Shakur Stevenson turns down 5-fight, $15M Top Rank deal: ‘Arum’s saving son Lomachenko from ass whooping’

Shakur Stevenson bested Artem Harutyunyan as expected on Saturday night, successfully defending his WBC lightweight crown for the first time.

The result was a workmanlike unanimous decision win, as Stevenson (22-0, 10 KOs) picked up a victory via points for the fourth time in his last five fights, outlanding Harutyunyan 170 to 74. 

The homecoming fight in front of 8,412 fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey marked the end of Stevenson’s contract with career-long promoter Top Rank. 

Although the 27-year-old southpaw Stevenson didn’t score a statement win that would have seen his stock gain some serious steam heading into free agency, he made a statement in a different fashion.

The three-division champion Stevenson wore a T-shirt with a blunt message directed toward Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who didn’t attend the event. 

“Bob is saving his son from this ass whooping” read the back of Stevenson’s shirt, with a photo of Arum and IBF lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko emblazoned on the front.

As Stevenson heads into free agency, a career-defining fight was never presented to him. 

But a contract was. 

Stevenson said he turned down a five-fight, $15 million deal with Top Rank. 

“Yeah, it's not chump change,” Stevenson said in an interview that aired on ESPN immediately before his win against Harutyunyan. “But I know my worth and I know who I am now. I understand my value, from when I first signed with them to now – it’s a lot higher. 

"It wouldn't be hard [to get the big fights] if had committed back to signing with Top Rank. The fights didn't happen because I didn't re-sign with Top Rank. 

“I see all of these fighters getting opportunity after opportunity, it's just so hard to make a big fight happen. A lot of that I do blame on my promoter. They could have done a lot more to make these big fights happen. 

“I was built the right way and I appreciate them for that but at the end we could have tried harder to make big fights instead of always finding excuses. The vision should be a lot bigger.”

During his post-fight press conference, Stevenson elaborated on the fights that have eluded him, namely against Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis – who are now positioned to face each other next. 

“Tell [Lomachenko] 'fight me,'” said Stevenson. “Wouldn't that be a fun fight? Someone who is coming in there trying to fight and trying to win? He's technically good. There are a lot of people out there who are probably like ‘Lomachenko can beat [Stevenson]. He couldn't stop [Harutyunyan].’ Why not make the fight? [Lomachenko] doesn't want to fight. 

"I'm just telling it like it is ... I can't force these fights to happen if these guys don't want to fight me.”

Stevenson’s message to “Tank” was simple.

“Get ready,” he said. "I want to fight guys that are trying to fight me, and have stuff to lose just like me, and not guys that come here and just want to be a part of the show.”

As for what’s next, Stevenson isn’t so sure either since he hasn’t ruled out a return to Top Rank. 

"I don't know what I am willing to do. I have to sit at the table and find out,” said Stevenson. “I am ready to get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

Stevenson left his fight against Harutyunyan (12-2, 7 KOs) scratch-free and labeled his performance a C-plus. 

"He was a tough fighter. You can't take nothing away from him. If an OK fighter knows how to survive and that's their objective, sometimes it's hard to get them out of there,” said Stevenson. 

“These guys come to survive, and their objective is to make sure they make it 12 rounds … I did what I could [to entertain the fans]. I let my hands go at times and put some punishment on him at times. That dude was just making sure he stayed on his feet.” 

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

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