WBC lightweight titleholder Shakur Stevenson was an interested observer for Gervonta “Tank” Davis’ eighth-round knockout win against Frank Martin earlier this month. 

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) is preparing to face Artem Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) on July 6 in Newark, New Jersey, on ESPN.

Harutyunyan gave Martin a serious run for his money before fading late last year via decision. Stevenson wants to make sure he does to Harutyunyan what Martin couldn’t – and that’s dominate. 

“I’m not going to say I want to knock him out, because at the end of the day, when you go in there looking for the knockout, that’s how they don’t come,” Stevenson told BoxingScene. “I’m looking to prove there are levels. We saw that Frank was on a C-level [against Davis], and I want to show Artem is C-level as well.

“It was a professional versus an amateur. Frank Martin lost the fight to Davis in the first round. When Tank walked out and made him do exactly what he wanted to do, he lost the fight. Frank went out there and wasted a lot of energy in the first three or four rounds. By Rounds 5 and 6, he got tired, especially with the weight problems he was having. Once he got tired, it was ballgame. Tank lined him up and got rid of him.”

As Stevenson awaits to navigate his career as a free agent following the Harutyunyan fight, which marks the end of his contract with Top Rank, the WBA lightweight titleholder Davis is aligning himself for a dance with Stevenson’s promotional mate Vasiliy Lomachenko.

That development leaves Stevenson without the division’s top two stars as viable options for his next fight this year. 

“Honestly, I don’t care. It is what it is,” said Stevenson when asked about missing out on both Davis and Lomachenko. “I’m doing this for me. I’m not doing this for money or clout. I don’t give a f*** about that s***. I know that my time will come. Tank Davis has nowhere else to go but to fight me. At the end of the day, me and him will have to fight, and that’s my opportunity. But for now, we’re focused on Artem.”

Stevenson said that a fight against IBF lightweight titleholder Lomachenko has always been sitting in front of them, and all that was left to do was for Top Rank to negotiate a deal. However, it’s not as simple as it may seem, with Stevenson’s one foot already out the door. 

“I think me and Lomachenko should be next and unify,” said Stevenson. “Honestly, a lot of people don’t know that Lomachenko is one of my favorite fighters. It would be very lovely to share the ring with him. I think that he’s a helluva fighter and that fight should happen. I think that’s a Lomachenko question, though. His team has to accept the fight. But it’s my time right now. You put him in front of me, and I am going to handle business right now. Hopefully we can make it happen.”

For now, it appears Stevenson must handle business against Harutyunyan and wait to see how the cards play out between Davis and Lomachenko.

“It just depends on which Lomachenko shows up” against Davis, Stevenson said. “I honestly can’t see him just knocking Lomachenko out. Lomachenko has tricks and is defensively sound. The skill level Lomachenko has is a lot better than Frank Martin. No disrespect to Frank Martin; it’s just the experience level that Lomachenko has. Tank has the edge. He’s younger, fresher and powerful. He has the edge, for sure, but I don’t see it as a whitewash. It also depends on what Lomachenko has left in the tank. A lot of people watched that last fight versus George Kambosos Jr. and felt that he looked super-good. I paid attention. I thought he looked good, but he couldn’t really up the pace the way he wanted to.” 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.

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