Claressa Shields wins ESPY for “Best Boxer”

Boxing superstar Claressa “G.W.O.A.T.” Shields continued to make history this week, as the world’s top pound-for-pound women’s boxer was awarded the 2023 ESPY Award for “Best Boxer” prior to Wednesday’s award ceremony. Shields became the first ever female boxer to win the award that has been given out since 1993.

“First I want to thank God. I am truly humbled to become the first woman ever to win the ‘Best Boxer’ of the year award for the ESPYS,” said Shields. “This award may have my name on it but it is for every female boxer who has stepped into the ring and hopefully will inspire generations of young women in the future to pursue their dreams with no boundaries. I want to thank ESPN and all my fans who voted for me all over the world! To win this award against the likes of Shakur Stevenson, Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney is an incredible honor. What a feeling to be the GWOAT amongst men!”

Shields beat out men’s boxing stars Davis, Haney and Stevenson to win the fan voting for the award. The Flint, Michigan-native was already one of just three women since 2008 to be recognized in the category, having earned a nomination for the 2021 ESPYS, and is the only woman to receive multiple nominations in that time span.

Shields’ recent run has included her two victories in 2022, capped by an action-packed victory last October over Savannah Marshall that saw Shields become the undisputed middleweight world champion for the second time. Already boxing’s only champion to become undisputed in two divisions, Shields defended her four belts successfully this June in front of a huge crowd at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit as she shut out Maricela Cornejo on her way to a unanimous decision.

“This is an incredible honor for a generational great, the ‘G.W.O.A.T.’ Claressa Shields,” said Dmitriy Salita, Shields’ promoter and President of Salita Promotions. “It is yet another first for women’s boxing and most importantly more fuel for women’s empowerment all over the world. Claressa Shields is building the bridge to equality with the bricks of her unmatched, unparalleled accomplishments inside and outside of the ring.”

Mark Taffet, Shields’s manager and President of Mark Taffet Media, added: “Claressa continues to shatter every glass ceiling and accomplish what, prior to her, was considered unachievable. The only two-time US Olympic boxing gold medal winner, fastest man or woman to win world championships in three weight divisions, only man or woman to hold undisputed world titles in two weight divisions simultaneously, and only woman in the past twenty five years to win Sportswoman Of The Year twice is now the first woman to win the Best Boxer ESPY award!”

Haney defeats Lomachenko by unanimous decision

To some, the decision was controversial; for others, it was fine, but in the end, Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) retained his undisputed lightweight crown with a controversial unanimous decision victory against Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Judge Dave Moretti scored the fight 116-112; Tim Cheathem and David Sutherland both had it 115-113.

This fight had many close rounds. You could have scored this fight in so many different ways. The two definitive rounds were Rounds 10 and 11, and those rounds clearly were Lomachenko rounds. However, Moretti gave Round 10 to Haney. 

Going into Round 12, Lomachenko trailed on all three scorecards. By three points on Moretti’s card and one point on the other two cards, so if Lomachenko won the 12th round, he would have walked away with a majority draw. Haney appeared to have won the 12th round, but it was close again, like most of the rounds.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Devin Haney (L) and Vasiliy Lomachenko (R) exchange punches during their Undisputed lightweight championship fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After 12 rounds, Lomachenko(124/564), who fought hard from start to finish, threw more punches and outlanded Haney110/405). Throughout the fight, Lomachenko had success in landing combination punches, and Haney had success with his jab and going to the body. 

Haney said the following after the win:

“Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer. It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans.

“He’s a crafty fighter. He turns it up in the championship rounds. I just have to take my hat off to him. He’s a great fighter.

“This is all experience. Me and my team are going to go back to the house, watch the fight and reflect on it. I’ve been at 135 for a long, long time. This is my 30th fight. I’ve been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We’re going to go back to the lab and figure out what’s next.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Vasiliy Lomachenko (L) and Devin Haney (R) exchange punches during their Undisputed lightweight championship fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Lomachenko, who, like many of the fans in the building, disagreed with the decision, says this fight showed that the 35-year-old is still a factor in boxing.

 “I don’t want to talk about [the decision],” Lomachenko said. “All the people saw what happened today.

“Before, I thought he would be better. He’s a tough fighter. He’s a good fighter. But he’s not a pound-for-pound fighter.

 “I think I showed that I can still be in boxing. I’m in good shape now. And see you next time.”

