Asa Stevens is the fighting pugilistic pride of Hawaii, who seemed destined to seek gold at the 2020 Olympics.
But the goal and the brand of gold looks to have shifted, after Stevens withdrew from the Olympic qualifier tourney in Oxnard, CA Wednesday.
And, according to young gun manager Tim VanNewhouse, he will be helming Asa’s path moving forward.
And that means dipping toes, and fast hands, into the pro waters.
Stevens’ head trainer Nito Tangara, we hear, made the final decision to have young Asa stop peeling down to make 114.
The pro game, and 118 pounds, that’s the pathway for the Hawaiian.
‘I’ve been supporting Asa during his Olympic endeavors and we all felt he was the best 114 pounder in the world, not just America. It’s tough to swallow, but things like this happen,” VanNewhouse said.
“I suggested after Asa won the National Golden Glove title this year at 125 pounds, that he stay at that weight class and not drop back down to 114. However. he was afraid of the politics of USA boxing,” VanNewhouse, part of the Split-T management company, continued.
Stevens is extending apologies to backers and family and fellow fighters—-but we hear is also jazzed about the switch of plans.
Fans will see a 5-5 lefty who is a crafty boxer, who’ll crack you with counters. He’s been boxing since 2010 and calls Waianae his home. Foes might not care he’s the 2018 Youth World Gold Medalist – the first from our region to do it since Shakur Stevenson at 114…but will be cognizant of his right uppercut and effective hooks to the body.
Note, attesting to a genetic component to Asa’s gifts; Max Holloway, the UFC Featherweight Champion, is his cousin.
VanNewhouse was asked—-how good can Asa get, as a pro? “Asa is a good boxer. He counterpunches extremely well and packs a decent punch for his size,” the manager stated, no doubt pondering that 118 pound division on the day Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire combined to thrill watchers round the world. “He has blistering hand speed and a big hook. His counter-punching is special and he can fight from all ranges. I predict he’s going to make a good transition into the professional ranks. He has all the tools I look for in a young amateur!”