"It's an honor to be working with them...I feel like I'm going to start at 126. I'll take over that division first. Then after 26, we gonna head to 30 and so on...I feel like I'm another fighter like an Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather. I have a different style, but the same mentality. I'm coming in there sharp with a good mindset and a strong mindset and I'm bringing a lot of heart. I'm excited and I hope the fans are just as excited as I am. I'm ready to turn up," stated Olympic medalist and amateur standout Shakur Stevenson, who talked about his pro debut and much more. Check it out!
PC: First and foremost man, congratulations on capturing the Silver Medal. I know it wasn't the medal you wanted, but a huge accomplishment nonetheless.
SS: Thank you. I really appreciate that.
PC: Your town of Newark, New Jersey really put on for you when you returned from Brazil. You received a champions welcome home that included a big parade. That had to be a great feeling.
SS: I'm going to be honest with you, that parade that they did for me and the welcome I received when I got home was bigger than the actual Olympics for me. It really touched my heart to see so many people show up who cared about me and supported me like that. It was a great thing, you feel me?
PC: I'm sure it was, man. And now you've signed a managerial deal to work with J. Prince, Josh Dubin, and Andre Ward. How did that come together and why did this move make the most sense to you?
SS: I actually sat down with them and we had a meeting and I feel like I really clicked with J. Prince and I really look forward to seeing the direction they take me in. It's an honor to be working with them.
PC: You say you clicked with James Prince. What was it about J. Prince that made this feel like the right fit?
SS: He takes his job very seriously and he cares a lot about his fighters. I feel like he is the best person that fits me. I feel like he is going to hustle and get what he wants and what he needs for his fighters. That fits me perfectly because I'm going to hustle to get what I want and what I need for myself too.
PC: You are one of the most successful amateur fighters in recent U.S. history and of all time actually. You are also the oldest of 9 siblings. Now moving forward into the pros, how do you not let those accolades mount as pressure and instead use it as motivation to accomplish just as much as a pro?
SS: They say pressure busts pipes or it makes diamonds, so I don't really look at it as pressure. I look at it as motivation. I want to make sure I do good for my little brothers and sisters. I want to make sure they are on the right track and give them something to look up to. My main thing is I don't really focus too much on the pressure.
PC: I'm catching you fresh out of the gym. What has the work been like? Are you just maintaining or is the goal to still make your pro debut in early 2017 so you have it turned up a little bit?
SS: I'm actually trying to change things up because I'm moving from the amateurs to pros. I'm making that transition, so I'm changing my training up. I'm doing a lot more rounds sparring-wise and just turning the training into professional training instead of the amateur training I've been doing. Now I'm trying to prepare for a pro debut in early 2017.
PC: Mr. Willie Moses, your grandfather, is the guy that introduced you to boxing. Is he still going to be your trainer headed into your professional career?
SS: He is still in my corner. Him and Coach Kay Koroma. He is still the same coach that he was back then, so ain't nothing changed.
PC: Is there anything you're looking forward to in the pros that maybe you couldn't enjoy or didn't have the luxury of having in the amateurs because they did cater the amateur ranks somewhat to the pros?
SS: I'm looking forward to fighting one day at a time and weighing in one day at a time. I feel like that's actually going to make a big difference. I'm actually excited for that part the most because I'm so used to weighing in every single day and fighting every single day. So being able to fight one time and being able to weigh-in and be able to rehydrate before the fights, I'm actually excited.
PC: What weight can we expect to see you compete at?
SS: I don't know where I will settle down because I feel I'm still growing because I'm only 19 years old, but I feel like I'm going to start at 126. I'll take over that division first. Then after 26, we gonna head to 30 and so on.
PC: You're very mature for your age. Where does that maturity come from? Is that a matter of your upbringing, having 8 younger siblings, or being on the road and traveling so much as a kid and teen?
SS: I feel like my maturity came from my upbringing in Newark and having to be responsible for my little brothers and sisters. And like you said, just traveling and going overseas and being in tournaments and the experience I gained from doing interviews. I was introduced to the world early, so that's mainly where my maturity comes from.
PC: For the people that didn't have the pleasure of watching you in the amateur ranks, what can they expect from Shakur Stevenson?
SS: I'm going to show them what I was taught my whole life, boxing is the art of hitting and not being hit. That's how I came up. My grandfather preached that to me since I was a kid. I feel like I'm another fighter like an Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather. I have a different style, but the same mentality. I'm coming in there sharp with a good mindset and a strong mindset and I'm bringing a lot of heart. I'm excited and I hope the fans are just as excited as I am. I'm ready to turn up.
PC: Obviously Floyd Mayweather was a heavy supporter of yours and I'm sure is someone who would like to have you signed to his company. Is that still an option?
SS: Floyd Mayweather is the greatest fighter of all time; TBE, like he says. It's still an opportunity for me to sign with him. He is a promoter and I just signed a management deal, so James Prince could definitely reach out to him and we can still work with him.
PC: You're only 19 years old. Did your mom or family members have any influence on your decision or did they let you take that step into manhood and handle this decision on your own?
SS: Honestly, I took that step as a man. I mean, I got some advice, but as a man, I made that decision on my own. I actually sat down with these people and hung out with these people and made this decision based off of me. I came up with this myself. My biggest thing is I don't want my mess up to be on anybody else, you feel me? Not saying I messed up, but I'm just saying, I don't want decisions like this to be on anybody else. That way if I mess up, it will be on me later on down the line. It's like I made that mistake, you feel me?
PC: Grown man stuff my man. I like that, Shakur. It's crazy because I have been hearing your name for so long, it's almost like you're a 5-year pro veteran already. How do you stay grounded, man, when so many people are telling you how good you are?
SS: I honestly try not to get caught up in the hype. When fight time comes, I like to put my phone on airplane mode or watch boxing or something. I tune everybody out, to be honest. I don't answer any text messages. I don't really try to focus on all the hype they be trying to give to me. I see the hype, so I know what it is already because it's been the same way since I was a little kid, and coming up all through the amateurs, they always talk about me. So I zone that out and focus on what I gotta do, and so far, it's been helping me out a lot.
PC: Social media could be a great thing and it can be a horrible thing. How do you plan on using it as a positive platform for you and not get caught up in the negativity?
SS: Yes, it could. I try to make sure I don't put my main business out there, you feel me. I'm a human being too. I go through stuff too, so I make sure I don't put nothing too crazy out there and when it's time, I get off of it and focus on what I gotta do.
PC: I can't wait to see the pro debut. Best of luck to you, my man, and I hope this is the first of many interviews lil' bro. Is there anything else you would like to add before I let you go?
SS: Make sure y'all tune in whenever my pro debut happens. I'm putting North New Jersey on the map, Brick City, 973. And follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ShakurStevenson.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]