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Shakur Stevenson criticizes Top Rank on his career

Shakur Stevenson’s path to his Saturday night homecoming title defense against Artem Harutunyan at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey has been bumpy. The WBC lightweight champion, fighting for the first time since his lackluster November win over Edwin De Los Santos, blamed a shoulder trouble for the poor performance.

After announcing and then reversing his retirement in January, Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) finds himself with one fight left on his Top Rank contract. He sought fights with Top Rank fighters Vasiliy Lomachenko and George Kambosos Jr., but neither materialized. His top challenger, William Zepeda, also didn’t get finalized, leaving Harutunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) as his only option.

As Stevenson enters free agency, he hopes to secure defining fights to cement his status as the world’s best boxer. He expressed frustration with Top Rank’s Bob Arum, accusing him of limiting his options and not facilitating key matchups, such as a fight with Lomachenko.

Stevenson is open to staying with Top Rank if the business makes sense, but he is also considering other promoters like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, and Eddie Hearn. He aims to emulate Terence Crawford’s independent success.

Despite his dissatisfaction with his lightweight career management, Stevenson remains confident and promises a standout performance against Harutunyan. He is focused on proving his worth and readiness for the big stage, hoping for future opportunities with top fighters.