Shakur Stevenson vows to ‘smoke’ Devin Haney, make it look easy when they meet


Shakur Stevenson has his hand raised after defeating Shuichiro Yoshino. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

NEWARK, N.J. — It’s appropriate that the clock read 1:35 at the moment when the referee stepped in to save Shuichiro Yoshino from unnecessary punishment against Shakur Stevenson.

The fight marked the arrival of Stevenson, a former unified junior lightweight and WBO featherweight titleholder, in the 135-pound division. The six-round clinic at the Prudential Center was a WBC lightweight title eliminator, putting the 25-year-old in pole position to challenge for one of the belts held by RING/undisputed champion Devin Haney.

The fight should be easy enough to make, given that both are promoted by Top Rank. It’s a matchup that Stevenson says he has wanted for a long time, and one that’s easy to envision since they’ve sparred many times before.

“Tell him to come on. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I swear to God. I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. Me and Devin been in the ring with each other for years. I always got the best of Devin,” said Stevenson (20-0, 10 knockouts).

Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) of Las Vegas first has to deal with Vasiliy Lomachenko, the former champion whom he will make his second title defense against on May 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Stevenson is confident that Haney will win, but believes that Haney will be drained by continuing to make 135 pounds for a fight with Stevenson.

“I think it’s gonna be easy work. I think I’m gonna smoke him. I think I’m gonna shock everybody by smoking him and making it a real easy fight. Everybody is gonna be like, ‘Damn, you is who you say you is,’” said Stevenson, who is a year older than Haney at 25.

Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].

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