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Q&A: Adonis Stevenson

31
Mar

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Adonis Stevenson puts his RING and WBC light heavyweight titles on the line Saturday, when he faces former super middleweight beltholder Sakio Bika. It marks the first Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event on CBS and begins in the afternoon (3:00 p.m. ET, Noon PT).

While some see it as a gimme for the heavy handed Canadian, his promoter Yvon Michel, president of GYM was quick to jump to Bika’s defense.

“With the exception of three boxers – Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev – I think Bika could beat every contender in the light heavyweight division,” Michel told RingTV.com on Monday. “He has a lot of experience and fought six times on Showtime and HBO. He won ‘The Contender’ TV show and fought (Andre Ward during) the Super Six World Classic. “I really think he is the best fighter Adonis has ever faced in his career. Andre Ward said that his toughest fight was against Sakio Bika, not against Carl Froch. I expect Adonis to win because he is an exceptional fighter, but the style of the two guys will definitely provide fireworks.”



Stevenson (25-1, 21 knockouts) crashed the 175-pound division with a devastating 76-second demolition of previous champion Chad Dawson nearly two year ago, the 37-year-old southpaw has followed that with four successful defenses. However, though he was initially lauded for breathing new life into the weight class over the past year he has been ridiculed for an apparent reluctance to face either Bernard Hopkins or Sergey Kovalev. Michel believes that a recent move by the WBC has helped clear the way for a blockbuster 175-pound meeting with Kovalev later this year.

“Main Events also asked the WBC for Kovalev to become the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s world title and we went ahead,” explained Michel. “The WBC answered fast and a purse bid will be made April 17 in Mexico. It will skip hard and unnecessary negotiations with Main Events. Besides Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather, no other fight this year will create more excitement than Stevenson versus Kovalev. It might be the most anticipated light heavyweight bout in history!”

As well as Stevenson-Bika, the PBC show from the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City will include an interesting co-feature pitting fast rising light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev against the silky skills of Spain’s Gabriel Campillo. The card also sees promising junior middleweight Julian Williams meet Joey Hernandez over 10-rounds, along with a smattering of local talent including Oscar Rivas, Custio Clayton and Kevin Bizier.

RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on your fight with Sakio Bika?

Adonis Stevenson – Bika will be motivated to win a world title in a second weight division, but I am fully prepared for everything, even if he hits me with his elbows. My power shots will hurt him. I am going for a knockout but, if the fight lasts long, it does not matter at all. I can go 12 rounds and he will tire faster than me.

RTV – When you assess him, what are his strengths and also areas of weakness?

AS – He is really dangerous! You cannot underestimate this guy. He has a lot of experience, he’s travelled everywhere and he is not stressed at all. He is a dirty fighter, too. He rushes with his head, he hits low and uses elbows. His head is made of brick! His principle weakness is that (he punches too wide). I will capitalize on that fact.

RTV – Although Bika has lost on six occasions he has fought many of the best super middleweights of the past decade, Joe Calzaghe, Andre Ward, Lucian Bute and most recently Anthony Dirrell. None of them stopped him, is that something you intend to do, to put a statement of intent out?

AS – I come from the Kronk Gym, where we train to knock people out. Each fight I go for a knockout, but if it does not happen, I can easily go hard for 12 rounds. Knockouts sell and I predict a knockout!

RTV – In mid-March Kovalev stopped Jean Pascal. What were your thoughts on that fight?

AS – I saw the fight. Kovalev did not impress me at all. He only won because Pascal has not been active since his loss to Bernard Hopkins.

RTV – Kovalev has the WBA, IBF and WBO 175-pound titles, while you have the RING and WBC belts. Is that a fight that all being well can be made later this year?

AS – A purse bid will take place April 17 to make sure the fight happens this year, either in Quebec, Montreal or Las Vegas. I let my manager Al Haymon, and my promoter, Yvon Michel, take care of that.

RTV – The HBO announcing crew said that after Kovalev’s recent win that you went over to them and spoke to them about wanting to fight him. What was said altogether?

AS – I said that the fight really has to take place. It is a major bout and we have to do it.

RTV – You received some criticism last year for initially moving away from a projected fight with Kovalev and then a fight with Hopkins. What would you say about that? Why did neither of those fights happen from your point of view?

AS – I was supposed to fight Hopkins, but he ran away to HBO, and finally fought Kovalev. As for Kovalev, it was a question of timing and getting paid right. Boxing is a complicated business sometimes and some people just don’t understand it.

RTV – Your most recent win was a fifth-round KO against Dmitry Sukhotsky. Tell us about that fight?

AS – I analyzed him quickly and saw that he came forward with his head straight up. So, I found different angles to counter him. His European style, the fact that he was not moving his head, was fatal against me.

RTV – What are your thoughts on the light heavyweight division on the whole?

AS – The light heavyweight division is red hot right now with two thunderous punchers. It is a popular weight class. Me and Kovalev bring freshness into it.

RTV – Your past is well documented, people talk about that but credit to you, you have turned your life around. Tell us about that.

AS РI help kids now. I was youngand now, I want to be a role model for those kids. I want to show them that it is possible to get out of trouble.

RTV – Tell us about your life away from boxing, what do you enjoy doing?

AS – First of all, most people don’t know it but I am a webmaster. I like to help kids who have temper problems or dealing with autism. I also have four children to take care of. I love to spend time with them.

RTV – In closing do you have a message for Bika and the light heavyweight division?

AS – I am the king of the division. I wish my opponents good luck. I am here to stay. They cannot steal my place. I am the lineal champion of the division. I beat Chad Dawson, who dominated Bernard Hopkins and was the man back then, in only 76 seconds. Since then, I am the man at 175 pounds.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright

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