This fight was many things, but it was not a robbery. It could have gone either way. If you say Loma won, I would not argue, and vice-versa. Lomachenko proved that he still has a lot left in the tank, and the 24-year-old Haney showed he has a championship heart. 

We’ll see if Haney stays at 135; he said after the fight that it’s tough to make the weight, but the most significant fights for him are in that division against Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson called Haney out after the fight, and it should be interesting to see how Haney proceeds.

No matter what happens next, we got a great night of boxing in Las Vegas.

Stevenson: ‘Just tell all those other lightweights to get ready’

Undefeated former two-weight world champion Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs looked bigger, stronger, and dominated in his debut at 135 and secured his shot at the WBC lightweight title with a commanding sixth-round TKO against Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino (16-1, 12 KOs) Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd at Newark’s Prudential Center.

Stevenson put on a show in front of 10,408 fans(Highest grossing boxing event in Prudential Center history). He stood toe-to-toe with Yoshino and ultimately broke him down.

After feeling each other out in the first round, Stevenson went to work in the second round as he dropped Yoshino, who questioned Stevenson’s power before the fight, with a short left hand; the Newark native would drop Yoshino again in the fourth with a beautiful three-punch combo.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 08: Shakur Stevenson (L) knocks-down Shuichiro Yoshino (R) during their lightweight fight at Prudential Center on April 08, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“He felt my power,” Stevenson said. “I sat down on a couple punches and dropped him. Honestly, I wanted the ref to let it go on a little bit longer. I had just caught my second wind. I was going to put him out.

The 25-year-old was punishing Yoshino, and fortunately, referee Allen Huggins stopped the action at 1:35 of the sixth.

Stevenson is a problem for anybody at 135, including undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, who has a big fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20 in Las Vegas. 

“Just tell all those other lightweights to get ready,” Stevenson said. “I’m waiting for them. I can’t wait for them to finish the fights they’ve got going on, and then it’s my turn.

“Tell him [Devin Haney] to come on. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I swear to God. I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. Me and Devin been in the ring with each other for years. I always got the best of Devin. Tell him, ‘Come on.’”

Because of how gifted and difficult he is to fight, Stevenson will have a hard time getting fights. Many contenders at 135 had an opportunity to fight Stevenson, and they all passed. Expect that to continue after this performance from Stevenson.

Stevenson on Yoshino: ‘I’m going to drown him’

On Saturday night, undefeated former two-weight world champion Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) will take on Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator this Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  

In the co-feature, heavyweight Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs) faces fellow unbeaten George Arias (18-0, 7 KOs) in a 10-rounder. U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (7-0, 5 KOs) meets his stiffest challenge yet in the 10-round lightweight televised opener against former title challenger Anthony Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KOs).

“It feels great to be back home,” Stevenson said at Thursday’s press conference. “It feels great to be back in front of my fans and family. I’m enjoying myself, and I just can’t wait for Saturday. I’m really excited for Saturday. But is he ready for Saturday? That’s the real question. He walks around here with a smile, and I can’t wait to wipe that smile off his face.”

Stevenson, 25, is fighting at 135 pounds for the first time in his pro career and hopes to make his mark in that division. Some have questioned Stevenson’s power, including Yoshino, but according to the Newark native, Yoshino will taste his power on Saturday night.

“This dude been running around here saying that I don’t have any power,” Stevenson said. “He’s been saying that he’s going to push me mentally. Let’s see if he’s ready to go to deep waters with me. I’m going to drown him…

“You’re going to see everything in the arsenal. I’m going to go out there and box him. I’m going to beat him up. He’s going to leave that ring knowing that I’m the best fighter he’s ever been in the ring with.”

Yoshino, 31, is fighting outside of Japan for the first time in his career, and his best win was over Masayoshi Nakatani, who he KO’d in his last fight. Yoshino believes he’ll have a solid plan to defeat Stevenson.

“I’m excited to fight for the WBC title,” he said through a translator. “This opportunity is really going to change my place in boxing…

“My trainer and I have been studying Shakur. We have a game plan to implement on Saturday.”

Yoshino is a pressure fighter, so his style should make for an interesting night. However, it’s hard to imagine that he can beat Stevenson, especially in Newark.

