- Shakur Stevenson is all set to face Brazilian Olympic gold medallist Robson Conceição to defend his RING junior lightweight title.
- Stevenson (18-0, 9 knockouts) has WBC and WBO titles under his belt.
- The two will compete against each other on Friday night.
Shakur Stevenson denies feeling the slightest pressure as he prepares to make his first home-court title defence since winning the championship.
This Friday at the Prudential Center, the 25-year-old will face Robson Conceiço to defend his RING junior lightweight title. This will be his first time headlining in the NHL’s New Jersey Devils’ arena after knocking out Alberto Guevara in the third round in 2019. More significant local honours come with returning to his hometown as a victor, such as Shakur Stevenson Day being declared in Newark and receiving a plaque from his elementary school, Quitman Street School. Still, he claims none of that has distracted him from his goal.
“I’m really focused on putting in the work come Friday night,” said Stevenson, adding that at the end of the day, he is ready to fight the battle and give his best shot. The 130-pound champion Stevenson (18-0, 9 knockouts), with WBC and WBO titles under his belt, denied being under pressure ahead of the fight.
Stevenson claims to have just completed his best professional training camp, during which he sparred in Houston, Texas, with unbeaten heavyweight prospect and Top Rank stablemate Jared Anderson.
Conceição (17-1, 8 KOs) must be ready for this opportunity. Following his contentious decision loss to Oscar Valdez a year ago, the 33-year-old from Salvador, Brazil, will be given a second opportunity at a world championship. After that performance, he bounced back brilliantly to defeat the previously unbeaten Xavier Martinez to secure this spot.
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“I’m very motivated; I’ve trained all my life for this moment. The world could see that I was better than Oscar Valdez.” He also said that ideally, he should have won, so Stevenson is not defending two titles. He added, “I am just a champion without a crown.”
Conceição’s allegations didn’t faze Stevenson, who asserts that he was significantly more decisive in his victory over Valdez by unanimous decision to unify two of the 130-pound crowns. Referring to Conceição’s match against Valdez, Shakur said that he (Conceição) lost, no matter what the reason might be. Conceição was reportedly infected with Covid before the last fight.
Despite Stevenson earning the silver medal in the bantamweight division in the 2016 Olympics, Conceição insisted on having Stevenson back up his words on fight night.
Conceição holds Stevenson in high regard. He says that Shakur is a great athlete, but he sometimes gets excited and speaks more than required. This coming Friday, there will only be one champ, and that champ is me,” he added.