“No matter what weight class I’m in, I will dominate”

Shakur Stevenson’s arrival in the lightweight division came more suddenly than expected, but it brought a jolt of excitement to what many consider boxing’s finest class. Stevenson lost his unified super featherweight title on the scales last week – more on that in a moment – and is now an ex-champion looking for the biggest challenges in his newest division.

After beating up Robson Conceicao As of Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, Stevenson is now a full-time lightweight.

The division is stacked, with undisputed champion Devin Haney, runner-up Gervonta Davis and a host of other accomplished fighters like Vasiliy Lomachenko in the mix. Stevenson will fight anyone there, he says, but he’s not as high in the division as most.

“It’s a division that everyone else thinks is going to be super hard for me and it’s going to be a lot harder and stuff,” Stevenson told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “But honestly, I feel like I’m on a different level and no matter what weight class I’m in, I’m going to dominate.

“I’ll get more credit for beating these guys but honestly I think it’s overrated. I feel like it’s an overrated department. Everyone overestimates them and thinks they are the biggest and worst division in the world. I dominated at 126, I dominated at 130 and 135 won’t make any difference.”

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 23: Robson Conceição (L) and Shakur Stevenson (R) trade punches during their WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship bout at the Prudential Center on September 23, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Shakur Stevenson (R) lost his unified super featherweight title after straining heavily for his fight against Robson Conceição. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Even before he defeated Oscar Valdez in Las Vegas on April 30 to unify two of the super featherweight belts, he knew a move to lightweight was imminent. His body was growing, he was building muscle and losing weight was becoming increasingly difficult.

That’s why he talked so much about weight loss before the Conceicao fight. But even Stevenson had no real idea of ​​how difficult it was going to be. He lost 12 pounds in two days and his body shut down. He was annoyed at the reaction he was getting in many corners to his inability to punch 130 pounds on the nose.

It was a big homecoming fight for him and he was desperate to gain weight.

“I was stressing So bad,” Stevenson said. “I was so crazy. I was so angry. I knew [this might happen] because [the cuts] got heavier and heavier and heavier. To be honest, this was my toughest week of fighting. I’ve never had a tougher week of fighting than this. I literally had to lose 12 pounds in two days.”

Stevenson weighed 131.6 and chose not to continue cutting because his body had given up. Fighters who are missing the weight have an opportunity to come back later and make it after trying to lose more. New Jersey rules allowed him two hours, but he passed. He knew this could happen in a month.

The reaction on social media was confused and that Stevenson used his wealth to avoid having to do so.

“They said I would buy an advantage,” said Stevenson, who paid Conceicao a six-figure sum to keep fighting. “But how could I buy myself an advantage when I lost 12 pounds from Tuesday to Thursday. I tried, believe me, to get the last 1.6. I did everything I could, but I couldn’t get rid of it.”

And so, despite gaining another advantage, he lost his titles. Lightweight construction will be easier for him than for many of his colleagues, at least for the time being. He said that for the next time: “I’m going to do the weight easiest and be the strongest and freshest in the division.”

But he didn’t call anyone out because he said that eventually he will fight them all. He wants Haney to retain the undisputed title when he defends against former champion George Kambosos Jr in a rematch on October 15 in Australia.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 23: Shakur Stevenson celebrates after defeating Robson Conceição during their WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship bout at the Prudential Center on September 23, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Shakur Stevenson, a Puerto Rican American, celebrates after his victory over Robson Conceição September 23, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

He got a kick out of the banter between his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank and Davis promoter Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions.

Ellerbe replied to a message in which Arum said Ellerbe would not want Davis to fight Stevenson. Taking to Twitter, Ellerbe tagged Arum, saying, “… I understand you’re only promoting your man the way you’re supposed to be. As you know, building an attraction is damn hard. Whatever we’re doing over here, it’s definitely working because Tank Davis is taller than anyone on your ENTIRE top tier list that isn’t named Fury. facts.”

This followed a Twitter fight involving Ellerbe, Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn and DBE’s Lou DiBella, along with some journalists.

“I don’t pay attention to what they’re doing, but it’s definitely weird,” Stevenson said. “These promoters think they are the ones fighting. We are the fighters and they go back and forth pretending to fight. Any time someone says something about their fighter, Leonard Ellerbe will come up with whatever he thinks sounds good to come back to. I’m not worried about that.”

What he will do, he said, is seek out the best fights. And if some of the fighters move up before he reaches them at lightweight, he said he’ll eventually see them at 140.

“I’ll stay active and fight against everyone and at the end of the day we’ll see how everything develops,” he said.

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