Boxing Insider Notebook: Stevenson, Wallin, Hunter, Monroe, DAZN, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 16th to September 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Stevenson-Gonzalez Tickets on Sale
Tickets for the highly anticipated vacant WBO featherweight world title fight between unbeaten stars Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez — Saturday, October 26 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center — go on sale TODAY, September 23, at 10 a.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy, Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $110, $70 and $40 (not including applicable fees) can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.
A pair of undefeated Northern Nevada-based prospects, JJ Mariano and Diego Elizondo, are slated to appear on the undercard.
Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is no stranger to Reno fight fans. He won multiple national tournaments there as an amateur, including the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in late 2015. Stevenson went on to capture a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 22-year-old last fought July 13 in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, knocking out Alberto Guevara in the third round.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs), the WBO No. 2 contender, is a seven-year pro who has scored three consecutive knockouts. A Los Angeles native, Gonzalez is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Manuel Avila.
Stevenson-Gonzalez and a co-feature will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
DAZN to Launch on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex
DAZN, the world’s largest sports streaming service, is now available to Comcast customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available over the Internet to millions more on Xfinity X1 this fall, marking DAZN’s first distribution deal with a major U.S. video and internet provider.
“We’re thrilled to give our Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex customers access to DAZN’s live and on-demand programming starting this fall just in time for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports this year,” said Daniel Spinosa, Vice President, Entertainment Services for Comcast Cable. “With new content from partners like DAZN, coupled with our aggregated UI, X1 is the best way to experience live sports at home, and with Flex we can extend this great content, integrated experience and voice control to our Internet-only customers directly on their TVs.”
As part of a new global initiative DAZN for Operators, DAZN now provides a turnkey opportunity for cable, satellite, mobile and internet providers to offer DAZN’s premium sports content as a major value add to their customers.
“DAZN for Operators is our new partnership program, in which we collaborate with the world’s leading pay TV operators, ISPs and mobile carriers to make the live sports experience even more accessible and better to watch for fans,” said Ben King, DAZN SVP, Global Distribution and Business Development. “We couldn’t think of a better inaugural partner than Comcast.”
Later this year, customers will be able to find DAZN’s content more deeply integrated within the X1 and Flex experiences, including direct access within the sports hub, the ultimate destination for all things sports on X1 and Flex, and the ability to call up a specific program with the Xfinity Voice Remote (“show me ChangeUp”). Flex is now included with an Xfinity Internet-only subscription, providing new and existing customers with the ability to easily access their favorite streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.
The launch coincides with DAZN’s blockbuster fall schedule of combat sports events. “Fight Season on DAZN” features:
– Oct. 5 – Triple G vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko – IBF Middleweight World Championship
– Oct. 26 – Bellator 232: Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima – Welterweight Championship
– Nov. 2 – Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev – WBO Light Heavyweight Championship
– Nov. 9 – KSI vs. Logan Paul II
– Dec. 7 – Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II – WBA, WBO, IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Since its introduction to the U.S. market in September 2018, DAZN has continued to add to its content portfolio, which includes thousands of live and on-demand sporting and other events each year. In April, it premiered a live MLB show ChangeUp that features the best action from around the league each day. The service also unveiled a new docu-series 40 DAYS which pairs celebrity executive producers with boxers to document their preparation leading up to fight night. On Sept. 9, the long-awaited daily talk show from former NFL All-Pro punter Pat McAfee launched on DAZN.
DAZN offers an annual pass for $99.99, and also a monthly option at $19.99 for those customers more focused on flexibility.
Wallin Returns to Hero’s Welcome in Sweden After Battle with Tyson Fury
Newly emerged top heavyweight contender Otto Wallin enjoyed a national hero’s homecoming yesterday in his native Sweden.
Basking in the glory earned by his epic stand against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday, September 14, Wallin was greeted at Stockholm airport by countrymen eager to celebrate with their newest sports star and then whisked off for a national media tour.
“It felt great to have such a welcome at home in Sweden,” said a proud Wallin. “The media and the people are really backing me more and more and that’s awesome. Boxing in Sweden needs all the attention it can get and it feels good to be part of helping boxing at home and to be a role model for the kids.”
Wallin sat for several interviews including Sweden’s national publicly funded radio, Sveriges Radio, important sports newspaper Sportbladet and gave an emotional tribute to his late father in SVT’s popular Morning Studio, watched by 36.4% of the country.
Though Wallin was ultimately deemed to have lost on the scorecards after 12 tough rounds, the respect he earned from Fury and boxing fans worldwide has instantly taken him to recognizable status on the heavyweight boxing landscape.
“Otto had an outstanding fight against Tyson Fury and a well-deserved hero’s welcome in his homeland,” said his promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “Although he didn’t get to take home the belt, it feels like he did to his fans in Sweden. As he said after the fight, it was a great learning experience and he’s definitely proven to himself and the boxing world that he is a big part of the heavyweight division. The sky is the limit for Otto and I am very happy that he has achieved celebrity athlete status in the US and back home in Sweden.”
Wallin is scheduled for additional Swedish media appearances today and the rest of the week.
Kevin Hunter Ready to Challenge the Elite in the 140 Pound Division
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated super lightweight, Keith “The Bounty” Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs), now ranked WBA #12, is ready to face anyone in the top ten of the 140-pound division as he enters contender status.
