Mayweather pupil Stevenson advances to gold-medal round in Rio
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will get to see the boxer he seems to be recruiting to be the face of Mayweather Promotions in the gold-medal round.
USA Boxing’s Shakur Stevenson advanced to the bantamweight championship in Rio by walkover after his semifinal opponent, Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin pulled out on Thursday because of injury. Nikitin wasn’t ready after his controversial win against Ireland’s Michael Conlan on Tuesday in which he sustained a nasty cut above his left eye.
Stevenson will surely be tested in Saturday’s final, however, when he faces 2012 gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba as he tries to become the first American male since Andre Ward in 2004 to capture a gold medal.
Undefeated in international competition, Stevenson seemed keyed up at the challenge that awaits him. Sounding a bit like a boxing promoter (Mayweather’s influence?), Stevenson spoke of matching wits and skills with a boxer he admitted he’s grown up watching.
“I’m ready to put on a show and we’re about to turn this place out,” Stevenson said in a press release after his two wins in Rio. “I think it’s about to be a great match-up. We’ve got the 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Cuba and you’ve got the up-and-coming, rising superstar from USA. We’re about to put on a show and I plan on coming out victorious.”
Mayweather has made no secret of his desire to sign the 19-year-old baby-faced Stevenson, cheering loudly during his quarterfinal match and even meeting him after. He later posted on social media, “I came all the way to Brazil to support the athletes of the United States, but while enjoying the events I had one goal in mind and that was to extend a warm welcome to Shakur Stevenson into The Money Team family.” A USA Boxing spokeswoman told RingTV.com that Stevenson is waiting until after the Olympics to make any decisions on his professional future, suggesting he hasn’t signed with any promoter yet.