Stevenson-Yoshino, Anderson-Arias & Davis-Yigit will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The ESPN+-streamed undercard (7 p.m ET/4 p.m. PT) includes Polish heavyweight Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) and Brooklyn-born featherweight phenom Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs).

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Stevenson, Ramirez talk friendship as they prepare for their upcoming fights

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs) has completed training camp ahead of his 12-round battle against former junior featherweight world champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (24-2, 15 KOs). The two will lock horns for the vacant WBO featherweight title this Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

But before closing camp, the 29-year-old southpaw got a training session done with former two-division world champion Shakur Stevenson at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas.

Their rivalry began as amateurs, but it has turned into a friendship as both headline separate cards in April. One week after Ramirez-Dogboe, Stevenson returns in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator against Shuichiro Yoshino at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Ramirez-Dogboe headlines a stacked card streaming live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.

Stevenson-Yoshino, Jared Anderson-George Arias, and Keyshawn Davis-Anthony Yigit will be broadcast live Saturday, April 8, on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Following a recent training session, this is what Ramirez and Stevenson had to say:

Robeisy Ramirez

“I have nothing but positive things to say about Shakur as both a boxer and a person. What started out as a rivalry in the amateurs has evolved into a friendship. It was a pleasure to train with him at the Top Rank Gym, and I wish him the best as he begins to campaign in yet another division and continues to cement his place in the pound-for-pound rankings.”

“I have a lot of respect for Shakur and believe he has the skill and ring IQ to defeat anyone in the very competitive lightweight division. April 8 is another step for him as he continues to show he deserves to fight the biggest names. Good luck to him!”

Shakur Stevenson

Courtesy: Alex Sanchez

“I have a lot of respect for Robeisy and it’s always great to see him. As a two-time Olympic champion, he set the bar extremely high in his amateur career.”

“He has come out to my fights to support me a few different times, and I always appreciate it. I wish him the best of luck in his world title fight this weekend. I would still love the chance to get him in the ring at some point, even in just a sparring session because I’m always a competitor first.”

D.J. Zamora being in camp with Stevenson, Garcia, upcoming fight against Ibarra

Undefeated super featherweight, DJ “The War Machine” Zamora (10-0, 8 KOs), is excited to be returning to the ring as prepares to take on his toughest test when he battles Jesus Abel Ibarra (15-0, 7 KOs), in what is sure to be an epic clash of unbeaten fighters. The 8-round bout will take place this Saturday March 25, 2023, on the highly anticipated Benavidez vs. Plant card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“I am very excited to share the ring with another undefeated fighter and this is by far the biggest opportunity of my career,” stated Zamora, who will be fighting in his hometown Las Vegas. “I know exactly what is on the line and what I must do. I hope to give the fans a great show and send a message to the super-featherweight division. I know Ibarra, like me, is a tough fighter with a lot of heart, so we both will be leaving everything in the ring. Fans can expect to see an explosive fight.”

Zamora, who is only 19 years old, has quickly become one of the most talked-about fighters in the Las Vegas boxing scene. He’s already shown that he has the power and skill to be a force in the ring. But his impressive record is not the only thing that sets him apart. Zamora has sparred with some of the biggest names in boxing. These experiences have given him valuable insights into the sport and have helped him to hone his skills even further.

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience having sparred guys like Devin Haney and Shukur Stevenson, as well as my others out here in Las Vegas,” continued Zamora. “Ryan Garcia invited me to one of his training camps a few years back, and that work was incredible. I know what I’m capable of and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be fighting under the bright lights. I want to thank my team for making this possible. My confidence is at an all-time high and all the hard work will be on display this Saturday.”

The excitement surrounding this fight is palpable, with fans and experts alike eagerly anticipating the clash between these two unbeaten fighters. It’s sure to be a thrilling battle. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the most exciting young fighters in boxing take on his toughest challenge yet.

Photo Credit / Nathan Media @nathanmedia

Anderson-Arias, Davis-Yigit added to Stevenson-Yoshino

Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson has climbed the heavyweight rankings with his devastating knockout power. The 6’4, 240-pound wrecking ball will face fellow unbeaten George Arias in a 10-rounder Saturday, April 8, at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Anderson-Arias will be the co-feature to the WBC lightweight title eliminator between Shakur Stevenson and Shuichiro Yoshino.

U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis will face his stiffest challenge in the 10-round lightweight televised opener against former world title challenger Anthony Yigit.

