When he was young, Adonis Stevenson’s upbringing was as hard as his punches would eventually become.
He grew up fighting on the streets on Montreal, later turning his life around when he saved his fists for the boxing ring.
But Stevenson’s past still informs the present.
Now, when Adonis Stevenson talks about what it means to be a champion, he speaks as much about his life outside the ring as he does his actions within it.
“When you’re a champion, you are an example,” he says.
Heeding these words, Stevenson has started a tradition of visiting a local homeless shelter and serving food before he fights.
Earlier this week, Stevenson volunteered at Quebec City soup kitchen La Maison de Lauberiviere prior to his showdown Saturday with Sakio Bika.
“People recognize me and they are very surprised,” Stevenson says. “I come in with food. They love that. I take pictures with people and give out tickets to my fight. It’s very important to give to your community, to give to the kids because you—just you—can be a motivation to the people.”
Stevenson knows that his life could have ended up differently, that where he came from is probably not that far from removed from the lives of some of the less fortunate people he visits.
Because of this, he feels like his words and his actions can have added resonance.
In short: Stevenson’s been there.
But he was determined not to stay.
“People know I have a tough background,” he says. “I worked very hard and I said, ‘Hey, life was not easy for me. Now, look. I’ve got success. I met my goals.’"
“I think people love that story. When we see people in a bad position like that, they get a lot of motivation to work, to be their own success story.”