Friday, June 09, 2023  |


Shakur Stevenson clinches bronze in quarterfinal win in Rio

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

The boxer with the 1000-watt smile continued to grin before, during and after his bantamweight quarterfinal match Tuesday in Rio.

USA’s Shakur Stevenson clinched at least a bronze medal with his poised, precise performance against Mongolia’s Erdenebat Tsendbaatar by scores of 30-27 (3x) to reach the semifinals on Thursday. It’s the second medal of the tournament for the U.S. men after Nico Hernandez also picked up a bronze, a tally that exceeds the past two Olympic Games total when only Deontay Wilder claimed bronze in 2008.

Gary Antuanne Russell dropped a tight split decision to fifth-ranked Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov in a light welterweight quarterfinal, also in Tuesday’s morning session. The younger brother of featherweight titleholder Gary Russell Jr. pressed the action and seemed to land the flusher blows. Gaibnazarov spent large swaths of every round dancing away and keeping his distance rather than engage but was still awarded a win by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29.

No such controversy existed in Stevenson’s bout; he easily eluded Tsendbaatar’s wide shots, maintaining a safe distance and keeping his opponent at bay with a stiff jab and speedy combinations. Stevenson will face Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the semifinal.

The 19-year-old from Newark, New Jersey has emerged as one of the darlings of the boxing tournament and a hot topic for professional promoters scouting prospects in Rio who rave about his in-ring skills and possibility for commercial success out of it with his charismatic demeanor. Stevenson is now 25-0 in international competition after his earlier Olympic victory against Brazil’s Robenilson de Jesus on Sunday.