Shakur Stevenson is brash and cocky however to date has delivered on his guarantees. Forward of his subsequent bout he talks to Phil Rogers about that self-belief, his subsequent opponent and his wrestle to make 130lbs
CONFIDENCE is a valuable commodity. Most of us improvise and blag our method by life, shaking off the acquainted foe of self-doubt however at all times conscious of its corrosive powers. How, then, do some individuals appear outfitted with a roadmap for all times?
“I simply really feel like I’m the most effective in boxing,” declares the undefeated (now former) super-featherweight champion, Shakur Stevenson, a younger man who’s been proclaiming his personal greatness ever since he first laced up a pair of gloves. “I’ve been saying this for some time and I nonetheless stand by it.”
Stevenson will likely be seeking to additional his declare because the most interesting fighter within the sport when he takes on Brazil’s Robson Conceicao on Friday night time (September 23). The 25-year-old American’s spectacular latest type has seen him cease Jamel Herring in 10 rounds and dominate Oscar Valdez to cement his standing as the most effective within the division. Conceicao himself may very well be forgiven for claiming victory over Valdez additionally, having beforehand misplaced a controversial choice to the Mexican in September 2021. It’s this efficiency which prompted Stevenson’s curiosity within the combat.
“He deserved a shot after his combat with Valdez. Lots of people thought he received. I’ve a special perception on that. I really feel like he left it too shut. However on the finish of the day he earned his shot and I really feel like he deserves it. I’m a kind of fighters the place I don’t thoughts combating the most effective. I really feel like combating the most effective at all times brings the most effective out of me,” he says.
“Count on for me to placed on a masterful efficiency and dominate and beat the hell out of Robson Conceicao. I’m getting in there to beat him up so hopefully he prepared however I’m whooping his ass.”
The combat itself was introduced as one thing of a New Jersey homecoming for Stevenson, with Prime Rank’s blue chip prospects, Keyshawn Davis and Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington, eagerly sharing the stage to advertise their very own fights on the undercard at Newark’s Prudential Heart.
To look at Stevenson that day was to see somebody basking within the recognition he’s been craving. He regarded totally at residence on stage together with his grandfather and coach, Wali Moses, lauding Bob Arum’s younger starlets who’re seeking to replicate his success and signing autographs for native youngsters afterwards. Certainly, it was harking back to Stevenson’s personal time as assist act to Terence Crawford, a time he himself treasures as a useful expertise to realize data and recommendation from the most effective within the sport.
“I’m able to embrace that function. Simply present like to different fighters and different fighters youthful than me. I’ve been grinding my complete life for this and at last it’s paying off. It was a really enjoyable expertise being again residence. Being in entrance of my household and pals and simply having fun with the atmosphere. It was very enjoyable and I can’t wait to combat in entrance of them on September 23.”
Stevenson was beforehand irked by sure sections of the boxing media excluding him when declaring Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis the brand new ‘4 Kings’ of latest boxing. Stevenson insisted on the time that he was “minimize from a special material” to his contemporaries, and in backing this up has barely misplaced a spherical on the way in which to turning into the most effective within the 130lbs weight class. It’s this mix of self-belief and obsession with competitors that he believes is pushing his profession trajectory upwards.
“I’m simply one among them sorts of individuals. I’m very aggressive. I wish to compete at every part and I consider in myself 100 per cent. It was simply one thing I used to be born with. I used to be born with a love for boxing. I believe the love and fervour for boxing retains me going on a regular basis. I believe that’s the place all of it comes from. Simply my love for the game. I take pleasure in boxing, I take pleasure in going within the ring, sparring, combating, and every part on the subject of boxing.”
Away from boxing Stevenson’s life has taken on added duty. He proposed to his girlfriend, Michelle Ragston (aka Younger Lyric), instantly after his combat with Valdez after which in December introduced the beginning of their child daughter. He’s is acutely aware of the affect these life occasions have had on him.
“It’s formed me very effectively. I really feel like being a job mannequin and being a father, it’s a complete completely different world. On the finish of the day you’ve obtained to be sensible outdoors the ring simply as a lot as contained in the ring. I sort of stream with life like that.”
Hypothesis has been circling as to how lengthy Stevenson will now stay at 130lbs, particularly with the prospect of huge cash fights at light-weight tempting him up. The American is dismissive of Britain’s Joe Cordina, the present IBF belt-holder at super-feather, however has been open to the prospect of travelling to the UK to take him on. In the end, nonetheless, his plans will likely be dictated by how snug he feels within the run-up to Friday night time. (Having weighed in at 131.6lbs for Friday’s bout in opposition to Conceicao, and subsequently relinquished his super-featherweight titles, now we all know.)
“He [Cordina] solely received one combat! I believe he beat somebody [Kenichi Ogawa] that beat Tevin Farmer however Tevin Farmer actually beat him. So he solely received one combat. We’ll see. If I’m nonetheless at this weight I’ll beat his ass too. It’s simply obtained to do with the load minimize. Relying on how arduous the load minimize is for this combat, we’ll discover out after.”
As for a future superfight with Prime Rank’s Vasily Lomachenko, Stevenson stays as unabashed as ever, eager to climb boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings and elevate his title to the highest of the game.
“If that’s what they need [Lomachenko] then I’m down for it. I’m down for whoever. Whoever needs smoke I’m with it. I don’t thoughts. Anyone! Anyone can get it!”