Shakur Stevenson is two days away from the ultimate homecoming. The WBC/WBO/Ring Magazine junior lightweight king will defend his belts Friday evening against Robson Conceição (17-1, 8 KOs) at Prudential Center. Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is a Newark native who is fighting at home as a world champion for the first time.
Before Stevenson and Conceição took the mic, the Mayor’s Office of the City of Newark presented Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) with a proclamation declaring September 21, 2022, as Shakur Stevenson Day in the city. That was followed up by special plaque from Quitman Street School students, Stevenson attended Quitman Street for elementary school, and the building sits less than a mile from Prudential Center.
In the eight-round lightweight co-feature, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (5-0, 4 KOs) steps up in class against Omar Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs).
At Wednesday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say:
“Honestly, I’m just ready to fight. I’m not really focused on the pressure. I don’t care about all that. I’m really focused on putting in the work on Friday night. I’m just ready to fight at the end of the day. All I can think about is fighting and performing. That’s everything that’s on my mind.”
“He’s a good fighter. But I think he lost against Valdez. If you left it in the judges’ hands, then you lost. I fought Valdez, and I beat the s*** out of him. I don’t have any excuses. He’s talking about having COVID or something before his last fight. All I hear are excuses. I’m ready to fight. Tell him to not have any excuses on Friday night. I’m ready to beat him up.”
“I never leave it in the hands of the judges. I go in there and take everything that I want.”
“It was very touching for me to be welcomed by my community here. Yes, I understand that Shakur is a native, but I also feel right at home here.”
“I’m very motivated. I’ve trained all my life for this moment. The world was able to see that I was better than Oscar Valdez. I should have won. So, he’s not really defending two titles because one should have been mine. I’m a champion without a crown, and I’m ready for Friday night.”
“Shakur is someone that I really respect. He’s a great athlete. I can tell that he’s young, probably overly excited and speaks a little too much. This coming Friday, there will only be one champ, and that champ is me.”
“This is what it’s all about. Shakur and Robson had their first professional fights with Top Rank. Now, they’re fighting for a world title on the big stage with millions of people watching on television and throughout the world. You saw previously all these young men who are fighting on the undercard. They will soon take their place on these kinds of stages, fighting on main events. This is how boxing should be. This is why I’m still around doing it at the age of 90.”
“Keyshawn is going to be Keyshawn and he’s going to have fun in there. The talent that Shakur and I have is extraordinary. We both get to show our talent back to back. Just like I said last time in Las Vegas when I fought alongside him, the fans are going to be the winners at the end of the night. And that’s definitely what happened. We’re definitely looking forward to just giving the fans what they came out and paid for.”
“Is he my toughest opponent yet? I don’t know. I’m going to wait and see. I’m hoping that it’s a great fight for me so that I can keep learning and developing. I’m more than prepared for this fight both mentally and physically.”
“I’m happy to be in the co-feature of an event of his caliber. I’m excited and happy to be able to come here and do my job. What do we bring that may be different? Well, obviously experience, hard work and strength. We will also bring big surprises for the entire night.”
“You all know why I have ‘The Heroe’ as my nickname. I worked 13 years in emergency rescue, doing different kinds of rescues internationally. Not only in 2008, but in 2010, 2014 and the last one in 2016. They have been very important rescues in which lives are at risk, where we know that we have to go in there and work and where we don’t know if we’ll be returning to see our families.”
“So, for me, this is about working, enjoyment and happiness. We’ve come to score the upset and the name of ‘The Heroe’ will ring once more.”
“Being on Top Rank boxing is the best move that I’ve ever made. I’m happy to be a part of this team. The sky is the limit, and I’m ready to continue proving myself. I just want to step into the ring and showcase my talent so that everybody can see what I’m capable of doing. Top Rank is the place to be for you to be able to showcase that.”
“I just want to thank God for the opportunity to be here. This is a testament to all the hard work we’ve done, and this Friday we’re going to show all the hard work. This means the world to me.”