Shakur vs Yoshino Presser Recap
Photos via Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing
Today was the official press conference for this weekend’s Top Rank Boxing show that will take place Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) is headlining in his hometown as he makes his lightweight debut. He will be competing in a WBC title eliminator against Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs).
The co-feature is a heavyweight battle between Jared Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), who many view as the future of the heavyweight division, and the highly skilled George Arias (18-0, 7 KOs). 2020 Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (7-0, 5 KOs) will meet former title challenger Anthony Yigit (26-2-1, 10 KOs) in the ESPN opener.
The ESPN+ undercard also has a slew of young talents to keep an eye on. In the presser, newly signed Polish heavyweight Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) and standout featherweight prospect Bruce Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs) joined the six men fighting on the main card on stage to answer questions.
Damian Knyba was the first up, and he spoke on becoming the first Polish heavyweight to sign with Top Rank and how it has changed is career.
“It’s an honor for me. It’s a huge step forward. The beginning was tough, I never had guaranteed fights. We had to scramble our way to get me fights and experience, but we did just that. I’m here, I’m ready for the opportunity, to take advantage, and I’m excited to see the huge leaps my career takes forward”.
Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington was asked about what fans can expect of him in the ring Saturday night.
“Every single time I fight I try to display art. It’s not just about knockouts, it’s not just about being flashy, nothing like that. I want you to see that everything is strictly business and I’m Picasso in the ring. The ring is my canvas, and I’m painting the canvas. I just want everybody to just kind of learn and be more educated every time I step into the ring”.
Keyshawn Davis showed respect to his opponent, saying that this could be his toughest test to date.
“I know Yigit is definitely coming to fight. He’s an experienced fighter. I really think he’s going to test me in ways that nobody never tested me before. He’s a southpaw, and he’s a fighter. He likes to fight. He boxes, he do all that extra stuff, but he really likes to fight. I love that shit, I like to fight too. This Saturday it’s going to be action packed and the tougher man gon win”.
Yigit responded by letting Davis known that a war might not be in his best interest, which sparked a little back and forth between the two.
“You’re a great fighter IQ wise. But don’t go in fighting with me, then you’re just coming into my boxing. My boxing is fighting. Do that, for me, perfect.”
Davis replied, but was quickly cut off by Yigit right after.
“I feel what you’re saying but just feel I could beat you at any game you want to play.”
Yigit came back asking Davis to keep his word and give the fans the type of fight they want to see.
“Then let’s do it in the center of the ring. You just said it. You said you were gonna fight me, lets do it.”
Davis let it be known that he is in total control of what will happen Saturday night.
“Ima do what I want to do. If I wanna box you, ima do that. If I wanna rough you up, ima do that. If I wanna fight you, ima do that. You get it? You dig it, Yigit?
Jared Anderson spoke on how focused he is on the task at hand for this weekend.
“I’m beyond focused. I’m more than ready for this fight, you know, just handle business and come out impressively. It’s a fight against an undefeated fighter, and that’s all we’re looking for, to be impressive.”
Jared was also asked if he has been looking to end things early, or if that is just how his recent fights have played out.
“I kind of just let it play out. I think Jerry Forrest kind of picked the ending for our last fight, without my decision making. I came in , I felt like I was a little too relaxed, and that’s what transpired into him landing those two big shots, but I feel like, like I said, he decided the fate of that fight. So hopefully he decides to let us get a couple of rounds in.”
George Arias gave credit to Anderson for being mentioned as the future of the heavyweight division, and also was asked if he believes his ten month layoff will affect him at all.
On paper, absolutely he’s the toughest because it seems like he’s the new face of the heavyweight division. But as for me, when I step in the ring, I see it as a sport. I see it as, do what I can to get the win and you know, it’s boxing at the end of the day. The rules are the rules, you do whatever you can within the time permitted to win. So it’s another fight for me, but absolutely he is a guy with a lot, should I beat him.”
“Honestly no. I’ve been laid off for that amount of time before. I did the best I could to get ready, I have no excuse to throw, to say that was possibly any reason why. I trained to the best of my ability. I’ve sparred with great fighters. I did everything I could. As for me, I think I’m just like if I fought a couple of months ago. No problem.”
Shakur Stevenson, who is headlining for a second straight time in his hometown of Newark, talked about how he feels fighting in front of his home crowd along with what we can expect from him Saturday night.
“It’s very important. It feels great to be back home, back in front of my fans, my family. I’m enjoying myself, and I just can’t wait for Saturday. I’m really excited for Saturday.”
“You’re gonna see everything in the arsenal. Ima go out there, box him, beat him up when he wants to bang, touch his body, I’m beating him up. He’s gonna leave that ring knowing that I’m the best fighter he’s ever been in the ring with. Last time this dude fought a southpaw was his pro debut. He’s 16-0, he fought all orthodox fighters. This is a whole different world when you get in there with a southpaw”.
Yoshino is eager for this opportunity, and is confident that he can shock the world come Saturday night. The first quote was summarized and said from the translator’s point of view so it is in third person.
“He’s (Yoshino) excited to fight for the WBC title (eliminator). This opportunity is really gonna change his place in boxing and the gym’s place in boxing, so he’s really excited and pumped up for this fight.”
“Me and my trainer have been studying Shakur a lot, and we have a gameplan to implement Saturday night. So that’s going to be shown Saturday night.”
The first bell is set for 6:30pm EST at the Prudential Center, with the main card beginning at 10pm EST. Carrington and Knyba will be featured on a five-fight undercard on ESPN+, while Davis vs Yigit, Anderson vs Arias, and Stevenson vs Yoshino will be live on ESPN.