When you think of Hawaii, images of sunny beaches, warm water and pineapples come to mind. Fighters, not so much…
Boxing isn’t a hot sport there but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fighters developing in the Pacific.
In comes Asa Stevens, who is making his pro debut next Saturday.
Asa is from Hawaii and he signed to Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year. I checked in with the 20 year old bantamweight to see what he’s all about, only days away from his first fight.
AG: Asa, thank you for taking the time to do this while you prepare for your pro debut. Can you give the readers a quick bio blast on where you’re from and your upbringing?
AS: I’m from Waianae, HI and it’s cool out here. Everyone thinks that Hawaii is perfect and living their best life out here but it’s just like anywhere else. There are places with poverty and that is kind of where I’m from. That’s why we have a lot of talent out here because people are really trying to work to make it out of here. I have two older brothers and I lived with my mother on a different island. I grew up with just my mother (single parent) until I was ten years old. Everything was good in school but then I moved to Oahu to live with my Grandma. She started raising me from ten on. I was raised by two women and no father.
AG: At what age were you first introduced to boxing and how did it all occur?
AS: When I moved to Oahu, I lived across the street from a boxing gym so I figured I would check it out. My brother used to train there when he was younger and earned a couple of belts, so I wanted to be like him. I walked across the street to the gym that first time and since then, I have not stopped training.
AG: What was your personal experience working through the amateur system? There has always been mixed feelings about it so I would like for you to give me your take on it.
AS: The amateur system was cool especially when I was on the USA boxing team, which was a great experience. I was traveling all around the world and getting to fight people from different countries. There were a lot of politics involved and fighters getting ripped off, which wasn’t cool. Other than that, it was a great experience being able to travel around the world and train out of the Olympic Training Center.
AG: With that experience as an amateur, was there an opportunity to go to the Olympics or were you focused on turning pro?
AS: The plan to go pro came right after the Golden Gloves. I was still trying to go to the Olympics but at the Qualifiers, I was sick and when I was fighting, I did not feel good. After that, we just continued to go on the path of going pro.
AG: You turned pro, got together with Split-T as your manager and signed with Golden Boy Promotions. I’d like to know how you ended up signing with GBP and not with any other company?
AS: The main reason we went with GBP was because of me living here in Hawaii. GBP is in California, which is closer to me and that made the most sense.
AG: Currently, you live and train out of Hawaii. In saying that, do you feel as though you can give boxing your undivided attention without the distractions of being at home?
AS: I’m definitely able to focus. There are a lot of distractions, but I don’t pay attention to it and I do my own thing. Everything in my life is eat, sleep and train.
AG: Hawaii isn’t considered a hotbed for boxing. Do you feel that you are able to get adequate training there to prepare for a fight? Have there been discussions about maybe holding your camp in the future elsewhere?
AS: Right now, I feel like training here fits well with me. There is a lot of great sparring here and MMA fighters that give me different looks. In the future, we will look at maybe moving the training camp elsewhere or fly in sparring partners.
AG: Let’s talk about your debut. You are on a card that features Ryan Garcia going up against Luke Campbell. Do you know who your opponent is?
AS: My opponent is Francisco Bonilla (6-8-3). We’ve seen him on Boxrec and have watched a video that is out there on him.
AG: Do you have any thoughts or expectations coming into your pro debut?
AS: There are a lot of expectations being this is my first pro bout. I do feel the pressure to perform well as there is going to be a lot of people watching. I want to answer all questions and show the people the fighter that I am, and the one GBP signed.
AG: What should fans expect from you on fight night and where can they follow you on social media?
AS: Fans can expect a dominating, spectacular performance and nothing less than that. You can follow me on Instagram @asa.stevens.
My Three Cents:
I am very interested in seeing the debut of Asa Stevens. Many at GBP are high on him and feel like he has the tools to become a special fighter. It’s his pro debut so let’s see what all of the talk is about on January 2nd when he fights live on DAZN.