Hunter who recently out boxed Cameron Kreal (16-14-3, 4 KOs) by a wide decision, a fighter who despite his record not looking the best, was a heavily avoided fighter. In his previous fight before that, Hunter defeated, Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-2-1, 5 KOs) by split decision. Both wins come on his opponents home turf. Hunter has continuously looked to fight the best and is creating momentum organically through each performance.
“I have faced tough opposition in my last two bouts beating Cameron Kreal and Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, both who were fighting on the “A” side with their promoter, Mayweather Promotions,” said Keith Hunter, who is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. “I feel I am ready to face the best and this world ranking just puts me closer to getting those fights.”
Keith Hunter, who is the younger brother of Heavyweight contender, Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs), comes from a boxing family. His father Michael Hunter Sr. (26-7-2, 8 KOs), had a successful career in the 80’s.
“I am fighting mostly as professional since people don’t put enough respect on my father’s name, and I feel that continuing his legacy is very important to me,” Hunter continued. “I am excited for what the future holds and like I said, I’m ready for anyone.”
“Hunter is a special fighter, he is talented, but also is a courageous fighter, who fights with tremendous heart,” said Prince Ranch Boxing’s CEO Greg Hannley. “It is exciting to see that he is now ranked in the top fifteen of the WBA as this can lead to some great fights in the future.”
Hunter is currently ranked #12 by the WBA and is awaiting a fight date as he looks to fight for a top ten opponent.
Carlos Monroe to Defend Title on Saturday in Atlanta
On Saturday, September 26 at Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, World Boxing Association Fedalatin Champion Carlos Monroe, in his biggest fight to date, defends his title against former world title challenger Javier Francisco Maciel. In the co-feature, Eric Moon will fight Mike Guy for the American Boxing Federation (ABF) title, as there will be eight bouts in all.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
Carlos Monroe (16-0, 13 KOs) was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta age 3. As an amateur he won NINE consecutive Georgia State Golden Gloves tournaments. He also was two-time Florida State Golden Gloves champion. “Every year I competed n the state Golden Gloves, I won,” stated Carlos. In the 2015 Olympic trials, even though Carlos won his final bout, he was unable to fight further due to a major cut from an accidental head butt.
Monroe, coached by trainer of world champions Stacie McKinley, made his professional debut on December 16, 2017 and had ten fights in 2018, and this will be his sixth this year. “This is my biggest fight, to date,” said Carlos. “ I have been training in Pompano Beach, Florida, with a lot of sparring partners with different styles, so I am good about making adjustments on the fly. I don’t feel any threats in the ring. Javier is a game opponent and fought a few big names. He comes forward and is a pressure fighter, and I like that.” Monroe likes to work the body and “most of my stoppages have come from body shots.” Carlos lives about twenty minutes outside of Atlanta and will have many family and friends at the fight.
“Carlos is very smart, listens well and is a hard worker,” said McKinley, who has trained Mike Tyson and numerous middleweight world champions. “He has unusual hand speed, and power at the same time. This fight is a step up for him and after that, there will be another step up. I have big plans for him. He leaves home and comes here for to train, has a fight, goes home for week then comes back for another six to eight weeks. He is not just training boxing, he is living boxing and that’s what you need to do to become great. He has a young daughter now and a wonderful promoter, Judy Starkey, who has invested a lot in Carlos to provide for him what he needs to be successful.”
Javier Francisco Maciel (33-8, 23 KOs) from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has fought for the World Boxing Association world middleweight championship and has won numerous regional titles. Maciel has fought world champion Dmitry Pirog and world title challengers Willie Monroe Jr., Francisco Antonio Mora.
“We are so thankful to partners like this that support the nearly 3,000 kids that attend our Clubs each day and help them reach their full potential,” said Missy Dugan, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “Through sports, youth build skills that will serve them now and throughout their lives including self-confidence, good sportsmanship, discipline, and an appreciation of healthy living and exercise.” Kids from several local Clubs will attend. Event organizers are Judy Starkey, an accomplished Atlanta businesswoman and Harry Barnett, who has been involved in boxing for over sixty years as a boxer, manager and promoter.
The Future is Now For Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
The fast track is a route that many new fighters are taking. Gone are the days of slowly building a fighter into a championship contender. Nowadays everyone feels as though they are ready for the big leagues.
WBA Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis won his first world title at the age of 21. Former WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez captured gold at the age of 20. Although many of these young fighters are finding success, it doesn’t mean that they should be pushed in that direction.
Some fighters, including the aforementioned Gervonta Davis, David Benavidez and pour-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko elected to move their careers faster then normal. It may have been criticized at first, but those critics have proven to be wrong. The norm however is for a fighter to have to wait his turn before getting his shot at a title. All-time great Carl Froch was 31 years old before he became a world champion. The recently retired Ishe Smith was 34 before he could officially call himself a world champion as well.
What Davis and Benavidez have done is an outlier not the norm.
Another fighter who seems to be following the new trend of spectacular young fighters looking for a shot in the bright lights sooner rather than later is Shakur Stevenson.
Stevenson has star power. Tons of it.
Ask anyone involved in the sport of boxing and they will tell you that Stevenson will be the Floyd Mayweather of his generation. He’s that good.
