Cleveland’s fast-rising blue-chip prospect Isaiah Steen (16-0, 12 KOs) and dangerous power-puncher Sena Agbeko (26-2, 21 KOs), representing Nashville, Tenn., both made weight at Thursday’s official weigh-in a day ahead of their 10-round super middleweight main event on SHOBOX: The New Generation tomorrow night, Friday, October 21 live on SHOWTIME as the prospect developmental series returns to Bally’s Atlantic City Casino & Resort, the site of the first SHOBOX® 21 years ago, for the second time in two months.
In the co-feature, perennial spoiler and SHOBOX alum Marquis Taylor (12-1-2, 1 KO), from Houston, Texas, takes on undefeated Detroit native Marlon Harrington (8-0, 7 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight attraction. Plus, undefeated heavyweight prospects Elvis Garcia (12-0, 9 KOs) and Moses Johnson (8-0-1, 7 KOs), from Huntington, N.Y., square off in an intriguing eight-round bout that opens the telecast.
Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins calls the action from ringside with veteran combat sports reporter and MORNING KOMBAT host Brian Campbell and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts with Hall of Famer Steve Farhood remotely performing unofficial scoring duties. The executive producer of SHOBOX: The New Generation is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
The event is promoted by Salita Promotions.
Super Middleweight 10-Round Bout
Isaiah Steen – 166.2 lbs.
Sena Agbeko – 167.2 lbs.
Referee: Charles Fitch; Judges: Mark Consentino (N.J.), Anthony Lundy (N.J.), Joseph Pasquale (N.J.)
Super Welterweight Eight-Round Bout
Marquis Taylor – 154 lbs.
Marlon Harrington – 153.6 lbs.
Referee: Ricardo Vera; Judges: Jacklyn Atkins (N.J), Tony Lundy (N.J.), Joseph Pasquale (N.J.)
Heavyweight Eight-Round Bout
Elvis Garcia – 232.8 lbs.
Moses Johnson – 259 lbs.
Referee: Charles Fitch; Judges: Jacklyn Atkins (N.J.), Mark Consentino (N.J.), Joseph Pasquale (N.J.)
“This is one of my biggest fights. My layoff was just due to a lot of fights and shows not happening and opponents backing out but I was always in the gym getting ready for the opportunity.
“I’m going to out-box him and use my speed. I know he’s a power-puncher but I’m going to shock the world.
“My last fight on SHOBOX I was out-boxing Kalvin Henderson in the beginning of the fight, and I was trying to take him out. It didn’t go according to the game plan. I changed the game plan and used my jab to get the victory.
“I was at the fight when Kalvin Henderson challenged David Morrell in June [on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®]. That was supposed to be me in there against Morrell. I should have faced him.
“Sparring with [my half-brother] Charles Conwell has been great. He’s really pushed me and shown me a lot of inside game stuff, so I’m well prepared for this fight on the inside. I’m well prepared for this fight. Nothing worries me about him but he should be worried about me for this fight.”
“I’m one of the best super middleweights in the world. I just need the stage to prove it. I know a little bit about him. After I beat my last opponent, apparently Steen wanted to fight me. As fate would have it, his opponent fell through and he reached out and I said, ‘Let’s get it on.’ I imagine that Isaiah is right around the same level as my last opponent. I know he’s a young, hungry fighter but I believe I’m hungrier. This is an opportunity for me and I’m ready to take it.
“For me, every fight at this point is an opportunity to prove that I’m world championship material. My goal is to get a big opportunity against a big-name fighter, to get the win and to keep pushing forward. Isaiah Steen wasn’t expected but I had been training all along so when I got the call, I was excited. I immediately said yes.
“I thought I did pretty well against Vladimir Shishkin… That fight taught me that defense alone doesn’t win fights. You have to also be able to inflict serious damage so I’ve definitely done my homework and I’m ready to reintroduce myself.
“Isaiah has a little bit of everything. He can box when he wants to and he can be an aggressive brawler when he wants to be. For me, my biggest advantage is the experience level. I feel like he hasn’t really fought that many high caliber opponents. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve been through the mill but I don’t think he’s been through the mill. When we get to the late rounds, we’ll see how he responds. I’m prepared for whatever.
“I think that most media when they talk about my power, they make it like I’m some devastating power and I hit hard. But I believe what really works for me is slowly breaking down my opponents through the rounds and then eventually I take them out of there. I don’t think I have that one-punch Mike Tyson power. I don’t have any of that. I believe it’s more breaking down my opponents down round by round and then eventually getting them out of there. I’m not the guy that looks for one-punch knockouts.
“I would love a world championship opportunity and at the moment Canelo has all the belts so I know I have to work my way up. I already have some names in mind but I’m not looking ahead of Steen. The goal is to get past him and then I’ll lay out my plan for the world to see.”
“The draw with Paul Kroll on SHOBOX still doesn’t sit right with me but I’m still grateful for the opportunity and the exposure. More people know who Marquis Taylor is, so still a positive came of that. I learned that I have to get stronger than what I was in February. I learned that when I’m in a position to hurt my opponent, I have to go for it. I hurt Kroll a couple of times. I did go back to the gym and worked on my jab, strength and conditioning, and this time when my opponent is in danger, I’m looking for a better outcome.
“I’m looking to be in the conversation with all the top 10 guys at 154 pounds. I’m trying to get any of them in the ring. It’s just a matter of getting an opportunity to show everyone the level I’m actually on. I’ve been working a lot on head movement and bending my knees more, using my legs when I throw my shots, just sitting down more on my punches but still having good defense.
