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Shakur Stevenson: I want to break Jeremiah Nakathila

Image: Shakur Stevenson: I want to break Jeremiah Nakathila

By Matt Lieberman: Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) wants to physically & mentally break Jeremiah Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs) this Saturday night in their battle or the interim WBO super featherweight title.

The Top Rank promoted fight card will be televised on ESPN this Saturday, beginning at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Stevenson, 23, doesn’t like how Namibia-born opponent Nakathila predicted that he would score a knockout by the 11th round.

But with the 10 consecutive knockouts that Nakathila has scored since 2016, it’s not a shock that he feels he’ll do the same thing to Shakur.

Although Nakathila has faced sub-level opposition since his loss to Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016, his power is impressive.

One can see from watching clips of Nakathila’s fights. He’s a bigger puncher than Oscar Valdez, Miguel Berchelt, and Leo Santa Cruz. Nakathila has freakish power with both hands, and it’s not a good idea to trade with him.

Stevenson doesn’t enter into the equation because he’s not a powerful guy at 130. He’s more of a lower-power guy who scores his knockouts by landing an accumulation of shots.

It probably wouldn’t be a good idea for Stevenson to stand in the center ring and go toe-to-toe with Nakathila this Saturday because this guy will surely take his head off.

Image: Shakur Stevenson: I want to break Jeremiah Nakathila

Stevenson vows to mentally break Nakathila

“With this fight, it’s about the mentality and the mental aspect,” said Stevenson to Fighthype about his match against Nakathila.

“I feel like I want to mentally break this dude down. I to see. And I want to break him. And I want to leave him in the ring broken.

“I usually do that to everybody else, but I want to do it worse than it usually is. So that’s what I’m looking to show.

“I’m not going to call it, but whatever happens happens,” said Stevenson when told that it sounds like he’ll be looking to knockout Nakathila on Saturday.

Stevenson needs this win to put himself in a position to challenge WBO super featherweight champion, Jamel Herring. Shakur wants that fight and then possibly a unification match with Oscar Valdez if he still has the WBC title.

We could see a unification fight between Herring and Valdez this year. If that happens, Stevenson will be in a position to fight the winner, provided he beats Nakathila on Saturday.

Nakathila will be dangerous

“You got to let fighters like that work against themselves,” said Shakur Stevenson to Fighthype about his match against Nakathila on Saturday.

“Like he said, he’s going in there to knock me out. He said I won’t make it past the 11th round.

“With him, he’s going to come in there aggressive, trying to put some heat on me, but he’s going to work against himself.

Image: Shakur Stevenson: I want to break Jeremiah Nakathila

“That’s my main focus. I don’t know, I can’t really tell,” said Stevenson when asked if Nakathila is the most dangerous fighter he’ll have faced.

I will say that this is a dangerous fight because you don’t know what you’re dealing with.

“You watch the tapes, and you see he’s a big puncher, and he’s kind of tall, but you don’t know unless you get in the ring.

“I can punch too, so we’ll see. I don’t know. And I got to wait and see,” Shakur said when asked if Nakathila’s slugging style suits him best.

“It’s an awkward guy. It’s not as if it’s a normal style that you get ready for. He’s an African-owned heritage fighter, he’s coming in there throwing bombs, and you’ve got to be on the top of your game,” Stevenson said.

Nakathila is one of those guys that looks so relaxed in the ring, and then BAM, he lands something big. While Stevenson would like to break Nakathila down, he needs to be careful at all times. One false move on Shakur’s part, he’ll be counting stars on Saturday night.

This is an important fight for Nakathila, and you can imagine that he’ll be throwing every punch with knockout intentions.

It would be a mistake on Stevenson’s part to overlook Nakathila and assume the victory is in the bag based on his mediocre resume.

Shakur studied tape for this fight

“I don’t think he’s an undefeated fighter. I watched that fight [between Nakathila and Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016].

“And I think he was doing a lot of holding, and I think that was an ugly fight. And I don’t think he did enough. That’s how I feel about it,” said Shakur about Nakathila’s only career loss to Russian fighter Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016.

“And I watched some of the fight, but I didn’t watch all of it. From what I watched, it looked like he [Nakathila] was doing a lot holding, he was gassing out, but he did catch him with some good shots, though,” said Shakur.

“Like I said, we’ll see what he brings to the table,” said Stevenson of Jeremiah Nakathila. “I usually don’t watch tape, to be honest.

“This fight, I watched three or four rounds at the most. I know it’s a fighter I’ve never seen or heard of. It’s an unknown fighter, and I just wanted to see something.

“I got to get an idea of what I’m going in the ring against. Another thing, with all these knockouts, he never really fought anybody.

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“You see him [Nakathila] in the ring knocking a lot of bums out, but you don’t know if he can do that with a real fighter.

“I know he’s training hard and coming in there prepared. I’m also coming in prepared to do what I got to do,” said Stevenson.

It’s difficult to know any degree of certainty if Nakathila has improved since his loss to Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016.

Nakathila’s ten opponents since that loss have too poor to gauge if he learned from the loss. Chuprakov was able to use his superior boxing skills to outbox Nakathila and avoid eating too many of his big right hands.

It was still not an easy fight for Chuprakov, as he took massive punishment in earning a close 12 round split decision.

There’s a huge difference in skillset between Stevenson and Nakathila, so this could be an easy one if Shakur takes his time.

He’s got to be patient with Nakathila because this guy is accustomed to fighting fighters that come in wild, throwing power shots with knockout intentions.

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