.
“Most people will sleep on him and look at him like they can beat him. You look at him and you’re like, ‘I’ll dog this dude.’ But he’s real busy and, while you’re throwing one or two punches, he’s throwing six.
“I think he’s a great fighter, but I’m fiending for that opportunity because I know that if you put him in front of me in England for a world title I will love every bit of that experience and I’m going to be able to showcase who I really am.”
Before dreams of a world title shot in hostile territory can become a reality, Stevenson must make his pro record a perfect ten when he faces Jessie Cris Rosales, 22-1-1 (10), in a chief-support contest to the January 18 heavyweight fight between Bryant Jennings and Oscar Rivas in New York.
Twenty-eight-year-old Warrington, meanwhile, having upset both Lee Selby and Carl Frampton in 2018, should be afforded the luxury of taking his time and exploring the many options now at his fingertips. He has, after all, done it the hard way.
French-Canadian puncher David Lemieux, a former IBF middleweight champion, is targeting a May 4 date with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez but wants the fight to take place at super-middleweight rather than in the division in which both made their name.
It’s not as harebrained as you might assume. Pair Lemieux’s recent struggle making middleweight with Alvarez’s destruction of Rocky Fielding in December, which landed him the WBA regular super-middleweight title, and it actually makes a lot of sense – for both of them.
“We will try to do this fight that could take place in May. That’s our goal,” Lemieux’s co-promoter Camille Estephan told The Montreal Journal. “For the moment, it’s our Plan A. We have not yet spoken with Golden Boy about this or about other potential fights.”
Lemieux was supposed to appear on the undercard of Alvarez’s demolition of Fielding but a proposed contest against Tureano Johnson had to be scrapped after the former champion was taken to hospital during an attempt to hit the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.
“David would have liked to fight even though he had some health problems,” said Estephan. “He was on the verge of dialysis. We decided that getting him into the ring would have been too risky.”
To reduce risk moving forward, it would seem David Lemieux’s future lies eight pounds north in the super-middleweight division. Yet, even that plan, as safe as it appears in theory, could swiftly become hazardous if he gets his wish and opposes Canelo Alvarez on May 4.