Newark Boxer Heading to Rio

Friday, 22 July 2016 16:39 Chinwe Onuoha

LocalTalkNews.com 

 

 

Shakur Stevenson will be one of the youngest boxers to compete in the 2016 U.S. Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With a perfect 23-0 international record, the 19-year-old, bantamweight is noted as a future star in boxing.

The slick southpaw is the first American male to earn the Junior and Youth World Championships. He also won a gold medal during the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and was a Junior Open and Junior Olympic Champion in 2013. Often referred to as the next Floyd Mayweather, the Newark, N.J. native is looking to follow in the footsteps of Andre Ward, the last American male to win Olympic gold in boxing. Since Ward's glorious win in 2004, Americans are hoping that Stevenson will end the medal drought.

"Shakur Stevenson is not only an outstanding boxer but also a fantastic young man and a huge asset to our program," USA Boxing executive director Anthony Bartkowski told The Star-Ledger in 2013. "He has a strong work ethic and drive to succeed, which he brings to every training camp and competition he participates in, and that determination has helped him reach the top of the medal podium in every tournament he's boxed in this year."

Stevenson, who was named after the late rapper Tupac Shakur, was born on June 28, 1997. He's the eldest of nine children and was raised by his mother, Malikah Stevenson, in Newark - a city that's plagued with a long-standing history of violence, drugs and heavy street theft.

"It was a rough neighborhood," Stevenson told NBC about his upbringings. "But, I guess it made me who I am."

From the tender age of five, Stevenson spent the majority of his childhood training at Newark's First Class Boxing and later at Elite Heat Boxing, which his grandfather, Willie "Wali" Moses, founded to keep Newark youth out of the streets.

"As he prepared himself and practiced, he just kept getting better and better and better, and because he really wanted to be able to help his mom, he figured that boxing would be the way..." Moses told NBC. "I guess boxing chose him as much as he chose boxing."

"I do feel that responsibility still," Stevenson said to NBC. "I feel like I'm the person that's got to provide for my family and my mother."

Standing at 5'8" and weighing 123 pounds, Stevenson is determined to blow his competition out of the ring until he stands at the top of the podium, showing off his signature, dimpled smile.

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