Everyone remembers Stevenson’s captivating run during the 2016 olympics. He brung America exactly where it belongs. Back in the forefront.
During the 2016 Olympic Games, Stevenson was the talk of the town. Every time he stepped into the ring, he won. It came as no surprise to see Stevenson in the finals with a chance at gold hanging in the balance. He would however come up short in his bid to become the first American boxer since his idol, Andre Ward in the 2004 Athens games.
The loss for Stevenson did nothing to dampen his star. If anything, it enhanced it.
With nothing left to prove for Stevenson he turned pro. It’s only been two years since he has made that decision but he has shown exactly why it was a good one. Because of his willingness to face stiff competition at such an early point in his career, Stevenson has been rewarded with a number one ranking in the WBO sanctioning body. He now is on a collision course with the number two ranked fighter Joet Gonzalez, for the vacant title later on this year.
Everything seems to be moving fast. Just three short years ago Stevenson was fighting for a gold medal. Fast forward to 2019 and he will now be fighting for gold once again, only this time, of another variety.
Some fighters need time, preparation and patience before they are simply thrown into the lions den. For Shakur Stevenson, this is not a step to a bridge too far for him to cross.
He’s a special fighter.
Many thought Stevenson would be the future of boxing. He has other plans. Stevenson wants his future to start right now.
Three Takeaways from this Weekend
By: Jonah Dylan
After a weekend that featured barely any fights, it was – in theory – nice to see so many fights this past weekend. Yes, the fights weren’t necessarily great, and we didn’t have any superstars in action, but at least it was something. At least there were choices if you didn’t like what you were watching. Whether or not it was particularly important, a lot of stuff happened. So let’s talk about it.
1. We’ve been underrating Daniel Dubois. A lot.
First of all, seeing two legit undefeated prospects fight each other was great, and it’s something that almost never happens, especially in the United States (speaking of heavyweight prospects, Jermaine Franklin is nowhere near Dubois and got away with an absolute robbery decision against Jerry Forrest on Friday night). Dubois was favored against Nathan Gorman, but we didn’t really know much about either guy, and there were a lot of people who picked Gorman to win the fight.
It was never really close. Gorman was cut in two places and you could tell it was bothering him, but Dubois didn’t just use his power. He boxed Gorman and consistently hit him with clean shots before finishing him in the fifth round. Before this fight, both Dubois and Gorman had been doing pretty much the same thing and fighting washed up guys who had no business being in a boxing ring. Now, Dubois has a legit win on his record, which is more than most prospects can say.
It’ll be really interesting to see what Frank Warren does with Dubois moving forward. No one is suggesting he’s ready for top-level guys yet, but this was a major step-up and he could see himself in the world title mix sooner rather than later. I’d like to see him in with a top-10 guy in the near future.
2. Shakur Stevenson is ready for a title fight
Or, as ready as he’ll ever be. Watching him knock out no-hopers is a useless exercise at this point. After Stevenson dominated a respectable opponent in Christopher Diaz, it was clear his time as a prospect had come to an end. If the point of Saturday’s fight was just to headline and fight at home, fine. But there’s no reason for him to do it again.
So who should he fight? Leo Santa Cruz is with PBC, and Gary Russell has already made his annual appearance and probably won’t be heard from until next April or May. That leaves Josh Warrington and Oscar Valdez.
Warrington just escaped with a very close decision in an ugly fight with Kid Galahad, but on the surface he might have some difficulty finding opponents in the near future. He’s with Frank Warren and his fights stream on ESPN+, so it’s realistic that Warren and Bob Arum could get together to make this fight. It’d be a really interesting style matchup for Stevenson, who throws lots of combinations and has elite speed. Warrington has almost no power but just overwhelms guys with his work rate. Stevenson would probably be favored here, but Warrington has been the underdog for two of his three world title fights, and that hasn’t been a problem.
Valdez hasn’t committed to staying in the featherweight division, and honestly I think he would rather fight Carl Frampton than Stevenson. As I’ve said before, it makes no sense to me why Frampton would get a title shot before Stevenson, considering he just lost a clear decision to Warrington in December. He’d probably lose to Valdez, too. Stevenson-Valdez would be a little less interesting than Stevenson-Warrington, if only because Valdez has been fighting with an extremely cautious style since breaking his jaw and will probably be moving up after the fight regardless. Let’s make Stevenson-Warrington in the UK and see what happens.
3. It’s tough to figure out what to make of the junior featherweights
Rey Vargas outpointed Tomoki Kameda on Saturday to keep his WBC strap, but the fans weren’t exactly thrilled with Vargas’ cautious performance. He’s a really interesting fighter. On one hand, he can always use his height and reach advantages to win decisions, but once in a while he chooses to engage and hasn’t been perfect, like when he got dropped in the second round of his last fight. On Saturday, Kameda wanted a war, but Vargas didn’t give it to him and stayed calm on the outside.
This makes me think Vargas against WBO titleholder Emanuel Navarrete would be a very intriguing matchup. In both fights against Isaac Dogboe, Navarette used his height and reach to land a barrage of uppercuts and stop Dogboe from ever getting close to him. I feel like we really don’t know anything about Navarrete until he fights someone else, but a fight down the line with Vargas would be a fascinating matchup.
