Curtis Stevens vs Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam Preview Oct. 1
American middleweight Curtis Stevens will be taking on former WBO titleholder Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam of Cameroon in an IBF elimination bout this Wednesday, October 1 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the USA on ESPN2. Fans in Canada can catch the action later on that night on a tape-delay basis on TSN. The winner of this bout is in line for a crack at IBF Champion Sam Soliman of Australia, who is scheduled to meet Jermain Taylor on October 8.
The 29-year-old Stevens of Brownsville, New York, will be looking for his third consecutive knockout and will be entering the ring with a record of 27-4 along with 20 Kos. His last bout took place back in April when he stopped the previously undefeated Tureano Johnson in the 10th round. Before that he knocked out Patrick Majewski in 46 seconds two months earlier. However, most fans may know Stevens got his gutsy performance in an eighth round TKO to WBA Champion Gennady Golovkin in November of last year.
Stevens said he learned a lot in the loss to Golovkin, such as just letting his hands go instead of thinking too much in the ring. He remarked that he was looking for the perfect shot against the champion, but still feels he gave Golovkin a pretty good run for his money. Stevens had won four fights in a row before meeting Golovkin with three of them coming by way of stoppage. So overall, he’s won six of his last seven and five of them by knockout.
The 30-year-old N’Jikam will climb through the ring ropes with an impressive record of with 30-1 with 18 Kos to his name. The native of Africa now fights out of France and he’s won three in a row. He lost his WBO crown at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York to Peter Quillin by a unanimous decision in October of 2012 in his first bout in the US. He rebounded 14 months later from his one and only defeat to beat Anthony Fitzgerald by a unanimous decision last December and then stopped Ricardo Marcelo Ramallo in the fourth round in February. Just two months after that he beat Fulgencio Zuniga by a unanimous decision at the Barker Hangar.
Stevens said he was impressed with N’Jikam when he lost to Quillin even though he was dropped to the canvas half a dozen times, but he didn’t think he performed well against the 37-year-old Zuniga. N’Jikam claimed that he wasn’t in top shape against Quillin due to mouth surgery prior to the fight. Stevens is 5-feet-7-inches tall while N’Jikam is 5-feet-11 and the African says he’s going to take advantage of the height difference. He also says he’ll use his boxing skills against Stevens, who he considers to be more of a slugger. Stevens, on the other hand, would rather the fight not go the distance and he believes N’Jikam won’t be able to stand up to his power.
When it comes to experience, N’Jikam turned pro back in 2004. He’s fought mainly in France and other than Quillin and Zuniga he hasn’t face many recognizable opponents. Stevens also turned pro back in 2004 and has lost to Golovkin, Marcos Primera, Andre Dirrell, and Jesse Brinkley. The only other man to stop him was Primera. He’s also fought Darnell Boone, Saul Roman, and Derrick Findley.
N’Jikam has the edge in boxing skills and height, but Stevens has more power and a better chin even though he’s been stopped twice. He also seems to have the edge in determination as he’s a buzz saw in the ring and is quite relentless. N’Jikam could possibly outbox him, but it’s going to be a tough job to stop Stevens. On the other hand, a Stevens knockout wouldn’t be a surprise due to an accumulation of non-stop punching if he can trap N’Jikam on the ropes or in a corner. Look for Stevens too eventually stop N’Jikam in the second half of the bout.
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