What the numbers tell us about Shakur Stevenson vs. Artem Harutyunyan

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Shakur Stevenson returns to the ring on Saturday to defend his WBC lightweight title against Artem Harutyunyan. The fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey (ESPN/ESPN+, 8:30 p.m. ET, with prelims on ESPN+ at 6:10 p.m. ET), will be the main event of a Top Rank Boxing card that includes a junior lightweight title fight between WBC champion O’Shaquie Foster and perennial title contender Robson Conceicao.

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) is a former featherweight and junior lightweight champion. He also won silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics representing the U.S. After winning the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round TKO victory over Jamel Herring in October 2021, Stevenson added the WBC belt with a unanimous-decision win over Oscar Valdez in April 2022. But Stevenson lost the belts on the scales when he couldn’t make weight for a title defense against Conceicao in September 2022. He then moved to the 135-pound division and scored a sixth-round TKO victory over Shuichiro Yoshino in April.

In November 2023, Stevenson defeated Edwin De Los Santos by unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113 and 116-112) to win the then vacant WBC lightweight title in a forgettable fight that broke CompuBox’s 38 year record for fewer punches landed in a 12-round fight. De Los Santos landed just 40 total punches and just 14 power punches. Stevenson didn’t do much better, landing only 65 total punches, 19 power punches.

Regardless, Stevenson is back fighting at home.

“It feels good to be going back home to Newark, where they appreciate a young legend, and to make my first title defense at 135,” Stevenson said after the fight was officially announced on May 7.

Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs), of Yerevan, Armenia, (but based in Hamburg, Germany) has never fought for a world title. In his first fight outside Germany, he suffered the only defeat of his career, a unanimous decision to Frank Martin last July in Las Vegas.

“I respect Shakur Stevenson as a champion, but I’m coming to shock his hometown fans and win the WBC lightweight championship,” Harutyunyan said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will take full advantage of it.”

Let’s take a look at the title fight by the numbers. Information from ESPN Stats & Information and CompuBox were used in this report.

1. Stevenson is making the first defense of his WBC lightweight title he won against De Los Santos in July 2023.

3. This is Stevenson’s third fight at lightweight. He made his debut in the division against Yoshino in April.

13. Unlucky number 13 for Harutyunyan, who after winning his first 12 professional fights, lost a unanimous decision to Martin, his first career loss.

7. Stevenson is the youngest fighter to win a title in a third division since Naoya Inoue accomplished that feat in 2019. Stevenson is also just the seventh fighter to do so all-time.

1. Harutyunyan seeks to become the first German fighter to win a major lightweight world title. Marco Rudolph lost an eighth-round TKO to Artur Grigorian 1998 challenging for the WBO belt.

6. Stevenson is the sixth fighter to be a three-division champion while also winning an Olympic medal. The other five fighters on that list (Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather) have been all inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Stevenson is also the sixth fighter to win titles at 126, 130, and 135 pounds. He’s the youngest in that group to achieve the feat.

46.83. Stevenson lands 46.83% of his power punches, the third-most according to CompuBox. He also has the lowest opponent connect percentage (16.7%) in all boxing, according to CompuBox.

In their own words — from Wednesday’s news conference

Harutyunyan about this opportunity: “I was born in Armenia, and I grew up in Germany. I’ve come all the way here to fight Shakur Stevenson in his hometown. It’s a big opportunity for me. I will do my best and give a great fight.”

Harutyunyan on his last fight in the U.S.: “I came to Las Vegas last year. I was fighting Frank Martin. It was a great fight. I know Frank Martin knows he lost the fight. I told everybody that I would be back in the States. And now it’s happened. I’m back here.”

Harutyunyan about his preparation for the fight: “It’s a great opportunity. I had a great training camp, and I’m well prepared. I’m ready for this fight. I know Shakur Stevenson is a good fighter. He is a world champion. We both fought at the Olympic games. He is a silver medalist, and I’m a bronze medalist. Now we’re fighting for the world championship.”

Stevenson on Harutyunyan’s praise during the news conference on Wednesday: “You’re trying to act real humble and butter me up and act like you’re not really coming here to win. No, you’re coming here to win, bro. I already know. He doesn’t sound as confident as I thought he would sound. Hopefully, he’s coming to fight.”

Stevenson on his approach to the fight: “I’m going to take him to a level he’s never been on. I’m just going to be myself. I’m going to come out and show my talent and show my levels. I think I’m one of the best in the sport of boxing at hit and don’t get hit. There’s a certain way of doing that, and I want to show the fans that all that moving around is something I don’t really have to do. I can sit in the pocket and beat you up, too.”

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