- Covered the Broncos for two seasons with the Denver Post
- Graduate of the University of Houston
- A native of Jackson, Miss.
Shakur Stevenson could get closer to a world title opportunity at junior lightweight if he defeats Jeremiah Nakathila for the WBO interim belt on Saturday (ESPN and ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET, with undercard at 6:30 on ESPN+).
Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), 23, of Newark, New Jersey, won the vacant WBO featherweight belt in 2019 before moving up in weight looking for better challenges. A win against Nakathila could earn Stevenson a shot at titleholders Jamel Herring and/or Oscar Valdez in his next fight, but Stevenson doesn’t want to look past the task at hand.
“I just feel like, when I’m at my best, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is,” Stevenson said at a news conference on Thursday. “It’s been like that my whole career, since I’ve been an amateur. You don’t know who you’re going to fight in the amateurs. You come up and you just gotta fight people.
“At the end of the day, I listen [to the hype], but you can’t get too hot. You still gotta complete the task. I try to stay in between. I don’t try to listen to everything I hear and go off that. I try to make sure I do what I’m supposed to do.”
Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs), 31, of Namibia, has won 10 consecutive fights — all by stoppage — since suffering the only loss of his career in 2016. This is Nakathila’s first fight in the U.S. and only his third outside of his country, but he warned everybody to not look past him.
“Whoever underestimates me will be surprised come Saturday night,” Nakathila said. “All I know is I can knock anybody out in this 130-pound division. I can destroy anybody at 130 pounds. Come Saturday night, Shakur will see how I’m going to destroy him.”
In the co-main event, Jose Pedraza faces Julian Rodriguez in a junior welterweight battle. Pedraza (28-3, 13 KOs), 32, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a former junior lightweight and lightweight champion. His only losses came against Gervonta Davis, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Zepeda. Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), 26, of Hoboken, New Jersey, is taking a big step up in competition against Pedraza.
Also on the card, blue-chip welterweight prospect Xander Zayas (8-0, 6 KOs), 18 of San Juan, Puerto Rico, faces Ireland’s Larry Fryers (11-3, 4 KOs), 30, in a six-round battle.
Stay here for live undercard results and analysis.
Fight in progress: Troy Isley vs. LaQuan Evans, four rounds, middleweights
Goldston dominates Anthony in unanimous decision win
Make it two for two for 18-year-old Top Rank welterweight prospects scoring unanimous decisions wins to kick off the undercard. Kasir Goldston, of Albany, New York, used his 72-inch reach to cruise to a victory over Maurice Anthony.
Goldston’s most consistent punch was a staggering right jab which kept pushing the aggressive Anthony, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, back. When it was over, all three judges scored the bout 40-36 for the southpaw Goldston.
Tucker stays unbeaten with decision win over Barboza
Top Rank welterweight prospect Jahi Tucker made easy work of Ysrael Barboza earning an unanimous decision victory to open up Saturday night’s undercard.
The 18-year-old Tucker (4-0, 2 KOs), who hails from Deer Park, New York flashed a productive jab and movement while using his length to land at will. Barboza (3-2-1, 3 KOs) had some early success getting inside of the longer Tucker, but he couldn’t compete with his size or speed. The 30-year-old out of Corpus Christi, Texas survived all four rounds despite a moderate cut near the right eye.
All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Tucker, who has scored all four of his pro wins over the last nine months.
Still to come:
Title fight: Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremiah Nakathila, 12 rounds, for the vacant WBO interim junior lightweight title
Jose Pedraza vs. Julian Rodriguez, 10 rounds, junior welterweights
Tyler McCreary vs. Manuel Rey Rojas, eight rounds, junior lightweights
John Bauza vs. Christon Edwards, eight rounds, junior welterweights
Xander Zayas vs. Larry Fryers, six rounds, welterweights
Bryan Lua vs. Frevian Gonzalez, six rounds, junior lightweights
Source: Read Full Article