JESSIE Cris Rosales is out to prove his doubters wrong when he faces former Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson on Jan. 18 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York.
“My dream as a boxer to fight in the US has finally been fulfilled,” Rosales told SunStar Cebu.
A lot of fans, including Filipinos, are doubtful of Rosales’ chances but the 27-year-old former World Boxing Association Oceania featherweight champion isn’t bothered by it at at all. He wants to score a huge upset against one of the fast-rising prospects in the US and make a name for himself among the mainstream fans in the US.
“Shakur is a strong fighter. Some members of a boxing Facebook page laughed at me but I have been preparing hard for this fight. I’m excited to return to the ring again,” he said. “I’m a major underdog in this fight. Even majority of the Pinoy boxing fans don’t believe in me. They say that I’m an easy fight for Shakur. But that’s okay, it’s their opinion and I respect that.”
Rosales believes that he has to score a knockout, just like he did in his previous fight against Ibrahim Balla, also an Olympian.
“I need a knockout so that I’ll make a name in US boxing. Shakur is famous and if I knock him out like what I did with Balla, it should be a huge upset,” he said.
Rosales shocked the hometown fans after he knocked out Balla in just two rounds last March 11 at the Grand Star Receptions in Altona North, Australia.
Rosales has been training at the Holiday Gym and Spa under trainer Eldo Cortes. He has been sparring with former ALA boys Mark Jason Melligen and James Bacon. He said he’ll be sparring with his close friend and interim WBA featherweight king Jhack Tepora after the Christmas break.
The 21-year-old Stevenson won the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, which caught the eye of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and even called him “The Next Mayweather”.
Stevenson made his pro debut last year and won all nine of his fights in less than two years. He is coming off a first round technical knockout of Viorel Simion.
Rosales is 22-1 with 10 knockouts, while Stevenson is 9-0 with five knockouts. EKA