Then there’s unified WBA/IBF titleholder Daniel Roman. You probably have to consider him the best in the division due to his win over T.J. Doheny in their FOTY contender in April, but I’m not sure where he goes next. He has to make a mandatory next but has said he’d like to unify against Vargas, which would be a quality fight for three belts. I’d rather see Vargas test himself against Navarrete, but Navarrete is with Top Rank and probably won’t be going anywhere near any DAZN guys for a while. Then again, this is what we said about Jose Ramirez, so maybe it’s possible. One can hope.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan.
Stevenson Easily Dispatches Guevara, Greer Skates by Potapov
By: William Holmes
The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Card.
The undercard was streamed on ESPN+ and the telecast started off with a an IBF Bantam Weight Eliminator between Joshua Greer Jr. (20-1-1) and Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1).
This fight started off slower, with both boxers feeling each other and Potapov using his height to his advantage with sharply timed counters. Greer appeared to have trouble getting to his offense in the second round, and was slightly outlanded by Potapov by the third round.
Greer kept his feet moving in the fourth round and looked like he was gaining confidence and throwing more punches. Greer kept up the high pace in the fifth round and had outlanded Potapov 51-36 punches by this round. Greer was able to land several clear shots to the body.
Potapov was able to land a few good punches in the sixth round, but Greer was still picking off most of Potapov’s punches. Potapov was the aggressor in the seventh round and landed several good straight right hands in the center of the ring.
Potapov looked like he wasn’t deterred by Greer’s alleged power in the eight round and was landing good counters and punches in bunches. The ninth round was close, but Greer was the fighter that was pressing forward.
By the tenth round the fight was still up for grabs, and Greer appeared to hurt Potapov with body shots in this round.
Greer’s corner stressed the importance of winning the final two rounds in order to win the fight, and he appeared to listen to his corner and pressed the action while looking for the knockout.
His late fight surge appeared to have been just enough. The judges scored it 114-114, 116-112, and 115-113 for Joshua Greer Jr.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing
The main event of the night was between Shakur Stevenson (11-0) and Alberto Guevara (27-4) for the NABO Featherweight Title.
Guevara has had great success in Mexico, but little to none outside of it.
Guevara took the fight on short notice and didn’t look like he was in the best of shape. Stevenson opened up the first with a good lead right hook and was pressuring Guevara from corner to corner. Guevara looked scared to exchange with Guevara and spent most of the opening round on his bike.
Guevara was chased again by Stevenson in the second round and took several had punches to the body. One body led to a knockdown, but Guevara was able to get back to his feet. He was pursued by Stevenson again until Stevenson landed a right to the chin of Guevara and sent him down for a second time in the second round.
Stevenson continued to hunt down Guevara in the third round, but landed a left hand below the belt on Guevara and the referee gave Guevara time to recuperate. The fight restarted and Stevenson immediately went on the attack and had Guevara off balance. Stevenson sends Guevara down for the third time in the fight with a combination to the head.
Guevara meekly attempted to get up at the count of nine, but he was badly out matched, and the referee waived off the fight.
Shakur Stevenson wins by KO at 2:37 of the third round.
Shakur Stevenson vs. Alberto Guevara Fight Preview
By: Sean Crose
Rising featherweight Shakur Stevenson, the 16-0 undefeated New Jersey native, will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd on Saturday night when he faces the 27-4 Alberto Guevara at Newark’s Prudential Center. The televised portion of the Top Rank Card will be aired live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 Eastern Standard Time. This will be Stevenson’s third fight in 2019, giving proof to the assertion that it’s hoped he rises quickly through the ranks.
Stevenson stopped Jessie Cris Rosales in January in Verona, New York, and then earned a unanimous decision win over Christopher Diaz in Madison Square Garden this past April on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan undercard.
Guevara, of California by way of Mexico, was last seen on the ring this past January, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Hugo Ruiz. In truth, the 28 year old is a last minute replacement opponent for Stevenson. The former Olympian was first supposed to face Franklin Manzanilla, but Manzanilla had to step away from the bout. That left an opportunity for Guevara, who has fought twice for a world bantamweight title, to step in. Guevara’s most notable opponent to date has been Leo Santa Cruz, who Guervara lost a close fight to via unanimous decision back in 2012.
This will be the first time Stevenson is fighting as a pro in his hometown. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was on hand this week to show his support for the local standout who earned himself an Olympic Silver medal in 2016. Since that time, the 22 year old has made himself one of the top names at featherweight. He’s also shown a more ferocious side lately, as when he unloaded a brutal body attack on Diaz last spring. Now Stevenson finds himself ranked as the number one WBO featherweight contender, although he’s been noted for not having real flash in an era of over the top personalities. As ESPNs Mark Kriegel recently put it, Stevenson “merely looks like a good guy in a sport that celebrates bad boys.”
Aside from Stevenson-Guevara, Saturday’s televised card will also present a bantamweight bout between the 20-1-1Joshua Greer Jr of Chicago, and the 20-1-1 Nikolai Potapov of Brooklyn, by way of Russia. The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be an IBF world title eliminator. Greer’s last bout was a knockout victory over Giovanni Eascaner last February in Hinckley, Minnesota. Potapov was last seen retiring Adam Mgeba in Russia this past March. Needless to say, Saturday presents a huge opportunity for both fighters.
The televised portion of Saturday’s card will feature Top Rank’s go-to team on ESPN. Aside from Kriegel, there’s former welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley on hand to call the fights, along with former super middleweight and light heavyweight titlist Andre Ward, Joe Tessitore and Bernardo Osuna. Besides being televised, the card can also be streamed on the ESPN App, which will be showcasing the undercard, along with ESPN+. Expect Stevenson to be built up aggressively during the broadcast, as Top Rank and ESPN are clearly hoping the young fighter can attain true stardom.
Shakur Stevenson Isn’t Fazed By Yet A New Opponent
By: Hans Themistode
Undefeated Featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs) has grown accustomed to making adjustments. During the 2016 Olympic games, he fought great fighter after great fighter. Each and every time he was forced to make an adjustment. Those in ring adjustments led to the New Jersey born native winning a silver medal.
In Stevenson’s last bout, he once again had to make alterations during a fight. In just his 11th pro bout, Stevenson was matched up against former title challenger Christopher Diaz. The aforementioned Diaz not only won was dominant during his career up to that point, but he also managed to stop five of his past six opponents as well. Stevenson made it look easy as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
On July 13th, Stevenson will receive a hometown bout in Newark, New Jersey, at the Prudential Center. The undefeated Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 14 KOs) was first reported to have taken the bout against Stevenson. Shortly after, for reasons that are still unclear, Socarras pulled himself from the bout.
Socarras, who is known as a boxer puncher, was replaced with the hard hitting Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs). It was a contrast of fighting styles but as previously mentioned, Stevenson had no issues alternating his fight game plan.
With just a few days left til the fight, Manzanilla, for reasons that were also unspecified, pulled out of the fight as well. Stepping in to take his place is former will be former two time title challenger Alberto Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs).
Once again, Stevenson will be tasked with taking on an opponent with a completely different style than what he was preparing for. To the credit of Stevenson however, he hasn’t complained. He is simply focused on putting on a spectacular performance in front of his hometown crowd.
“I give Alberto Guevara credit for taking this fight when so many fighters won’t step into the ring with me,” Stevenson said. “He’s been in there with some great fighters, even world champions, but nothing can prepare him for me. No matter the opponent, I am going to put on a special performance for my hometown and everyone watching on ESPN on July 13.”
Guevara, on the other hand is not intimidated by the Olympic Silver medalist or his fans. He just simply wants to prove that he belongs amongst the best.
“When I was offered this fight, I did not hesitate. I want to fight the best, and Shakur Stevenson is a very good young fighter,” Guevara said. “The hometown crowd will not phase me. I’m coming to shock the boxing world.”
Shakur Stevenson finally has his opponent finalized. It may take an adjustment or two so that he can perform to the best of his ability, but make no mistake about it, he seems ready to put on a show.
Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Verdejo, Stevenson, and Lopez Win Impressively
By: William Holmes
The televised undercard of tonight’s PPV featured three fights before the main event between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan.
This event was held at Madison Square Garden and televised live on Pay Per View in a partnership between Top Rank Promotions and ESPN.
The first fight on the undercard was between Felix Verdejo (24-1) and Bryan Vazquez (37-3) in the lightweight division.
Verdejo took control of the center of the ring early on and was landing crisp jabs in conjunction with decent body shots. Vazquez kept a good tight high guard, but he wasn’t very effective when he went on the offensive.
Verdejo landed a good short left hook in the third round but had a small cut under his left eye in the fourth round. Verdejo looked like the fresher fighter in the fifth round and was able to land some good body shots in the sixth.
Vazquez had a strong seventh and eight round and may have stolen them on the judges’ score cards. Verdejo however was the aggressor in the final two rounds and likely took them from Vazquez.
The final scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92 for Felix Verdejo.
The next fight on the undercard was in the featherweight division between Shakur Stevenson (10-0) and Christopher Diaz (24-1)
Stevenson, a southpaw, started off the fight by circling away from the power hand of Diaz and stayed on the outside. Stevenson picked him apart in the second round with a jab and looked to be in good control
Diaz attempted to keep the distance tight in the third and fourth rounds but Stevenson was too accurate of a puncher to be in danger.
Stevenson had a real strong fifth round as his superior hand speed was just taking it over. Diaz had a better sixth round and both fighters crossed feet in the seventh round. Diaz looked like he was reaching for his punches a bit in the eighth round as he was behind on the cards at the time.
Stevenson looked extremely confident going into the final two rounds and coasted to a comfortable victory.
The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Shakur Stevenson.
The final fight on the undercard was a lightweight fight between Teofimo Lopez (12-0) and Edis Tatli (31-2) .
Lopez was sharp with his jab early on and landed some good check left hooks in the opening round. He continued to press in the second round and was able to land some good shots to the body.
Lopez continued to press the pace in the third round and had Tatli in full retreat in the fourth round. Lopez went for the stoppage in the fourth as he was winding up on his power shots, but Tatli was able to stay on his feet.
Lopez finished the fight in the fourth round with a vicious body shot that sent Tatli to the mat for the full ten count.
Lopez wins by knockout at 1:32 of the fifth round.
