SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 12, 2019 – New Jersey native Shakur Stevenson leads a busy boxing lineup featuring top prospects and rising stars around the world this weekend.
Newark native Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs) headlines his first card at home at the Prudential Center against Alberto Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs) of Mexico now living in El Cajon, California in a 12-round featherweight fight. In the co-feature, Joshua Greer of Chicago (20-1-1, 12 KOs) faces Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1, 11 KOs). The fights air on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m.
The entire undercard airs on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT featuring the American debut of super middleweight Vijender Singh of India (10-0, 7 KOs).
Shakur Stevenson enjoying his homecoming week
In the lead-up this week to the fight, the 21-year-old Olympic silver medalist Stevenson has enjoyed a packed week of activities to welcome him home to Newark. Stevenson and Joshua Greer paid a visit to the Boylan Street Recreation Center to visit more than 100 kids from the gym. The pair worked on boxing skills with the young athletes and told their stories to help inspire the youngsters’ own dreams. In the background, a sign proudly proclaimed Stevenson’s reign as the 2015 New Jersey State Golden Gloves champion.
“It means everything to me being that this was a dream of mine to come here to the Prudential Center and fight in front of the hometown, my home crowd, family, friends. I’m happy to be here, and it means everything to me,” said Stevenson.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has rolled out the red carpet for Steveson.”We are extremely proud of Shakur Stevenson here in the city of Newark. I got an opportunity to see him with the young people yesterday. That was an incredible, incredible scene.
“The young people love him in this city. The city loves him. The kind of discipline, commitment to his craft – all of those things are amazing. Not just for him growing up from the city of Newark, but all of these young people get an opportunity to see what it takes to be a professional, what it takes to be a champion, to stand out and do the things that he’s doing,” said Baraka.
Stevenson expressed irritation when he was passed up for the main event in April in favor of stablemate Teofimo Lopez. Stevenson scored solid victory against Christopher Diaz of Puerto Rico. Now he needs to buckle down and focus on his fight with Guevara.
Stevenson insists he’s not overlooking Guevara. “I feel like I’m going to go in there, box my fight and have fun. I’m going to let everything take care of itself.”
“I know Shakur is a tough fighter, but I want to prove that I can do more in boxing. All of my experience will show on Saturday night,” said Guevara. “I have a lot of experience as an amateur and a pro. My experience will be important in this fight.”
Prediction: Happy homecoming for Shakur Stevenson
Guevara has faced top opponents at featherweight including Leo Santa Cruz, Shinsuke Yamanaka, and Emmanuel Rodriguez. He’s coming off a tough loss to Hugo Ruiz in January as a last minute opponent. He isn’t especially powerful and should test but not threaten Stevenson.
Stevenson’s tactical style should help prevent him from being too reckless against offense minded Guevara, and his hometown hero status in Newark will light up the crowd. Stevenson isn’t always as entertaining as the brash Teofimo Lopez. Stevenson’s co-manager Andre Ward should counsel his young ward to stick with what he does best and let the record reflect the results.
Don’t sleep on Joshua ‘ Night Night’ Greer
In the co-main event, Joshua Greer Jr. hopes to build upon his growing reputation as an entertaining KO artist. Greer caught the attention of fans in 2017 on a ShoBox card. After dropping opponent James Gordon Smith in the sixth round with a vicious right to the chin, Greer Jr. retrieved a pillow from his corner reading “Night, night” across it. The pillow was on display this week at the final pre-fight news conference.
Bantamweight Greer Jr. is riding a seven fight stoppage streak going into his fight agaainst Nikolai Potapov of Russia, now living in Brooklyn, NY. Potapov and Greer have identical records, though Potapov has faced better quality opposition. The Russian fan base in Brooklyn should make a good showing in Newark and make for a fun and exciting atmosphere. It’s a good test for the pair and should deliver for the fans.
Heavyweight action across the pond: Joyce vs Jennings, Dubois vs Gorman
American fans can start their boxing Saturday early with a card from the O2 Arena in London featuring British heavyweight talent in action. The card airs on the ESPN+ live stream at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT.
In the main event, Joe Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) takes on Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia (24-3, 14 KOs). Jennings is coming off a tough 12th round TKO loss to Oscar Rivas, an upset no one saw coming after nearly 12 solid rounds by Jennings. “Juggernaut” Joyce is aptly named with a perfect 100 percent KO record so far.
Jennings will provide a hard target for the sensational young Brit, who recently returned to train in the UK with Adam Booth after spending a year at The Summit in Big Bear, California with Abel Sanchez. Joyce weighed in 30 pounds heavier than Bryant, 256 pounds to 226 pounds. It’s a must-win for Jennings. Joyce can improve his fortunes in the hot heavyweight division with a signature win.
Someone’s O has got to go
Daniel Dubois (11-0, 10 KOs) and Nathan Gorman (16-0, 11 KOs) of Great Britain risk their perfect records for a vacant British heavyweight title. This is precisely the type of fight few rising stars risk at this point of their young careers. It’s a true test for both, one fans don’t get to see often enough when fighters are held back by well-meaning managers and promoters.
Both Dubois and Gorman have spent their pro careers in the UK. Dubois expected to fight in the 2020 Olympics, but instead the 21-year-old decided to turn pro and it’s been a smart decision. He’s been compared favorably to fellow Brit Anthony Joshua. Dubois says “When you go in there, you’ve just gotta take it and rip it off the other guy and own the moment … I know I’ve got what it takes to hang with anyone.”
Gorman, trained by British boxing great Ricky Hatton, is mobile and active; his role model is Tyson Fury. Fury is among those picking Gorman to win, telling the BBC “”It reminds me of my fight against Dereck Chisora for the British title back in 2011 when were both 14-0. Chisora was higher ranked and more touted than me back then – the same as Dubois over Nathan. Even Frank Warren favored Chisora to beat me and everybody else did. It’s also a chubby guy v ripped guy. I fancy Nathan to beat him.”
Gorman needs to avoid getting caught by the hard hitting Dubois, while Dubois needs to find the target and avoid being outboxed by Gorman. If the pair deliver an entertaining fight, expect it to be the first in an all-UK series.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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