Shakur Stevenson is looking to make a statement for his 135-pound debut. 

The former two-division champion won’t be fighting at 130 pounds anymore after failing to make weight and losing his titles on the scale during his September unanimous decision win against Robson Conceicao. 

At the WBC Convention in November, the sanctioning body ordered a lightweight title eliminator between the No. 3 ranked Stevenson and No. 2 ranked Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz for a chance to get one step closer to challenging for Devin Haney’s title. 

With Haney tracking toward a fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko, Stevenson is looking for his own menu of options featuring other fighters ranked in the top five by the WBC.

“If the little puppy [Cruz] doesn’t want to fight let’s get who is next in line. Isn’t it William Zepeda or George Kambosos Jr.? It doesn’t really matter. I’m ready to smoke someone regardless,” Stevenson said on social media. 

“Because Zepeda is the one whooping people, he’s the so-called boogeyman so let’s see what the hype is about.” 

The knockout artist Zepeda (27-0, 23 KOs) has had a remarkable 2022, going 3-0 with wins against the likes of Joseph Diaz Jr. and Rene Alvarado. 

The Newark native Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) also had a terrific year, headlined by defeating Oscar Valdez in a one-sided unanimous decision win. 

Stevenson is suggesting that he needs to make his fights look a little bit more difficult than they should be to get the adulation he deserves. 

“I don’t get my credit for [the Valdez win because] I made it look too easy,” said Stevenson. “I have to make these fights closer for me to get the credit I deserve.

“I’m locked in with no fight date, no opponent, but I’m getting ready for all of y’all.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or on