Shakur Stevenson underlined his star quality with a sparkling performance when he needed it, dominating WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring en route to a 10th round triumph at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Saturday night.
With the victory, Stevenson became a two-weight world champion, but perhaps more importantly the Newark, New Jersey southpaw illustrated that he may be a genuine force in boxing in the years to come after a safety-first showing against the unknown Jeremiah Nakathila drew criticism in June. Stevenson outfoxed and outfought his stiffest opposition yet with merciless efficiency.
“I wanted a fun fight, show my skills, my boxing, my power. I wanted to show everything tonight,” said a jubilant Stevenson afterwards. “I want to be a superstar in the sport; I’m here to last.
“There’s only one fight left [at 130lbs], the biggest fight in the division. [WBC champion] Oscar [Valdez] can’t keep ducking. There’s nothing else to look forward to.”
In control behind a majestic jab, a razor-sharp Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) opened up a cut over Herring’s left eye in the fifth and a much worse one over the right eye in the ninth.
Younger and faster, Stevenson ramped up the pressure in the 10th round with his fellow southpaw bleeding and disorientated, reeling off thudding, hurtful shots before referee Mark Nelson intervened with a demoralised Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) not firing back.
“I smelled blood. I saw he was bleeding and was like, ‘Okay, I have to attack the cut’. I was trying to touch the cut to make the doctor try and stop it,” said a ruthless Stevenson.
Ever the gentleman, the classy Herring added: “He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good. No excuses. He was just the better man tonight.”
Earlier, Puerto Rican 154lbs talent Xander Zayas (11-0, 8 KOs) scored a fourth-round win over the usually dogged Dan Karpency (9-4-1, 4 KOs) with the American’s corner halting the fight at the end of the session with their man badly bloodied and outgunned.
“I feel amazing. I stopped a guy that had not been stopped in eight years,” said Zayas. “I’m blessed to be here. I hope everybody enjoyed the show, and now it’s just back to the gym. Hopefully, I can get on that December 11 show in New York.”
Muhammad Ali’s grandson Nico Ali Walsh (2-0, 2 KOs) shrugged off some stiff right hands in the opener to drop James Westley II (1-1, 0 KO) in the second and again in the third before their middleweight fight was waved off.
“I know the crowd got excited seeing him land a punch, but I did not feel the punch. Maybe it was my energy, my adrenaline, but my hat’s off to him and his team. Mutual respect both ways, and it was a very good fight,” said Ali Walsh. “I’m blessed that I’m following the legacy of my grandfather. I thank everyone who loves my grandfather who’s watching me… I love this legacy that I’m continuing.”
A fighter from another famous heavyweight lineage also scored a stoppage win with Evan Holyfield, son of Evander, finishing Charles Stanford (6-4, 3 KOs) in the second round. 154-pounder Holyfield (8-0, 6 KOs) hurt Stanford with a left hook and dropped his foe with a right hand before the contest was halted.
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.