Freddie Roach Sizes Up Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
Hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach understands what it means to be involved in a big fight. Come Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Freddie Roach trained fighter, Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) will have a stiff test ahead of him. Diaz will take on highly touted and currently undefeated olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs). It’s a contest that came as a bit of a surprise to the public. With just ten under his belt many feel as though Stevenson’s fight against Diaz is coming much too soon in his career. Count Roach as one of those that feels Stevenson might be biting off a bit more than he can chew.
“He’s a good fighter but he’s still pretty young. Only time will tell if this fight is a bit too early for him but I think so.”
Diaz has just one lone blemish on his record, a 2018 loss against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO Super Featherweight title. It was a fight that saw Diaz perform extremely well but he ultimately came up short.
Seldom do you see a young prospect take on such a tough challenge so early in their career. Roach believes in the young prospect from Newark, but how exactly does he feel he stacks up in comparison to young fighters such as Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez?
“I wouldn’t put him in that category but he is 10-0 so he is doing really well, but no I don’t place him in that same category as those other guys.”
The question begs to be asked. Was Roach serious, or is this just a bit of gamesmanship? Stevenson will have the opportunity to prove Roach wrong come fight night. During Stevenson’s portion of his media day workout, he was asked why he wanted this tough assignment.
“I’m just trying to be great.”
If Stevenson wants to be great then he will have his shot on Saturday night. Diaz is the sort of test that will tell us all whether or not Stevenson has what it takes to be the future star that many have pegged him to be.
Shakur Stevenson Brawl Video Surfaces
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has become known for his terrific run in the 2016 Olympics where he won a sliver medal. Since he’s turned pro he’s amassed an undefeated record through his first ten fights with six of those wins coming by knockout. His exploits in the ring seems to be leading him towards a title shot very shortly.
For as good as Stevenson has been in both his amateur and brief professionally career, that can all be derailed as the details of his transgressions outside of the ring has come to light.
Stevenson was arrested back in 2018 for an apparent brawl he had while out in Miami celebrating his 21st birthday. Video has recently been released showing what took place. Stevenson is seen on tape along with a friend getting into an argument with another group. From there Stevenson is shown attacking a man, it was a pretty severe beating that Stevenson dished out to the unidentified individual.
Stevenson’s friend who was later identified to be boxer David Grayton was shortly pushed by a female in the opposing group. Grayton wasted no time attacking the woman who shoved him. Grayton also attacked another female who appeared to be trying to break up the confrontation.
It is important to state that Stevenson did not touch any of the females. Shortly after he also grabbed his friend as if telling him that he had done enough.
Although he is shown pummeling a man until he was slumped on the ground we all must refrain from simply judging based off the video evidence. It was clear that something provoked this reaction from Stevenson. In the video it also appears that the group Stevenson had an issue with was of another race. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this could have been a racially motivated dispute.
The video of this group brawl is a horrible look for Stevenson. With such a bright future ahead of him he as apparently placed that jeopardy. There is no excuse for what he engaged in that night but let’s allow more facts to come to the surface before we all continue too judge this young man.
Adonis Stevenson Is Awake From His Coma, “Healing From His Injury”
By: Sean Crose
Several weeks after suffering brain damage from a bout with Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Adonis Stevenson is reportedly out of a coma. “Despite recent reports being leaked to media,” Adonis Stevenson’s girlfriend, Simone “Sisi” God, said via a press statement, “I wanted to clarify that Adonis is awake. He is healing from his injury in the private company of his family and his dedicated medical team. Adonis is a world champion in the ring and is exhibiting that same grit, strength and determination in his recovery.” Earlier this month in Quebec City, the former WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion was stopped by Gvozdyk in a brutal, eleven round affair.
After the bout, the Canadian fighter was sent to Hopital de l’Enfant-Jesus via ambulance where doctors had him placed in a medically induced coma. Finally, the forty-one year old fighter’s condition appears to have improved. “Superman is a world champion,” states God in the press release, “and has demonstrated his strength in facing every obstacle he has ever faced. He is a legend in the eyes of his fans, and a man that demonstrates to his family daily that inner strength and love can change and redeem even the greatest of hardships.”
Recent reports had claimed that Stevenson’s condition had not changed. With that in mind, God’s press release is good news for Stevenson’s fans, and the fight world, as well. “Adonis and our family are so thankful to you all for your love and support,” God states, “and respectfully ask to continue to grant Adonis and our family privacy as he heals from this accident. With the holidays here, Adonis is spending time enjoying music and spending time with Adonia and his family and sends his love and appreciation to you all.” God gave birth to Stevenson’s daughter, his fifth child, this past autumn. It is the couples’ first child together.
Stevenson, who won the light heavyweight title by crushing Chad Dawson in less than a round back in 2013, held onto the championship for five years, successfully defending it a total of eight times. He fought twice this past year, battling Badu Jack to a draw in May before facing off against Gvozdyk on December 1st. People both in and out of the fight game have been publicly announcing their support for Stevenson and his family since that time.
“We are truly blessed,” God says in the statement, “by God and all of you for your support.”
Adonis Stevenson’s Condition Remains Unchanged
By: Sean Crose
“Doctors do not venture an opinion on what lies ahead.”
