Bob Arum rules out Mick Conlan v Shakur Stevenson fight but makes World Title promise

Bob Arum has ruled out a meeting between Mick Conlan and Shakur Stevenson but notes that the Irish starlet will be fighting for major honours in a matter of months.

The pair, both currently campaigning at featherweight, were signed by Top Rank following the Rio Olympics and a clash between the two has been suggested for well over two years now.

Conlan and Stevenson were on a collision course at the Rio Olympics but their semi-final meeting was scuppered when the Belfast boxer was controversially beaten by Vladimir Nikitin.

The Rio rematch with the Russian will take place at the Féile an Phobail on August 3rd and Arum was in Belfast earlier this month to announce the clash – and he would also rule out the possibility of another amatuer rivalry playing out in the pros.

Having previously described it as a modern-day Leonard-Hearns, the Top Rank founder now admits that such a clash is no longer in their plans due to Stevenson’s imminent rise through the weights.

The veteran fight boss expects the 21-year-old to move up as much as four divisions over the course of his career and anticipates that the Newark youngster will eventually be a top welterweight.

By comparison, Conlan is currently considering a move down to super bantamweight and his dreams of being a three-weight world title would most likely involve the 122, 126, and 130lbs divisions – well over a stone below where Stevenson will be campaigning.

When asked about the match-up Arum said simply that “it won’t happen because one is going in one direction weight-wise and the other is staying the same.

“It seems to be that Shakur is much younger and bigger. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shakur as a welterweight, he’s naturally much bigger than Mick.”

“We’re dealing with babies, you don’t know how they’re going to grow.”

“Mick is older, he’s more advanced [physically], and we generally believe that he’ll be staying at this weight.”

“Shakur, no, maybe he picks up a title at 126lbs, but everything about him when you look at him suggests he’s going to be a 147 fighter.”

“Shakur is a tremendous boxer. He’s not that exciting but he is like the second coming of Floyd Mayweather. He really is something special.”

A move down to super bantam has been suggested by Conlan but, whether he stays at 126lbs or drops four pounds, he will have a Top Rank stablemate to aim at.

Óscar Valdez is the current WBO featherweight champion while his Mexican countryman Emanuel Navarrete holds the WBO super bantamweight belt.

Conlan is rated by the body and will have someone to target – and in the very near future if Arum is to be believes

“Mick could be going to 122, that’s what they’re talking about,” notes the veteran fight-maker.

“We have champions at 122 and 126, when he’s ready we’ll pull the chain – it may be the end of this year or certainly in the first three or four months of next year.”


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: