In today’s world of youth boxing, a pair of Reading fighters are at the head of the class. David Stevens and Xavian Ramirez – both of whom represent East Reading Boxing Club – each won the championship in his respective weight class at the 2017 Junior Olympic Youth Open and Prep National Championships in Charleston, W.Va. The competition, considered the premier tournament for youth boxers in the United States, ran from June 26-July 1.
Both fighters are ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for the second time in their careers.
Ramirez, 16, fought at 125 pounds and defeated four opponents – one by knockout, three by unanimous decision – on his way to being named Outstanding Male Boxer of the tournament.
According to owner and operator of ERBC Andres Acuna and trainer Joe Pastore, Stevens has developed a reputation in the youth boxing community that has caused other fighters to avoid him at all costs.
As a result, all the fighters in his weight class moved up to super heavyweight and Stevens, 17, was awarded the championship at 201 pounds by walkover. He took one bout vs. Ty-Mari Sarvis, the eighth-ranked super heavyweight in the U.S., just so he could get a fight. Stevens knocked him out in the third round.
All bouts were three rounds, two minutes per round.
Stevens and Ramirez have combined to win 16 national championships thus far and, according to Pastore, they are the most successful amateur boxers Reading has ever produced.
“Andres and I believe Xavian and David will go on to become the most successful professional boxers to ever come out of the city of Reading, and will win multiple world titles in different weight classes,” Pastore said via email.
Both fighters have sparred hundreds of rounds with pro boxers such as former world champion Kermit Cintron (39-6-3) of Reading, two-time world champ Steve Cunningham (29-8-1) of Philadelphia and Stephen Fulton (11-0) of Philadelphia in preparation for their fast-approaching pro debuts.
According to Pastore, their collective performances in sparring at gyms in Philadelphia have drawn praise from longtime trainer Naazim Richardson, who has worked with former champions such as Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2) and Shane Mosley (49-10-1).
Stevens and Ramirez will attempt to keep their positive momentum going in December when they compete in the USA Boxing Elite and Junior National Championship and Junior Open in Salt Lake City.