“COVID was a very confusing time for everyone but one thing I tried to do was find a way to train every day. I didn’t just sit and wait around. I did a lot of running, a lot of shadowboxing. I even changed the way I was eating because I was trying to stay at 147 pounds. I wanted to be like Thomas Hearns where I won a title at 147 pounds and then at 160 and 175. I really wanted to stay at 147. I even gave up beef and chicken and turkey and became a pescatarian. But those two years hurt me because when I tried to make 147 again, it just couldn’t be done.
“I was a bit of a different fighter when I emerged from the pandemic but these last few months, I’ve been getting back to myself, becoming more aggressive, sitting down on my shots, working on the sharpness of my punches. You can expect my punches to be way sharper and to have more of an effect. You can say I’m training for a knockout. I’m not a Tyson or a Deontay Wilder but I’ve been working on my technique and strength, and I want every fight to be better than the last.”
“I’m expecting this to be a very good fight. I’m not looking to go the distance. I’m just going to go in there and implement my game plan. I’m trying to get him out of there. I’m coming in ready and I’m coming in to fight.
“I feel like I have one-punch power, concussive power, the kind of power where I can definitely end the fight with one punch.
“I’ve been cutting hair since I was 12. I have a nice clientele at home. That’s what I do. I’m a barber. Besides being a father and a fighter, I work at a barbershop. It’s my main source of income. I cut hair six days a week, with one day of rest so I can chill with my children.
“I like to play around with being a southpaw a lot once I get into a rhythm, but I’m mainly orthodox. When do I change to southpaw? I’m just in there creating, just having fun in there. I don’t know what I’m actually going to do until I do it. When it comes to turning southpaw, I just turn and let my hands go. So I think it tricks the opponent, especially if I get a guy hurt. It’s a different look, that’s the advantage it gives me.
“When I was getting people out there early, you don’t really learn anything. Going more rounds, I’ve actually learned a lot more. I learned I had to bite down and to relax. That’s the biggest thing, to not get over-anxious and exert more energy than I need to. Going those extra rounds actually helps.
“Before I got into boxing, I was doing bar fighting and street fighting. But in boxing, you’re actually fighting someone who knows how to fight versus some bum who’s been smoking and drinking and has a chip on their shoulder. I was the guy in the neighborhood who people would just call me and I’d just pull up and put the gloves on and fight, like street-fighting. I went to a boxing gym because I wanted to see if I could learn the fundamentals of fighting and that’s when I fell in with it and started taking it more seriously. I took a couple losses in street fighting but it built character.
“I first realized I had power when I was 17 when I knocked out someone for the first time and he was out cold. That’s when I knew I had real power. I’m looking to take my career as far as my body will take me. I’m looking to make a name. I’m here and I’m not looking to lay down for anyone. Am I looking for the KO? I’m punching to hurt you, so if you come at me, that’s what I’m going to do.
“Either the referee is going to stop it or I’ll stop it. I imagine my opponent has the same attitude. I know he comes to fight. He looks legit. This is the fight I need.”
“I get my work ethic from my dad, who moved our family to Oregon when I was a kid. He picked strawberries and cherries in the fields. I started doing that when I was 13.
“I came to boxing later and started in MMA. I wanted to improve my striking so I thought I’d try boxing. I really started it to lose weight, and I just kept progressing and got a little more motivated and kept taking the opportunities as they came to me. I thought maybe I could be the first Mexican heavyweight world champion, but Andy Ruiz took that first.
“I have a newborn baby now and it’s changed everything, just my mindset and how I approach things. I feel more pressure and know that I’m doing it more than just for me. I want to do everything for her and provide for my family and give them a different lifestyle. I don’t want them to struggle.
“Right now, my footwork is my best attribute. I can work the angles a lot better than I used to. The jiu jitsu I did as a kid really helped me with my flexibility but for my footwork the wrestling really helped me. My best punch is my right hand – my overhand right.
“My brother is the one who has always pushed me and always believed in me. He said I always had the talent, I just had to believe in it.
“I sparred with a lot of top guys like Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. He once called me his ‘secret weapon’ because I was always applying the pressure.”
“I believe I’m going to be the heavyweight world champion. I’m around one of the best teams in boxing. I’m around great up-and-coming fighters and guys like B-Hop (Bernard Hopkins) and Chris Colbert. I’m training with these guys every day. My coaches don’t train me as a heavyweight. They make me push it out every session.
“It’s boxing for me 100 percent. I did work with kids who have disabilities. But now I just train and just fight.
“I’ve sparred with guys like Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, Otto Wallin, all the top competition. I haven’t sparred yet with Tyson Fury or Wilder or Joe Joyce, but a lot of the top guys.
“I need to work on everything to get to that next level. To be at the top you have to work on everything. You have to have a good jab, you have to have good counter punching, you have to have good movement. And not just one technique. Unless you are Wilder and you have that right hand. But if that doesn’t work you have to have good boxing skills. You have to know how to coFunter and how to jab and how to position yourself to throw certain punches.
“I know nothing about Elvis. The way we train, we’re prepared for whatever. It doesn’t matter if they are a boxer or a brawler. We train so that we are ready for anything and everything in the ring.
“Boxing is my life. I love fighting and I think about it all the time. I’m always watching boxing videos and always reading up on it. I’m just so into it. If you’re going to do something you have to be all in. You can’t be half in.”