Stevenson-Yoshino, Anderson-Arias, and Davis-Yigit will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), a 23-year-old from Toledo, Ohio, has notched five consecutive second-round stoppages, including a demolition of the normally durable Jerry Forrest last December. Anderson received international headlines for his work as Tyson Fury’s chief sparring partner, but he’s now forging his own path as boxing’s most decorated young heavyweight.

Anderson said, “This is the kind of fight I’ve been waiting for, a big fight between two undefeated heavyweights. I’m excited to once again be fighting on the same card as Shakur Stevenson. Don’t miss this fight. April 8 is going to a special night in Newark.”

Arias (18-0, 7 KOs), a Dominican boxer-puncher, began his pro career in 2014 and has toppled seven unbeaten fighters in his ascension to contender status. Arias continued that trend in his previous two fights, defeating Cassius Chaney and Alante Green by split decision. The New York City resident will give up five inches and roughly 20 pounds to Anderson.

Arias said, “I’m excited for the opportunity to go to war with Jared Anderson, one of the most highly regarded heavyweights right now. I thank my team for helping me get to this position. I can’t wait to show my skills on such a big platform. On April 8, I will pull off the upset.”

Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, went 3-0 in the pro ranks before capturing a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In November 2021, he signed a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank and has scored four wins since, including a violent knockout over Omar Tienda at Prudential Center last year. In his most recent outing, the 23-year-old standout dominated former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos.

Davis said, “The Newark fans showed me so much love last time, and I can’t wait to give them another special performance. I’m going to make Yigit regret taking this fight. He’s been in the ring with some good fighters, but I’m on another level.”

Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KOs) is a Swedish contender who represented his homeland at the 2012 Olympics. The 31-year-old began his pro career the following year and scored wins over DeMarcus Corley and Sandor Martin before unsuccessfully challenging Ivan Baranchyk for the IBF junior welterweight title in 2018. Yigit bounced back with three victories before losing to Rolando Romero in July 2021. He is now settled as a lightweight and has knocked out his last two opponents.

Yigit said, “I’m excited to get back into the mix. Huge respect to Keyshawn for taking this fight, but he’s young. Too young. He’s fast, I’m fast. He’s strong, I’m strong. He’s an Olympian, I’m an Olympian. My edge is my experience. I’m going to use it.”

Stevenson-Yoshino set for April 8 in Newark

The pound-for-pound fighting pride of “Brick City” has packed the house before, and he is set to do it again.

Undefeated former two-weight world champion Shakur Stevenson will take on Japanese puncher Shuichiro Yoshino in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator Saturday, April 8, at Prudential Center in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

In the co-feature, heavyweight knockout artist Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson aims for another stoppage in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be named. And, in the 10-round televised opener, rising lightweight and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis fights a to-be-determined foe.

Stevenson-Yoshino and the returns of Anderson and Davis will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN, Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“Shakur Stevenson is one of the most gifted fighters I’ve had the pleasure of promoting, and I look forward to seeing him once again fight in front of his incredible hometown fans in Newark,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Yoshino is a tough fighter and won’t be deterred by the hostile crowd. Jared Anderson and Keyshawn Davis are two of the sport’s emerging superstars, and I can’t wait to see them back in the ring.”

Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world champion, returns home following last September’s triumph against Robson Conceição. The stubborn Conceição lasted the distance, but Stevenson dominated in front of 10,107 fans at Prudential Center. It was the first time Stevenson had fought at Prudential Center since July 2019 and established the venue as one of the sport’s most raucous hometown crowds. Stevenson won the WBO junior lightweight title with a 10th-round knockout over Jamel Herring in October 2021, then unified the division with a stirring 12-round display over WBC king Oscar Valdez the following April. Those victories propelled Stevenson, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, to the top 10 of most pound-for-pound lists. He now sets his sights on a third weight class and a spot atop the pound-for-pound throne.

“I am taking over the lightweight division and my run will start on April 8 in Newark. Shuichiro Yoshino is an undefeated fighter who was willing to step up and fight me when so many fighters were scared,” Stevenson said. “My last fight at the Prudential Center was just the start of what I’m building in Jersey. We are going to pack the Prudential Center again and show the world who the future of boxing really is.”

Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs), the WBC’s No. 5 contender, is a former Japanese lightweight champion who compiled a 104-20 amateur record. After seven defenses of his Japanese title, Yoshino rose in the rankings following a banner 2022. Last April, he won a bloody technical decision over former world champion Masayuki Ito after Ito suffered a cut over his left eye. He followed up the Ito triumph in November with a sixth-round stoppage over Masayoshi Nakatani, best known to fans for his stands against Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Yoshino has never fought away from Japan and hopes to spoil Stevenson’s homecoming.

“I am very honored to be fighting in the U.S. for the first time. I’m extremely focused and motivated,” Yoshino said. “I’m looking forward to fighting the great two-division champion, Shakur Stevenson, in his hometown of Newark. I’ll be training hard leading up to the fight and look forward to showing the fans an exciting victory!”

Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), a 23-year-old from Toledo, Ohio, has notched five consecutive second-round stoppages, including a demolition of the normally durable Jerry Forrest last December. Anderson received international headlines for his work as a sparring partner of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, but he is now firmly established as a potential heavyweight champion.

Davis (7-0, 5 KOs), from Norfolk, Virginia, went to the Tokyo Olympics as a 3-0 professional and returned home with a silver medal and a long-term promotional contract with Top Rank. He is 4-0 since signing with the promotional powerhouse in late 2021, including three stoppage victories and last December’s shutout over former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos. Davis shined at Prudential Center last September, stopping Omar Tienda in five rounds.

Undercard action — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — includes undefeated Polish heavyweight prospect Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Knyba signed a long-term contract with Top Rank following his second-round knockout over Emilio Salas on the Teofimo Lopez-Sandor Martin bill in December.

Featherweight phenom Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs), the latest uber-talent from Brownsville, Brooklyn, will fight in a six-rounder against an opponent to be named. Carrington fought on the Stevenson-Conceição bill and blanked Jose Argel over six rounds.

Stevenson: ‘Me and Devin {Haney}, we could lock-in’

Former unified junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson(WBC/WBO) dominated the 130-pound division, but all good things must come to an end. While Stevenson has never lost to an opponent, he did lose to the scale as he could not make 130 pounds during Thursday’s weigh-in, and the titles were vacated.

However, the fight went on, and in front of a record crowd of 10,107 partisan fans, the largest crowd ever to attend a boxing event at Prudential Center, Stevenson dropped and dominated Robson Conceição for 12 rounds and won by unanimous decision. 

The Newark native won by scores of 117-109(2x) and 118-108.

Stevenson(19-0, 9 KOs) made it his business to go to the body, and he landed a career-high 75 body shots, including a body shot knockdown in the fourth. Overall, Stevenson landed a career-high 199 punches. It was an easy night for the former unified champion. He did lose a point in the ninth round for throwing down Conceicao(17-2, 8 KOs), which really was the only drama Stevenson dealt with all night, but now it’s time for bigger and better as he is going up to 135 pounds. 

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 23: Robson Conceição (L) and Shakur Stevenson (R) exchange punches during their WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship fight at Prudential Center on September 23, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After the fight, Stevenson, who was 1.6 pounds overweight, discussed how hard it was for him to make weight this week. 

“I had a long week,” he said. “I killed myself to make weight. All I want to do is come in here and perform. I did everything I could to do that,” Stevenson said. “I’m just a dominating individual. With me versus him, the ref, I did everything I could to try and beat {Conceicao} up as much as I could. He held me the whole night, but I did everything I could.”

Two things are clear, Stevenson is definitely a draw in Newark, and he will be tough to beat for anybody at 135.

“We gotta fight the champ,’ he said. “Me and Devin {Haney}, we could lock-in. After he fights Kambosos, let’s get it on! ‘ll fight (Vasiliy) Lomachenko, too!” 

Those fights can be made, especially Loma, who returns on October 29 against Jamaine Ortiz. Regarding the king of the 135-pound division, Haney, he’s a bigger lightweight, so if he beats Kambosos, who knows how long he’ll stay at 135, but if it happens, it’s a great fight. 

Again, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating Stevenson at this point. He just knows how to win rounds, but those guys he called out won’t be easy nights.

Shakur Stevenson: ‘I’m really focused on putting in the work on Friday night’

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.

Shakur Stevenson

 (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“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.”

Robson Conceição

 (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“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.”

Keyshawn Davis

 (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“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.”

Omar Tienda

“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.”

Bruce Carrington

“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.”

Jahi Tucker

“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.”