Stevenson on fight with Marriaga: ‘I wanted a strong opponent for my first title defense’

WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson(13-0, 7 KOs) will make his first title defense against Miguel Marriaga(29-3, 25 KOs) on March 14 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old Stevenson will not have an easy night with the always tough Marriaga, who is currently on a four-fight win streak, which all ended in knockouts. However, according to Stevenson, fighting Marriaga is something he wanted to do for a long time.

“We’ve been trying to make this fight with Miguel Marriaga for a long time now,” Stevenson said. “I wanted a strong opponent for my first title defense. He’s been in the ring with multiple world champions, and I am ready to prove that I am the best featherweight in the world.

“This is my fourth fight at Madison Square Garden, but my first as a world champion, and it will be my best performance yet. I know all of my East Coast fans will come out and support on March 14.”

In terms of experience, that is definitely on the side of the 33-year-old Marriaga, who has battled but lost to top opposition such as Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez, and Nicholas Walters.

And like Stevenson, Marriaga is looking forward to this matchup.

“I always wanted this fight, and the time is right now that he’s a world champion,” Marriaga said. “He speaks often about how people are ducking him, but here I am. Colombia will have a new world champion March 14.”

Stevenson, who captured his first world title back in October when he defeated Joet Gonzalez, could have gone the easy route in his first defense, but it’s clear, he wants tough opposition. We all know that Stevenson has all the talent in the world and has the potential to be a pound-for-pound best in the sport.

After 13 fights we know some things about Stevenson, but after March 14, we will find out even more.

The Stevenson-Marriaga co-feature will see former junior featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno fight the unbeaten Sakaria Lukas in a 10-round featherweight showdown. Stevenson-Marriaga and Magdaleno-Lukas will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

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