Stevenson set to fight Harutyunyan, sources say

Boxing

Shakur Stevenson and Artem Harutyunyan are finalizing a deal for a July 6 fight in Newark, New Jersey, for Stevenson’s WBC lightweight title, sources told ESPN.

The bout will mark the final fight of Stevenson’s promotional deal with Top Rank before he enters free agency. He made his pro debut with Top Rank one year after he captured a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Stevenson, ESPN’s No. 9 pound-for-pound boxer, captured the vacant WBC lightweight title in November when he outpointed Edwin De Los Santos, but the performance hurt his stock. The pair combined to land 40 total punches, a CompuBox record for fewest connects in a 12-round bout. There wasn’t a single round where either boxer landed double-digit shots.

Fans headed for the exits before the bout was over.

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) claimed a hand injury afterward. After he briefly said he was retired, he vowed to punish his next opponent.

That opponent is Harutyunyan, a 33-year-old Armenian who fights out of Hamburg, Germany. Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) will enter the ring following a one-year layoff. His last bout was in July, a unanimous decision defeat to Frank Martin in Las Vegas.

The PBC on Showtime main event was Harutyunyan’s first bout outside Germany. Harutyunyan acquitted himself well in his first bout on the world-class level. If he had won the final round, the bout would have been ruled a draw. Instead, he was dropped by Martin in Round 12.

Martin, ESPN’s No. 7 lightweight, will fight star boxer Gervonta Davis in June.

Stevenson is ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 135 pounds. The 26-year-old southpaw is one of the most talented fighters in the sport and will fight in his native Newark for the fourth time. A former champion at 126 and 130 pounds, Stevenson hasn’t lost many rounds in his career but is still seeking the sort of marquee fight that fits his skill level.

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