From 2013 through 2015, 2016 Olympic silver medalist and featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) (4-0, 2 KOs) opened his competitive year in Reno, Nev. He will return to that tradition in 2018, kicking off the year in an eight-round featherweight contest versus Juan Tapia (Brownsville, Texas) (8-1, 3 KOs) on Friday, February 16 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s Grand Theater.
Competing in Reno has always been a good luck charm of sorts for Stevenson with his run to both Junior and Youth World titles, a Youth Olympic Games gold medal and even his berth in the 2016 Olympic Games all beginning with domestic competitions in the “Biggest Little City in the World.” The Grand Sierra will also be a familiar venue for Stevenson who earned three straight Junior and Youth Open titles in the hotel as a teenager.
It’s only fitting that he prepares for his return to Reno and first eight-round bout at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the new USA Boxing training facility now showcases an action shot of the 20-year-old proudly on the gym wall.
Stevenson is training for his fifth professional fight with coach Kay Koroma and alongside the USA Boxing National Team, which includes three teammates from his home gym, the Alexandria Boxing Club in Alexandria, Va. He even enjoyed a special visit from Olympic gold medalists Andre Ward and Claressa Shields earlier in his training camp and Ward, Stevenson’s co-manager, will be ringside for Stevenson’s bout on February 16.
He looks forward to kicking off 2018 in impressive fashion after scoring four professional wins in 2017, including two TKO victories in New York, near his hometown of Newark. He hopes to be even busier in 2018 as he works toward his goal of becoming a World Champion.
Stevenson and his team will conclude training camp this weekend and travel to Reno on Monday in preparation for his February 16 bout. His fight will take place on the undercard of the Ray Beltran – Paulus Moses World Championship fight which will be televised on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.