Talking Boxing

Interviews, opinions, features and news from the greatest sport in the world!

February 10, 2017

A Top future

Shakur Stevenson, Michael Conlan, Top Rank, Manny Robles, Bob Arum, Jeyvier Cintron, Antonio Vargas, Robson Conceicao, Teofimo Lopez Jr

Shakur Stevenson is the latest star name from the amateur code to join forces with Top Rank. 

by Shaun Brown

While boxing fans are lapping up all the big fights that are happening right now, one promoter has made a significant leap to make sure that the excitement continues long into the future.

September last year saw Northern Ireland's Michael Conlan put pen to paper on a multi-year deal with Bob Arum and his team at Top Rank.

Conlan, who became infamous for a controversial loss (to Vladimir Nitkin) and a middle finger salute at last year's Olympics, will make his professional bow at Madison Square Garden on March 17 (St Patrick's Day) against Tim Ibarra. The 25-year-old Super Bantamweight, who won World, European and Commonwealth Gold, as well as Olympic Bronze in 2012, will be trained by Manny Robles.

Yesterday (February 9), Top Rank secured the services of another gifted pugilist who could face Conlan in a
21st century super fight in the years to come.

Shakur Stevenson could well have faced Michael Conlan in the Bantamweight category in Rio had the Belfast man not been robbed by the judges. Instead, their paths, without a professional punch having been thrown, look already destined to collide in the future for fame and fortune!

The 19-year-old from Newark, New Jersey captured Silver at the 2016 Olympics, and even at such a tender age has been tipped to become America's finest fighter in over a decade.

Stevenson may have lost to Cubas's Robeisy Ramirez in the Gold Medal match last summer, but now has a professional future that looks secure in the hands of Top Rank and unified world light heavyweight champion Andre Ward who is on board as co-manager along with James Prince and Josh Dubin.

Stevenson who was courted by Mayweather Promotions and Roc Nation Sports told Yahoo Sports: "Top Rank creates superstars, so I'm going with one of the best.

"Look at what they've done: Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto. That's what I want to do."

His new promoter said that Stevenson's debut would come in April, not long after that of Michael Conlan's.

The talents of Conlan and Stevenson will hopefully not be held back, but in Stevenson's case - despite his tremendous ability - they certainly have more time to shape him into the superstar that they believe he will become.

Two-time Puerto Rican Olympian Jeyvier Cintron was also added to the Top Rank roster this week, with the 22-year-old set to campaign at Bantamweight. December last year also saw the addition to TR of highly touted U.S Olympian Antonio Vargas. Throw in the likes of Teofimo Lopez Jr and Robson Conceicao joining the team, and it's easy to see why many are excited about the future.

The Top Rank stable is swelling, not just with quantity but with quality being snapped up from all over the world. But let's not just throw the confetti over them, the world's best amateurs are being snapped up from the male and female pro ranks by promoters worldwide.

In the short-term boxing fans have the likes of Thurman v Garcia and Joshua v Klitschko to look forward to, but you will also see the future in that time. And what a future it looks.