Shakur Stevenson believes he will rise to the occasion and produce a dominant performance when he challenges WBO super-featherweight king Jamel Herring at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on October 23.
Victory will see the unbeaten New Jersey southpaw become a two-weight champion at just 24 years of age, but Stevenson will need to improve on a clear but uninspiring points win over the unsung Jeremiah Nakathila in June.
Champion Herring, another portsider, is coming off a career-best performance, having halted Carl Frampton in six rounds in April.
“My last world title, I fought in October [Joet Gonzalez, W12, 2019]. This world title, I fight in October. It’s going to be no different. I’m coming here to dominate,” said Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs). “Jamel is a solid fighter. He has a great team around him, but it’s going to be my night. That’s how I feel.
“He is just a friend of my family [but] he’s not my friend. He’s not nobody I talk to outside of boxing. We don’t got no relationship outside of boxing. He’s somebody I see around. He messes with the same people I mess with. Other than that, we’re not friends. I’ve never really been his friend. He’s cool people. I don’t got no problem with him at all. It ain’t like I check up on him when I’m not fighting or he checks up on me. I don’t consider that a friend.
“At the end of the day, I’m coming in there to handle business, and I’m going to make sure I win.”
Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) still feels he is fighting for respect, but hopes a laser focus and hunger for further glory can see him reach his peak next month.
“I look at every fight different. This fight is no easier than any fight I’ve had in the past. I always gave Shakur his respect,” said the New York born Herring. “I know what I’m going up against, but that’s what motivates me to go in the gym and do what I have to do. I don’t take anyone lightly. It’s familiar territory and another day in the life of Jamel Herring. That’s just how it is.
“They’re making Shakur out to be the future superstar, but again, maybe he will be a future star in his own right, but right now, we’re focusing on the now. I still feel like I have things to prove to myself, and I’m just going to go out and do what I have to do.
“We both have something to prove in our own rights. He’s young, and he wants to be a two-division champion, which I respect. I feel like I’ve always been counted out. I’m still just fighting for my respect. That’s what keeps me motivated and hungry. I think this fight will bring out the best in both of us.”
Main image: Top Rank.