29.10.2019 - 17:56 Uhr
boxinginsider.com
By: Kirk JacksonRoughly four years ago, Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO’s) was fighting for a spot on the 2016 United States Olympic team roster, facing off against and defeating the talented Ruben Villa to earn his position on the team. The U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials, held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, was the first glimpse of greatness, audiences were able to witness on national level, for New Jersey native.After snatching a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, fast-forward to present day with his quick ascension to world champion, the path has come full circle. https://youtu.be/Me5841kryu4Returning to Reno, Nev., this past weekend, Stevenson realized his dream, capturing the WBO featherweight title, defeating Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KO’s) over the course of 12 rounds.“I came here to Reno, closer to his hometown, and wiped him out,” said Stevenson who went 12 rounds for the first time. “So, it’s an amazing feeling, being that I grinded for this my whole life.”What makes his performance even more impressive, is the emotional build up leading up to the fight. There was an ongoing clash between the two camps – much pertaining to Stevenson dating the younger sister of Gonzalez. Along with the drama comparable to Romeo and Juliet, Stevenson’s father recently passed away. To stay locked in and focused, in spite of all of the possible overwhelming emotions, says a lot about the character, resolve and concentration of Stevenson.During this one-sided affair, Stevenson displayed technical, defensive mastery, similar to previous pound-for-pound greats that dominated (and still dominate) boxing. Greats like the late Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Andre Ward and Terence Crawford.https://youtu.be/0xQyNZDvuAAPerhaps this performance isn’t surprising; as noted previously, the talent and potential was always there. The application of hard work and willingness to learn helps harvest the product we see today. And as mentioned in previous interviews, Stevenson revealed he studies other boxers and patterns himself after Whitaker, Mayweather and Crawford. “I watch real defensive boxers who know how to get out of the way of punches and come back,” Stevenson said. https://twitter.com/champfasteddie/status/1188500089884557313?s=03Stevenson’s promoter Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank Boxing was impressed by the performance, comparing it to that of a fighter who used to fight under his banner. “I thought it was a really magnificent performance,” Arum told reporters post-fight. “In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a left-handed Floyd Mayweather.”Heralded as a young prodigy, under the tutelage of his grandfather Wali Moses, Stevenson is meeting benchmark after benchmark and the immediate question after this display of wizardry is what lies ahead progressing forward? Arum alluded to Stevenson moving up in weight in the near future, as the appears to be the natural progression for guys considered to be top pound-for-pound fighters. “I want him to fight a couple more fights before he moves up,” Arum said. But before Stevenson moves up in weight, hopefully the current trend of world title unifications continue and Stevenson can compete in unification bouts against the likes of IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KO’s), WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. 30-1, 18 KO’s), WBA (Super) featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KO’s) or against WBA (Regular) featherweight champion Xu Can (17-2, 3 KO’s). Standing firm as one of the youngest world champions in boxing, along with recently crowned WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (23-0, 15 KO’s), 20-years-old, two-time WBC super-middleweight champion David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KO’s) 22-years-old, and 24-year-old Gervonta Davis (22-0, 21 KO’s), these fighters stand tall as pillars ushering in the new, great generation of talent moving forward.However, one distinction Stevenson has over the aforementioned fighters, is at age 22-years-old, he is the first male fighter from the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a world title.The first fighter from the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a world title is Claressa Shields (9-0, 2 KO’s). The current unified (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, The Ring champion) and undisputed female middleweight champion was in attendance to support her boxing family.https://youtu.be/0Kdo-BmQUeEAlso featured on the card, Olympic teammate and fellow Top Rank stablemate Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KO’s), stopped Alejandra Soledad Zamora (7-4, 1 KO) in six rounds to retain her NABF title.“I am ready for the next challenge. I want a world title,” Mayer said post-fight. “I think for the past two years I have shown that I am ready for a world title. I have shown it by easily dispatching all the fighters that have been put in front of me.”Another fighter coming “Full circle” of sorts, also featured on the card this past weekend, is JJ Mariano. Around the time Stevenson was fighting at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Reno, Nev., Mariano was competing and winning two national titles for the University of Nevada Reno, boxing team. https://youtu.be/PZy_geKDBkIThe Sparks-Reno native Mariano, won his second pro fight, defeating Sean Cerveny by unanimous decision in their welterweight bout and improving to (2-0, 1 KO).Led by former super lightweight world title contender, and longtime trainer Pat “Paddy” Jefferson, along with fellow national champion Jarred Santos, Mariano aims to win world titles and blaze his own path in the boxing world. Much like Shakur Stevenson. The post Full Circle: From the Trials, to the Olympics, to the Title appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.
