Raymond Ford says Shakur Stevenson has been a role model to him and admits he has learnt huge amounts from the former WBO Featherweight world champion, ahead of his return in Hollywood on Saturday.
Unbeaten Featherweight, Ford (6-0, 2 KOs) fights Rafael Reyes on the undercard of Devin Haney’s WBC Lightweight world title defence against Yuriorkis Gamboa on Saturday on DAZN, the first opponent he’s faced with a winning record.
And ‘Savage,’ who has sparred world class names like former IBF Super Featherweight champion, Tevin Farmer, unified Lightweight world champion, Teofimo Lopez ahead of his win over Vasiliy Lomachenko and the aforementioned, Stevenson, says he has learnt the most from the 23-year-old, who has supported him since he was an amateur.
Ford has also shared the ring with unbeaten Welterweight Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, who he described as “the real deal.”
Speaking exclusively to proboxing-fans.com, Ford said:
“I learnt the most from Shakur, he’s been giving me mad advice since I was an amateur, he’s been showing mad love since I was an amateur.
“He’s somebody I looked up to when I was an amateur”
“He was real, real hands on with me. Even when I was turning pro I texted him for advice to see if I was doing the right thing.
“He is more of a friend and a big brother kind of more than him being a sparring partner.”
Ford, who has turned his life around following a troubled childhood which saw him end up in a juvenile detention centre, is looking to build on his amateur success, where he won the National Golden Gloves and secured a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing USA.
The 21-year-old is already targeting a future meeting with amateur rival Marc Castro, who has also turned over with Matchroom and is keen to face compatriot Sean Garcia, younger brother of Ryan Garcia, should he beat Reyes on Saturday.
“I want to fight him [Sean Garcia] now,” Ford added.
“There’s been a lot of talk going on. To be honest I don’t think he’s that good to where we got to build a fight up.
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“He can build his skills up during his time, but still honestly I don’t think he’s going to last long.
“I don’t want nobody else to beat him, that’s why I want to fight him so bad. I want to be the first person to beat him.”
Watch the full interview with Raymond Ford below: