(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – USA Boxing’s own junior star Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) is breaking new ground for his country, winning the Best Junior Boxer of the Year award from Olympic-style boxing’s international federation, AIBA. The 16-year-old is the first American boxer ever to win the major award, which honors the top junior boxer (athletes born in 1997 and 1998) in the world. Stevenson recently took gold at the AIBA Junior Men’s World Championships, winning the light bantamweight title in Kiev, Ukraine.
“It feels great to win this award and especially to be the first boxer from the United States to win it,” Stevenson said. “I worked really hard with my coach and Coach Pedro (Roque) this year and it definitely paid off. I'm going to keep training hard and going after my goal of winning an Olympic gold medal.”
Stevenson has enjoyed an outstanding 2013 both domestically and abroad, winning the Junior World Team Open in January and the Junior Olympic National Championships in June. His gold medal at the recent World Championships was his second international title of the year, following a light bantamweight championship at the Victory Day Tournament in May.
“We are extremely proud of Shakur and the way he’s represented the United States this year,” said USA Boxing Executive Director Anthony Bartkowski. “Our junior program has always been a critical developmental pipeline for the future stars of the sport and Shakur’s world championship victory and this highly coveted award are a strong indication that USA Boxing is moving in the right direction in our High Performance efforts.”
Stevenson attributes his 2013 success to the training camps at the Olympic Training Center with other top junior boxers and his work with USA Boxing International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque in conjunction with his personal coach over the past year.
Fresh off his award win, the 16-year-old appeared on Katie Couric’s national daytime show, “Katie,” today in a segment with LL Cool J.
A junior at Central High School in Newark, N.J., Stevenson has been boxing since the age of five when his grandfather and current trainer, Willie Moses, introduced him to the sport. He’s been in love with the sweet science since his first day in the boxing gym with Moses and their partnership has certainly yielded positive results. Stevenson identifies his style as slick and difficult to hit, but knows that it’s important to be able to adapt to the various styles he will see from across the globe in Olympic-style boxing. He looks up to two Olympic medalists and professional stars, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Andre Ward and hopes to follow in their large footsteps.Stevenson and Coach Moses will travel to Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the award presentation, which will take place in conjunction with the Elite Men’s World Championships, in late October.