  

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By: Oliver McManusWith boxingon hold for the foreseeable future, at least in the form we know it, BoxingInsider is taking a look at top prospects to keep an eye on when the sportreturns. The five names below cover bantamweight, super bantamweight andfeatherweight: they all, naturally, have different ceilings to their abilitybut, most importantly, they all pack some entertaining punch!As with last week we will start proceedings witha sumptuous Uzbek talent. Shakhobidin Zoirov is another pearlfrom the far-flung country with Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2019 WorldChampionships in Yekaterinburg. Both those triumphs came at 52kg and southpawnow competes in the slightly heavier bantamweight division (53.5kg). Havingdebuted in April last year, Zoirov made light work of Anthony Holt (5-4-1): aslam-dunk straight left hand inside of 20 seconds and that was that. Since thenhe’s moved to 3-0 in equally breezy fashion.Elie Konki, as it stands, is one of the more advanced fighters on this list, to date,  having captured the EBU-EU bantamweight title in December. The Frenchman, a Rio 2016 competitor, first caught my attention with a real nip-and-tuck encounter against Benedikt Croze for the French bantamweight title in 2018. In that fight he was forced to work under pressure but looked comfortable on the back-foot and dug deep to grind the win. Since then the 28 year old defended his title, with relative comfort, on three occasions and hand Sebastian Perez (12-0-1 at the time) his first loss to claim the EU strap.Comparisons between Dennis McCann and NaseemHamed are as frequent as rainfall in Quibdo, Colombia (the world’s rainiestcity, in case you didn’t work it out). There are undeniable similarities andthe influence is clear: whilst McCann has some polishing work to do youwouldn’t expect anything less from a 19 year old prodigy. Guided by FrankWarren, you can be assured that he’ll take the right steps at the right timeand he’s already tested the durability of four of his six opponents. Despitefacing journeymen, again to be expected, he does so in an eye catching mannerthat ensures they leave the ring wondering just what they’d been up against.Another southpaw making the list is 21 year old RaymondFord who has looked every bit as ‘Savage’ as his nickname would suggest.A 2018 U.S Golden Gloves champion there was significant clamour for hissignature on a promotional contract and it was Eddie Hearn who secured it. Partof a new dawn with Matchroom USA the, once, Olympic contender has reallysettled in the paid ranks with five wins inside nine months of his pro debut.That included a four round pasting of, noticeably teak tough, AleksandrsBirkenbergs and two well worked stoppages in Phoenix and Providence. Don’tsleep on him because Raymond Ford looks cut out for the very top.Musashi Mori is yet anotheryoung fighter coming out of Japan that looks like a superstar in the making.One bonus, you could say, of boxing in Japan is that, almost certainly, by thetime you’re ready to burst onto the world scene you remain very much a hiddengem. Mori is one such name having already worked his way up the WBO rankings byway of their Asia-Pacific featherweight belt. At 20 years of age and 11-0 sincehis debut in December 2016 the southpaw is consistently maturing in the ring.The word coming out of Japan, at the start of the year anyway, was that hewould contest a bona-fide world title in 2020 and, whilst that may well be onhold, the ambition certainly isn’t.The post Prospect Watch: Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight, and Featherweight appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

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