LAS VEGAS — Shakur Stevenson nonchalantly sat on the stage rocking a grey Nike hoodie, black basketball shorts and a New York Yankees hat cocked to 1 facet at his prefight information convention, when his opponent on Saturday — Jeremiah Nakathila — mentioned one thing that made Stevenson shortly flip his head in shock.
Nakathila, an enormous underdog for Saturday’s fundamental occasion (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET), mentioned that he plans to shock everybody by destroying Stevenson and believes he can knock out anybody within the 130-pound division.
Stevenson requested him to repeat his assertion, after which he interjected.
“I will beat the s— out of him.”
Some laughs filtered in from the gang within the Virgin Accommodations auditorium Friday. Nakathila, who has a job as a police officer in his dwelling of Namibia, took the zinger in stride. However then Stevenson despatched one other when he heard of his opponent’s occupation outdoors of boxing.
“I am rattling positive not shedding to a cop. I will by no means lose to 5-0,” Stevenson mentioned, producing extra laughs from the gang.
Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) mentioned he’ll dominate an overmatched Nakathila, however he refuses to look previous him. He has seen Anthony Joshua get upset by Andy Ruiz and Josh Warrington get upset by Mauricio Lara, and he does not need to be the following sufferer of that sort of upset when he is as shut as he’s to the massive fights he actually needs.
He views Saturday’s struggle and every part main as much as it as a showcase of what he might be, each out and in of the ring. He says he’ll trash-talk Nakathila as a result of it may possibly assist construct his model and profile. He is aware of he must construct his public persona to grow to be the celebrity he desires to be, so none of it’s private.
In relation to the precise boxing facet of it, Stevenson is locked in. He says he typically seems to be on the panorama of future pound-for-pound greatest fighters and likes his probabilities to return out on prime.
“I will be the celebrity of all of the younger fighters,” Stevenson mentioned. “Everyone acts like I am not there and different individuals are forward of me. However they will discover out as time goes on.
“I have been within the ring with Tank to assist him prepare for his struggle with [Jose] Pedraza. I have been in there with Teofimo [Lopez] earlier than the Olympics. I have been in there with Devin [Haney], sparring on YouTube. I’ve beat Ryan [Garcia] within the amateurs. I have been in there with all of them, and again then I wasn’t nearly as good as I’m now. I’ve gotten manner higher. I feel a variety of them struggle the identical.”
Stevenson mentioned he plans for Saturday evening to be the most effective efficiency of his profession due to how onerous he skilled. He talked about he did eight or 9 sparring rounds towards WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford throughout this coaching camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It was the toughest sparring session I’ve ever had. However it was enjoyable,” Stevenson mentioned. “Bud is likely one of the best fighters I’ve ever seen. He helps me get to that subsequent stage.”
Stevenson has been very vocal that he desires Oscar Valdez subsequent, however with information that Prime Rank has booked Valdez-Robson Conceicao, he appears resigned to face Jamel Herring this winter in New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard.
It is a bout he says he’ll win simply, after which he’ll have the ability to flip his focus to Valdez if that is finally what Prime Rank places collectively. With a world title round his waist, Stevenson may also have a greater case to make.
Every step will get Stevenson nearer to the extent of stardom he finally hopes to succeed in. Stevenson has all of it mapped out in the long run, and he plans to struggle in 5 totally different weight lessons by the point all is claimed and completed in his professional profession.
“I will in all probability be at 130 [pounds] for an additional yr or two then go to 135. I do know I will find yourself at 147 even when I do not get as large as a real 147-pounder like Pernell Whittaker.
“That is what my profession goes to go towards — however I will be a much bigger celebrity.”
Story of the tape
By the numbers
4: U.S. fighters, together with Stevenson, who’ve gained each an Olympic medal and a world title up to now 20 years. The others are Jermain Taylor, Andre Ward and Deontay Wilder.
4.9: Punches landed per spherical by Stevenson’s opponents, in line with CompuBox information — considerably decrease than the junior light-weight common of 16.5 punches per spherical.
0.9: Stevenson’s previous six opponents have landed solely 0.9 jabs per spherical (6.3% of whole jabs tried), and his 15 professional opponents total have landed solely 0.7 jabs per spherical (5.9% of whole jabs tried). General, Stevenson has out-landed his 15 professional opponents in punches 1,249-351.
Timothy Bradley Jr.’s breakdown and prediction
Stevenson is an inverted southpaw. He is naturally right-handed, however he simply feels extra snug combating in a southpaw stance. There was actually no motive why he began to struggle in that southpaw stance as a result of, sometimes, a variety of trainers will prepare their fighter to maintain their energy hand behind him. However he truly has his extra highly effective arm in entrance of him with that stance. …
To learn the complete breakdown, in addition to Bradley’s prediction for Stevenson-Nakathila, click on right here.
At 18 years previous, Xander Zayas’ inventory continues to rise
Eighteen-year-old Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) is one essentially the most attractive prospects on the undercards. The welterweight from Puerto Rico has already proven a formidable talent set at such a younger age that it makes it simple to see him changing into a contender within the years to return. Zayas mentioned he is been coaching and sparring with former welterweight champion Shawn Porter forward of Saturday’s bout, in addition to a number of junior middleweight and middleweight boxers. He is combating Larry Fryers (11-3, 4 KOs) Sunday on the ESPN+ portion of the cardboard, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET.
“It is surreal, as a result of a few years in the past I used to be watching Shakur Stevenson on TV; now being right here it exhibits the onerous work is paying off,” Zayas mentioned. “Being Puerto Rican, representing Puerto Rico, having the individuals see me and present me love at this younger stage of my profession means a variety of to me. I am unable to wait to carry glory to the island.”
Title struggle: Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) vs. Jeremiah Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs), 12 rounds, for the vacant WBO interim junior light-weight title
Jose Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs) vs. Julian Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), 10 rounds, junior welterweights
Tyler McCreary (16-1-1, 7 KOs) vs. Manuel Rey Rojas (20-5, 6 KOs), 8 rounds, junior lightweights
John Bauza (14-0, 5 KOs) vs. Christon Edwards (12-2, 6 KOs), 8 rounds, junior welterweights
Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs) vs. Larry Fryers (11-3, 4 KOs), 6 rounds, welterweights
Bryan Lua (7-0, 3 KOs) vs. Frevian Gonzalez (4-0, 1 KO), 6 rounds, junior lightweights
Troy Isley (1-0, 0 KOs) vs. LaQuan Evans (4-1, 2 KOs), 4 rounds, middleweights
Kasir Goldston (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Maurice Anthony (3-1, 3 KOs), 4 rounds, welterweights
Jahi Tucker (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Ysrael Barboza (3-1-1, 3 KOs), 4 rounds, welterweights