Shakur Stevenson: ‘I can’t wait for my pro debut’
The expectations levied on Shakur Stevenson may be off the charts. Boxing experts believe Stevenson could run through his professional career unbeaten and can win multiple world title belts in different weight classes.
That could be a significant weight for the 19-year-old to carry on his shoulders but the 2016 Olympic silver medalist is up to the challenge.
Stevenson plans to fulfill those expectations and then some, beginning with his pro debut on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The six-round contest will open the four-bout Top Rank Promotions Pay-Per-View telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Stevenson’s journey to Saturday began as a young boy in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, culminating in a trip to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Stevenson’s goal of winning a gold medal fell short against Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba.
Stevenson decided to turn pro and after lucrative offers from Roc Nation Sports and Mayweather Promotions, signed with Top Rank.
“Their commitment to the amateurs who fought in the Olympics speaks for itself,” Stevenson told RingTV.com over the phone on Thursday. “Signing Michael Conlan, Antonio Vargas, those guys, they’re looking at the future. It put pressure on myself to get better.”
Stevenson faces Edgar Brito Saturday night. Brito (3-2-1, 2 knockouts) has not fought in over 18 months and hails from the Phoenix area.
“I have to make a statement on Saturday. I’ve seen some film of Brito and he’s OK. I just want to show the boxing world what I’m capable of and that is going all out on Saturday. I have to show my people in Newark and the boxing world what I’m capable of and what I can do.”
Besides signing on with Top Rank, Stevenson looks like he is in good hands with co-managers James Prince and unbeaten IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titlist Andre Ward.
Stevenson is ecstatic to have two prominent boxing personalities in his corner. “It’s amazing to have a co-manager that I looked up to (in Andre Ward). He was my idol and my hero and I looked up to him. I could text (Ward) for advice and he’s there to listen to me.”
Stevenson understands his career will constantly be under a microscope as his career moves forward. He wants to meet and exceed expectations some have for him but he also wants to exceed his own expectations.
Saturday night commences a new beginning for Stevenson but he believes he will become a star as long as he stays true to himself.
“I know I’m a kid but I want to stay humble. If I stay true to that, I will get better. I want to get better and I know I can achieve great things.
“I’m excited for this journey. I can’t wait for my pro debut.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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