Shakur Stevenson couldn’t be more ready for his next ring appearance.
It’s something often claimed by just about any given boxer heading into a fight, but not at all hyperbole in this situation. The unbeaten featherweight titlist has been blessed with the honor of headlining the first televised boxing event in the United States in nearly three months, as he faces Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9KOs) in a non-title fight at junior lightweight. Their bout takes place June 9 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, airing live on ESPN.
Stevenson (13-0, 7KOs) was due to appear in the main event of a March 14 ESPN show in New York City, only for the event to get canceled two days prior due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Wasted was an eight-week training camp, although the 22-year old Newark, New Jersey native—who claimed a Silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics—didn’t allow himself to fall out of shape.
“I’m in the gym every day,” Stevenson insisted during a recent media conference call to discuss the event. “Ain’t no way I’m gonna have rust just from being off eight months when I’ve been sparring.
“I just did a full training camp for March 14th and then got right back in the gym. I took like a month off then got right back in the gym. I’m a gym rat, I don’t think it’s gonna affect me.”
There remains the point of fighting for the first time since last October, when he claimed his featherweight title in a virtuoso performance versus Joet Gonzalez—though not at all a concern.
“I don’t think the time off is gonna do anything,” notes Stevenson. “I’m a gym rat, I’m always in the gym. Me being a gym rat and always in the gym, I probably gotta get off a little rust in the first two rounds.
“Other than that, I’m ready to go.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox