Sean Hemphill has an untarnished record, a lot of confidence and a renowned trainer in his corner.
That won’t be enough, according to David Stevens, for him to remain undefeated Friday night. Stevens believes his power will be the difference during their “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event, an eight-round super middleweight match Showtime will televise from Wind Creek Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“I think he’s all right,” Stevens told BoxingScene.com. “I’m expecting him to come put a good fight up. You know, he’s undefeated. I just don’t think he has what it takes to beat me or to keep me off him. I know I’m the bigger puncher, for sure. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but I do plan on going through him.”
New Orleans’ Hemphill (14-0, 8 KOs), who is trained by former two-division champion James “Buddy” McGirt, was a decorated amateur who will encounter his first unbeaten opponent since the 27-year-old prospect turned pro almost four years ago. The 22-year-old Stevens (11-0, 8 KOs), of Reading, Pennsylvania, will face an undefeated fighter for the first time since he stopped an opponent who was 0-0-1 in his pro debut four years ago.
“I think it definitely is a step up for both of us, but I just think I’m better,” said Stevens, who also works with a respected trainer, Ronnie Shields. “You know what I mean? It’s a step up for both of us, no doubt, but I think it’s more of a step up for him than it is for me. He is the best opponent on paper I’ve faced, you know, the only undefeated guy.
“But I’m looking at this no different than I’m looking at any of my previous fights. I’m working hard, sticking to the game plan and I’m just gonna go in there and execute. I’m just ready to introduce myself to the big screen and all the other potential future opponents for me.”
Stevens feels prepared for this step up in competition in part due to his sparring sessions with WBA world super middleweight champion David Morrell Jr. (8-0, 7 KOs) at Shields’ gym in Houston. Shields also trains Morrell and WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs).
Hemphill and Stephens were supposed to box October 21 at Bally’s Grand Ballroom in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hemphill withdrew from that bout due to an injury, which caused a three-month delay.
Thankful that their fight was rescheduled, Stevens is determined to advance his career in his first nationally televised bout.
“I think it could catapult me,” Stevens said. “I can only imagine what could come after this, you know, more TV [fights], signing with a promoter, definitely nothing but good. It’s an introduction to my name and my image on the big screen, and it can work wonders for me. I can’t let him stop that, and that’s what he’s coming to do – take food off my plate, take food off my family’s plate.”
Hemphill-Stevens will headline a three-bout broadcast scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.
In the eight-round co-feature, Atif Oberlton (7-0, 6 KOs), a light heavyweight from Philadelphia, will encounter Russia’s Artem Brusov (12-0, 11 KOs). The eight-round opener of Showtime’s telecast will feature junior lightweights Julian Gonzalez (8-0-1, 8 KOs), of Reading, Pennsylvania, and southpaw Rosalindo Morales (9-0, 2 KOs), of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.