Shakur Stevenson opens door for Michael Conlan world title shot?

Shakur Stevenson [13(7)-0] has hinted strongly that he will vacate his WBO featherweight world title and thus open the door for Michael Conlan [13(7)-0] to fight for the strap in the near future.

The American moves up to 130lbs tonight as he brings boxing back in a headliner against Felix Caraballo in Las Vegas.

The clash is an MGM Grand Conference Center hosted non title fight that plays inside the Top Rank ‘Bubble’.

Despite moving up to test the waters at a new weight, the 22-year-old southpaw hasn’t vacated his 126lbs title.

Yet speaking in the lead up to the clash he does suggest super featherweight is most likely to be his new home.

“I don’t know yet,” said Stevenson when asked about what weight he will campaign at post the Tuesday bout.

“I got to see how I feel at 130, at making the 130 weight. That’d be a question I can answer better for you after the fight.

“So, right now, no, I can’t really give you a spot-on answer.

“I’d say it’s a little bit more comfortable, but I think that I’m really a 130-pounder, honestly what I’ve been feeling like, for sure.

“It actually was better than I thought it was gonna go. But it’s still work to get there. It’s not easy. I’m a really big 126.”

If Stevenson does move up – and it was rumoured to be on the card prior to the current lockdown – Michael Conlan should secure a shot at the vacant strap.

There were suggestions the London Olympic medalist would fight for a world title at Feile this August, but if fellow Top Rank fighter’Fearless’ does vacate a shot nigh on becomes a certainty.

Conlan is ranked by all four of the world governing bodies, but it the #1 contender with the WBO.

American Ruben Villa is currently #2 and has a strong claim to make up the other half of a vacant title fight.

Ryan Walsh is #3 and an MTK managerial stable mate of Conlan, making that an easy fight to make.

Conlan doesn’t seem likely to fight for a world title next time out. A summer keep busy fight appears to be next on the agenda for the Belfast man, but once that is navigated a world title shot appears very likely.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com