With these words, Yvon Michel, promoter of former WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, made clear that the future of the Canadian fighter is uncertain. Stevenson, who had held the title since knocking out Chad Dawson in one round in 2013, was defeated by Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Quebec City on the first of December. Shortly after the fight, Stevenson was taken to Hopital de l’Enfant-Jesus. Doctor’s concluded that Stevenson had suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in need of surgery. A short time later, the fighter was placed in a medically induced coma, where he remains unconscious.
Unfortunately, there have been no signs of improvement in the fighter. Michel claims Stevenson “needs mechanical assistance to breathe.” It’s also being reported that those who suffer from the kinds of injuries Stevenson has often sustain lasting damage. “There is no change at the moment” Michel said. “He still needs mechanical assistance to breathe and he has not regained consciousness.” Although no official word has come from the hospital, Michel said that “”When there’s a significant change, the authorities of the Quebec University Hospital will announce it with the agreement of the family.”
During his reign, Stevenson was one of the more controversial champions in the sport, one who had a reputation, fair or not, of avoiding threatening competition. In his last two bouts, however, Stevenson fought not only the undefeated and well regarded Gvozdyk, but also the high level and popular fighter Badu Jack, who he battled to a draw in May of this year. Both fights were back to back grueling affairs waged by an aging fighter in his forties. Although he had Gvozdyk hurt in the 10th, the Ukrainian came back and unleashed a frightening combination in the 11th, sending Stevenson down in disturbing fashion in a corner, as the referee, Michael Griffin, stopped the fight.
Since being hospitalized, Steven has received much good will and support from the fight community. People such as Gvozdyk, Jack, Michael Buffer, Gennady Golovkin, Mauricio Sulaiman, Roberto Duran, Andrzej Fonfara, and Sergio Martinez have all publicly offered their prayers and best wishes. An exciting, hard hitting battler, Stevenson reigned as Kronk fighter, Kronk being the famed Detroit-based boxing stable led by the late, iconic trainer, Emanuel Steward. Stevenson, a father engaged to be married, has been fighting professionally since his debut in 2006.
Adonis Stevenson In Critical Condition Following Gvozdyk Knockout Loss
By Jake Donovan
The worst night of Adonis Stevenson’s championship reign has now extended far beyond the ring.
Not only did Oleksandr Gvozdyk rally to stop Stevenson in the 11th round of their light heavyweight scrap in Quebec City, but the fight ending sequence forced the exiting champ to be rushed to a nearby hospital where he remains under medical attention.
“Adonis is currently in a critical condition in intensive care at the hospital,” Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter revealed via social media.
Stevenson (29-2-1, 21KOs) entered the night as both the sport’s longest-reigning and oldest champion. The 41-year old Haitian-Canadian won the crown in a stirring 1st round knockout of Chad Dawson in June ‘13, with nine successful defenses spray painted over 5 1/2 years. That came to a crashing halt on Saturday, when Gvozdyk bartered Stevenson into submission with a vicious onslaught that left the exiting champion slumped in a corner.
Referee Michael Griffin immediately waved off the contest, a rare shining moment on an otherwise miserable night of officiating on both sides of the ropes. Griffin missed a clear 3rd round knockdown for Gvozdyk when Stevenson was felled by a right hand, and then again in the 10th – this time for the defending champ after a clear shot to the chin wobbled the visiting challenger, with only the ropes breaking his fall.
Gvozdyk’s fight-ending sequence proved necessary, as he was trailing on two of the three scorecards. He was down 96-94 and 98-92 at the time of the stoppage, but overcame horrific scoring to leave Canada as the new light heavyweight champion.
Unfortunately for Stevenson, he couldn’t even leave the arena on his own.
“Right now, we’re all just hoping for the best but not in a position to say anymore on his condition,” said Michel. “His family respectfully requests (the public’s) understanding in their respect for privacy.”
Showtime Boxing Results: Gvozdyk Stops Stevenson in Quebec
We officially have a new Light Heavyweight champion as Oleksandr Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 KOs) knocked out long reigning WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (29-2, 24 KOs) in the 11th round of their bout tonight.
It was an impressive display by Gvozdyk as he was able to box well from the outside while creating angles that made it difficult for Stevenson to land his signature left hand. Although Gvozdyk boxed very well early on, Stevenson still managed to find plenty of success.
In round two Stevenson began to find a home for his power punches. Although they did not necessarily hurt Gvozdyk they did grab his attention. Round three saw Stevenson hit the deck from a right hand from Gvozdyk but luckily for him the referee ruled it a slip.
For much of the fight it was a nip and tuck affair as both men had their moments and boxed well.
The later rounds were where things really heated up. In round 10 Stevenson landed a huge left hand upstairs that nearly knocked Gvozdyk to the canvas. The ropes were the only reason why Gvozdyk was not looking up at the lights. For much of the round Stevenson continued to headhunt. Give credit to Gvozdyk as he was able to weather the storm and make it out of the round.
The momentum seemed to be squarely behind Stevenson but in round 11 everything changed. Gvozdyk came out on fire landing a combination of shots that had Stevenson reeling. He tried his best to survive the onslaught but several more shots sent the champion to the canvas and the referee waved it off.
Adonis Stevenson reign as champion is officially over. Sure he was a belt holder for over five years but he never seemed to be interested in fighting top fighters or taking on the other champions.
