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Shakur Stevenson

Sport: Boxing

Born: June 28, 1997

Town: Newark

Shakur Stevenson was born June 28, 1997 in Newark. The oldest of nine kids, he was named in honor of rapper Tupac Shakur. His grandfather, Willie Moses, fostered an interest in boxing when he saw two-year-old Shakur mimicking fighters on TV. By age 5, he was already honing his skills under Willie, who was a fighter (and kickboxer) in his 20s and owned the Elite Heat Gym on Mount Pleasant Avenue in Newark. Shakur began fighting at 8 and by age 13 was a Golden Glove winner.

Starting at the Veles Cup in Russia in 2012, Shakur began picking off the world’s top-ranked juniors in tournament after tournament. During the summer of 013 he began working with Pedro Roque, who coaches at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado. In September 2013, Shakur competed at 114 pounds in the Junior World Championships in Kiev and won gold in the light bantamweight division. He was just the third American to win a title at the AIBA tournament. Coming out of the competition, he became the first American to be named AIBA Junior Boxer of the Year.

Fighting as a flyweight, Shakur won the 2014 Youth World Championships and also competed in the junior boxing competition at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China. He did not lose a round, running his international record to a perfect 17–0. He set his sights on the 2016 Olympics, where he hoped to become the first American since his hero—Andre Ward—to win gold at the Summer Games.

Shakur fought brilliantly in Rio and made it to the championship final against Cuba's Robeisy Ramire.z. Shakur took silver in a close match. Despite the loss, Shakur was the toast of the town when he returned home. Newark mayor Ras Baraka ordered a welcoming parade that drew thousands of proud Newarkers.


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