2020 was a transitional year for Shakur Stevenson, as he vacated his featherweight world title to seek glory at 130lbs.
During the pandemic stricken year, the former WBO Featherweight World Champion fought twice claiming victory on both occasions as he stopped Felix Caraballo and most recently won via the scorecards against Toka Kahn Clary.
As a former world champion with the WBO and having not lost his title in the ring, the 23-year-old has been made mandatory challenger to the Super Featherweight version, held by Jamel Herring.
Stevenson has been very clear about the fact that he wants to utilise his mandatory position by facing the winner of Herring and Carl Frampton, which was confirmed earlier this week to take place in London on February 27.
With all three under the Top Rank promotional banner it shouldn’t be a tough fight to make.
Along with those two who else could be in line for a shot at Shakur Stevenson whether it be next or later in the year?
Below are some of the options for Shakur’s next assignment:
The world champion, the man with the target on his back. Should he get through the tough test of Carl Frampton he will have the young, hungry Stevenson hot on his heels.
Herring and Stevenson are good friends but inside the ring it’s all business and the pair will look to put their friendship aside to entertain the fans, should the opportunity arise.
Herring established himself as the man after defeating Masayuki Ito to claim his crown in 2019.
Having only defended his title just twice since that win and already aged 35, mid to late 2021 could be the perfect timing for Stevenson to take the reins from his good friend.
The Carl Frampton vs Jamel Herring bout has been on and off for the best part of a year.
With freak injuries sustained by Frampton and the global pandemic this fight was put on hold.
It seems now the only stumbling block is the venue. Both men agree they want the fight and it has been a pleasant exchange between the pair who are two of the most respectful men in the sport.
Frampton is yet to compete at the weight after deciding to move up from 126lbs, as he fought his last fight at lightweight in a ring rust shaking bout.
Few have questioned the Irishman’s size going into the Herring bout, but although a ring veteran of 33-years-old he is still two years Herring’s junior.
Should Carl defeat Herring, would he defend against Stevenson or is retiring on a high potentially on the cards?
Archie ‘Sharpshooter’ Sharp finds himself a stones throw away from a world title shot, as the MTK Global man finds himself ranked number five with the WBO.
Undefeated in 19 professional bouts, Sharp has flown under the radar in the division quietly going about his work climbing the rankings.
Recently relocating to the iBox gym to be trained by Al Smith this is the move that Archie believes will take him to the next level, as he focuses on living the life of an athlete 24/7.
Sharp has been vocal in wanting the winner of Herring vs Frampton, even stating that he thought the current champion quit in his last bout.
Since Stevenson has moved up to the division, Archie has expressed his desire to face him, as he will face anyone standing in his way to that world title.
With the pandemic still casting a shadow over the world, an American opponent would make the most sense for Shakur if he doesn’t get the world title shot next.
Abraham Nova fits the bill perfectly.
Ranked seventh in the WBO rankings, Nova currently holds a good record of 19-0 and shares a promoter with Stevenson.
This would be an easily made fight for Bob Arum and his team to create, however the question mark would surround whether Stevenson sees Nova as high risk and low reward and also if Arum is looking to build up the undefeated record of Nova too.
Much like Abraham Nova, Albert Bell is an American, undefeated Top Rank prospect. With a record of 17-0 it would be another enticing fight to Stevenson to aim at taking an ‘0’.
Bell has been targeting Jamel Herring for the last 12 months after he had agreed to fight the champion but only for Herring’s team to take up a different option.
With just the one bout in 2020, the 27-year-old will surely be looking to move fast in 2021, as he hunts down world titles.
Ranked in the top 15 with the WBO, Albert could find himself a title shot by the end of 2021 and could be the perfect opponent for Shakur Stevenson.