With Gvozdyk now in the mix the division gets even more interesting. Tantalizing matchups against the divisions other champions in Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev are fascinating to think about. Bouts against contenders such as Badou Jack and Joe Smith Jr also bring plenty of intrigue. Bottom line is the Light Heavyweight division has a new champion.
Based off of the performance he put on tonight he could turn out to be a nightmare for just about anyone.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Stevenson vs. Gvozdyk
By: Hans Themistode
With all of the buzz that Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury has received and rightfully so I might add. It is easy to forget that current WBC Light Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) will be entering the ring this Saturday against the dangerous and undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs).
Stevenson has ruled over the Light Heavyweight division ever since he starched former champ Chad Dawson in the first round of their 2013 matchup.
To the chagrin of many the competition faced by Stevenson has been subpar to say the least. Now it’s not say that he has been ducking all challengers. However facing the likes of Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Andrzej Fonfara (twice) and Tommy Karpency does not exactly scream murderers row.
Ring activity has also been something that Stevenson has been against as well. This will be the first time in two years that Stevenson has fought at least twice in a calendar year.
Let’s be honest here. Stevenson had several opportunities to take on much tougher opposition but he seemed content with milking his title with easy pay day fights. That narrative however is now over.
In the first half of 2018 Stevenson took on former Super Middleweight title holder and current Light Heavyweight contender Badou Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs). Although Stevenson only came away with a draw in that fight he will be looking to build off of his solid performance by defeating his upcoming Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
For those of you unfamiliar with Gvozdyk and are just assuming that Stevenson is taking on yet another soft touch, think again.
His destruction of former title contender Yunieski Gonzalez (18-3, 14 KOs) was awfully impressive. He also seemingly has the pedigree as he was a 2012 bronze medal winner in the olympics. Gvozdyk also shares the same team used by both pound for pound stars Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk.
In short Stevenson will have quite the fight on his hands this Saturday night. The champion will have a slight one and a half reach advantage while also having his hometown fans behind him. He will also have the edge in both pro experience and having fought the better opposition.
Gvozdyk however will carry with him in to the ring a three inch height advantage and also plenty of momentum.
The Wilder vs Fury fight will be a tremendous one. Two undefeated big guys in their prime going head to head should lead to a special night.
However Stevenson vs Gvozdyk should receive their share of attention as well. It is a legitimate 50/50 matchup. Will Stevenson continue his reign that has spanned five plus years? Or will Gvozdyk finally bring that reign to an end and continue to usher in this new era of Ukrainian boxing?
This matchup may not have the buzz surrounding it that the Heavyweights do but nonetheless it’s sure to be one helluva fight.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Crawford and Stevenson Deliver Scintillating Knockouts
By: William Holmes
The CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, the hometown of welterweight champion Terence Crawford, was the host cite for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.
The main event of the night was between Terrance Crawford (33-0) and Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0) for the WBO Welterweight Title.
But before the main event, undefeated former Olympian Shakur Stevenson (8-0) met Viorel Simion (21-2) in the junior lightweight division.
Stevenson, a southpaw, used a steady jab early in the first and was able to find his range early with his check right hook. Stevenson landed a crisp two punch combination that sent Simion down to the mat in the first half of the round. Simion got back to his feet but on wobbly legs, and Stevenson landed another combination on Simion who fell face forward again.
Simion got back to his feet again and had to try and withstand an onslaught from Stevenson. Stevenson landed another hard combination that ended with a hard left hook that sent Simion spinning to the ground again.
Simion arose on wobbly legs, and the referee waived off the fight as the round came to an end.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 3:00 of the opening round.
Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. were involved in a scuffle at the previous night’s weigh ins, and appeared to have some legitimate bad blood leading into the fight
Benavidez entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos while Crawford had the support of the crowd behind him.
Both fighters came out in an orthodox stance with Benavidez finding some success early on walking Craword down behind his jab. Crawford switched to a southpaw stance before the end of the first.
Benavidez continued with his jab in the second round, but Crawford began to the target the body. Neither boxer took many risks in the second and could have been scored either way.
Crawford began to land his combination both to the body and head of Benavidez in the third round, but Benavidez’s straight right hand was finding it’s home in the fourth round and he briefly caught Crawford off balance as the round came to an end.
Crawford was landing from unique angles in the fifth but Benavidez was landing some stiff straight right hands in the sixth. Both of these rounds were close, though Benavidez looked like eh was beginning to tire.
Crawford had a strong seventh and eighth rounds as he was continuing to get hit less and less while landing at a progressively higher clip. Benavidez wasn’t able to come forward effectively and looked hampered by his right knee.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Crawford looked like he was close to knocking Benavidez down in the ninth round and had Benavidez’s back to the ropes in the tenth. Benavidez attempted to lure Crawford into an exchange in the tenth and eleventh rounds with his back to the ropes, but when they did exchange Crawford looked like landed the better and more accurate punches.
Benavidez needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout and pressed forward in an attempt to finish the bout, but he got hit with a vicious right uppercut that sent him crashing to the mat in a violent fashion.
Benavidez somehow got back to his feet, but was hit with several hard combinations before the referee jumped in to stop the fight and award Crawford the TKO victory.
Terrance Crawford wins by TKO at 2:42 of the 12th round.