Archie Sharp will return to the ring on June 18 in Leeds, England, with no opponent currently listed as he continues a run where, being honest, he is sitting on a high sanctioning body ranking and waiting for a title shot.
Sharp (21-0, 9 KO) is the WBO’s No. 1 ranked contender at 130 lbs, and he and Shakur Stevenson have had sort of a long-running feud through social media.
Most recently, Stevenson — who holds the WBO and WBC belts and is the clear No. 1 man in the division right now — Tweeted at Sharp following Joe Cordina’s win over Kenichi Ogawa, where Cordina took the IBF belt:
Yo shit bag @archiesharp95 did u watch that fight u not even #1 in yo own country ♂️ ♂️— Shakur Stevenson (@ShakurStevenson) June 4, 2022
Sharp, 27, definitely noticed, firing back about Stevenson talking about going up to the lightweight division soon:
Shit bag? You are a fool, u the 1 moving up ♂️ https://t.co/pTaD05nHMB— Archie Sharp (@archiesharp95) June 5, 2022
“Stevenson mentioned me first and at first, I just ignored him,” Sharp says now. “But I got a notification on Saturday night after the Cordina [vs Ogawa] fight, so I had to respond. I am living in his head rent-free, and he’s gone out of his way to message me.
“All I will do is keep poking, keep poking and keep poking and see what happens because, at some point, the WBO are going to make me the mandatory challenger for his belt, and he’ll have to fight me.
“I know the bigger the opposition and the bigger the threat, the better I will be.”
Like many sanctioning body rankings — and this is a shot at sanctioning bodies, not at Archie Sharp — Sharp’s No. 1 ranking with the WBO is plenty questionable. But he’s done what has been asked of him, basically, winning his first minor WBO trinket in 2018 (the WBO European title), defending it three times, and then winning the WBO’s laughable “Global” title in 2021, which he’s defended once.
So for how it actually works, he is in line, even if for most independent observers, he’s a borderline top 10 fighter in the division at best — BoxRec have him ranked No. 60 in the world, for what that’s worth — and has been facing competition not befitting a “top contender,” with his best win still arguably his 2019 victory over Jordan McCorry.
But Sharp getting a shot and simply proving the world wrong wouldn’t be an unheard of story in boxing, either. And if he can’t get the Stevenson fight for whatever reason, he says he’s also got his eye on the newly-minted IBF titleholder Cordina.
“Joe and I have shared rounds in sparring,” he said. “He is a nice kid, as good as gold, but now he has something that I want. We’re familiar with each other and a fight with Joe is something I am also looking at. But ideally, I will get my shot at the WBO title first.”
For what it’s worth, Sharp was not ranked in the most recent IBF top 15.