Just 19 years old, Shakur is a sensational young prospect at 122 pounds. One of the United States’ top amateur boxers in recent years, he had a tremendous career at the elite international level that peaked with the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
He is managed as a professional by his hero, Andre Ward, along with James Prince and Josh Dubin, and trained by his grandfather, Wali Moses, and Kay Koroma.
Shakur is promoted by Top Rank Inc. and Antonio Leonard Productions.
He made his pro debut on April 22 in Carson, California, and won by sixth-round technical decision against Edgar Brito. ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael commented, “It was a solid debut for a possible future star.”
Shakur was back in the ring a month later – in his last fight on May 20, he won by first-round TKO against Carlos Suarez. The bout was on the undercard of the Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz main event at Madison Square Garden.
Boxingscene.com’s Keith Idec reported from ringside [excerpts]: Shakur Stevenson delivered the knockout he sought for his hometown fans Saturday night.
The 19-year-old Stevenson, an Olympic silver medalist from nearby Newark, New Jersey, stopped Argentina’s Carlos Suarez in the first round of a scheduled six-round featherweight fight at Madison Square Garden. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. halted the action at 2:35 of the first round, much to the liking of Stevenson’s large contingent of fans at The Garden.
The left-handed Stevenson spent most of the first round aggressively pursuing Suarez. He landed several hard, straight left hands that shook Suarez before Suarez fell to canvas, seemingly from more of a push than a punch. Mercante immediately stopped the fight as Suarez attempted to reach his feet.
Nevertheless, Stevenson appeared well on his way to stopping a veteran who had lost by knockout or technical knockout just once in his first 11 professional fights.
Stevenson wobbled Gaston with a straight left hand with about 50 seconds left in the first round. He also hurt Gaston with a right hook several seconds later.
The win was Stevenson’s second in four weeks as a pro. [End Idec item]
Shakur said, “I’ve been training in Alexandria, Virginia, since I was 17. I train at the Alexandria Boxing Club here, but Newark is my home town – that’s where I was born and raised. That’s my city.
“My style – I would say I’m a thinker and a performer. I’m a lot more of a boxer.
“I’ve been to a few training camps with pros. I was in Andre Ward’s training camp when he fought Sergey Kovalev. I was in Terence Crawford’s training camp, helping him spar, when he fought Viktor Postol – I did four four-minute rounds with Terence. If you listen to Terence after that fight, he shouts out, ‘Good luck to the Olympic team that was helping me in sparring – Shakur and everybody on the Olympic team.’ I also sparred with Gary Russell Jr.
“I met Andre Ward when I was younger. I think it was in May or June, 2015. He had a kid that was from our gym in Alexandria, Antoine Douglas, and I went down there. I was hanging out and watching every time he sparred and trained, but I was training there also. That was my first time meeting ‘Dre.”