Sometimes another fighter’s bad luck is your good fortune.
Stephan Shaw was scheduled to face fellow heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello on a card headlined by a fight between hulking contender Efe Ajagba and Oscar Rivas on Saturday night in Verona, New York (ESPN, ESPN+).
However, Rivas had to pull out a few weeks before the event because of an eye injury. That resulted in the biggest opportunity in the career of Shaw, who has yet to face a big-name opponent in his decade-long career.
“I was just rolling through social media I looked at BoxingScene.com and saw that Rivas pulled out of fight,” Shaw said at a news conference Thursday. “My people hit me up and asked me, would I want to be a replacement? I said abso-f—ing-lutely.
“Excuse my French but that’s what I said. The fight was made. And here we are.”
Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs) followed his grandfather (trainer) and father (boxer) into the sport. He was one of the best amateur heavyweights in the early 2010s before turning pro in 2013.
The 6-foot-4 boxer-puncher from St. Louis has maintained a perfect record but you probably aren’t familiar with many of his opponents. And the fight on Saturday will be only his second scheduled 10-rounder, which is unusual for someone who has been around as long as Shaw.
That’s why he jumped at the chance to fight Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) in a main event on ESPN and ESPN+.
“I’ve got God on my side,” he said. “God makes all the situations that I have faced in my entire career and he has made it work. I have faced adversity that the average man wouldn’t be able to deal with. Coming from St. Louis, beating the odds and being on this stage to have my moment. I feel great. I’m excited.”
“I’m a third-generation fighter. I’m looking to become a world champion. Saturday night I’m going to make my mark.”