The first ShoBox card of 2023 will take place on January 20, Showtime announced Tuesday.
Sean Hemphill and David Stevens will square off in a clash of unbeaten super middleweight prospects.
The eight-round bout will take place at the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and will headline a three-bout ShoBox telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
“We enter our 22nd year of ShoBox with a card that features six undefeated boxers who all had solid amateur backgrounds,” said Gordon Hall, executive producer for ShoBox: The New Generation. “To have two young American standouts in our main event with Sean Hemphill and David Stevens facing each other this young in their careers just shows their yearning to take that step up. It’s the goal and desire of all these young fighters to turn from prospect to contender and we give them that chance and set the stage on ShoBox.”
The clash between Hemphill and Stevens has been in the works for the last several weeks. The fight was originally scheduled for October, but fell through during fight week due to an injury.
Hemphill (14-0, 8 knockouts), who resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, was set to make his ShoBox debut in February against Joe George, but had to withdraw from the fight after suffering an injury during training camp. Hemphill has not fought since January 7, defeating Jeyson Minda by unanimous decision.
The 27-year-old is eager to finally fight on a platform like ShoBox, where he believes he can make a statement at the expense of Stevens.
“I am excited for the opportunity to fight on a big platform like Showtime,” said Hemphill, who is managed by Adam Glenn and trained by James ‘Buddy’ McGirt. “I have envisioned this for a long time, and it’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to make my ShoBox debut in 2022. I have been hungrier than ever to display my skills and talent. I don’t know much about Stevens, but I am focused on what I have to do and handling business. A win will elevate me in every way possible. It is going to open people’s eyes and open the door for bigger fights and opportunities.”
Stevens (11-0, 8 KOs) also has a top trainer in his corner in Ronnie Shields. In his last bout on July 23, Stevens stopped Loris Barberio in the second round. The win over Barberio took place eight weeks after Stevens stopped journeyman Colby Courter in the opening round.
The 22-year-old may be young and has not reached his peak as a fighter, but is confident his skill-set can earn him a victory over Hemphill.
“I am excited and anxious and ready to fight and show my talent to the world,” said Stevens, who resides in nearby Reading. “When the fight was canceled, I was disappointed because we could not get another opponent on short notice. I think Hemphill is decent. He is not better than me. A win will elevate me and open more doors for other opportunities. Fighting on ShoBox is very motivating and it makes me push harder in camp.”
Atif Oberlton (7-0, 6 KOs), an amateur standout from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will face Russia’s Artem Brusov (12-0, 11 KOs) in an eight-round light heavyweight bout.
In the opening bout of the telecast, junior lightweight Julian Gonzalez (8-0-1, 8 KOs), who also resides in Reading, will square off against Rosalindo Morales (9-0, 2 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Morales, a former Marine, is originally from San Antonio and now resides in the Pittsburgh area.
The three-bout card will be promoted by Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]