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Who will Shakur Stevenson fight next as junior lightweight champ?

We have two fighters atop the junior lightweight division. Expect a bout between Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez sooner than later.

Shakur Stevenson celebrates his technical knockout over Jamel Herring in their lightweight fight at State Farm Arena on October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Brandon Magnus/Getty Images

Shakur Stevenson beat Jamel Herring on Saturday in decisive fashion to claim the WBO junior lightweight title. The veteran Herring gave it his all but had no answers for the rising undefeated Stevenson. Stevenson dominated on the score cards even before putting him away in the 10th round.

There is not really a significant question as to who Stevenson will fight next. The junior lightweight division is fractured for the moment, but the closest thing there is to a unification bout is Stevenson vs. WBC champ Oscar Valdez.

Valdez retained his title with a unanimous decision win over Robson Conceicao that came with controversy. Valdez tested positive for a banned substance but the fight still happened. He remains champ but has been removed from rankings at ESPN and The Ring. However, with Jamel Herring now out of the picture, Valdez and Stevenson are the top two in the division.

The two fighters are both in the Top Rank camp and neither has a mandatory at the moment, per Bad Left Hook. This makes it easier to match them up and get the fight together. Stevenson was Valdez’s mandatory at featherweight before the latter moved up a weight class. Now they’re due to be matched up again, and it’s hard to see this not happening in early 2022.