The revolution will be televised. With the eyes of the boxing world upon him, Shakur Stevenson did not disappoint, scoring a sixth-round knockout of Puerto Rican contender Felix Caraballo in the first major fight card in America since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

WBO featherweight champ Stevenson was making his first foray into the 130lbs division, with his eye on its champions including Joseph Diaz Jr. and Leo Santa Cruz, and finished Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs) with a brutal body attack in the sixth of a scheduled 10-rounder at the MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas.

Everything about this fight week was different. After my last fight was cancelled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans,” said Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), who boxed behind closed doors with no fans present in the arena, in line with the current safety measures. “He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”

Stevenson (right) shone on boxing’s return. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum added: “What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson. He keeps on getting better and, rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar.”

Stevenson (right) is presented as the winner by veteran referee Tony Weeks.
Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.

In other action, heavyweight hope Jared ‘The Real Big Baby’ Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs) wore down Johnnie Langston (8-3, 3 KOs) before a furious barrage ended things at 1:55 of the third round. Anderson was extended past the first round for the first time in his career.

“He took some good shots. He was a tough opponent. I did what I wanted to. I did some stuff I didn’t want to do. I got caught with a good shot. It didn’t hurt me, but I definitely got caught with it,” said Anderson. “I know a different opponent could hurt me with a shot like that. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what I did wrong. This wasn’t what I expected, but it was a great experience. I’m happy I got the opportunity to showcase my talents on ESPN at such a young age.”

Another heavyweight starlet, Guido ‘The Gladiator’ Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs), knocked out Don Haynesworth (16-4-1, 14 KOs) in the opening round, the fourth first-round stoppage of Vianello’s career. A right hand knocked Haynesworth down when referee Jay Nady stopped the bout.

“It was an interesting experience. I spent three days relaxing in my hotel room, but everything went according to plan,” said Vianello. “I knew the right hand would be there, so I worked to set up that shot. I could not have asked for anything more.”

Meanwhile, Cuban Olympic gold medallist Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs) notched his third consecutive win, knocking out Yeuri Andujar (5-4, 3 KOs) in the opening round. Referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the contest after Andujar was knocked down for a second time. 

“It was an honour to be the first fight back and I am proud of the performance I gave tonight. My pro debut is long behind me, and I am progressing with every fight. I hope to return shortly,” said Ramirez. “I have a great trainer in Ismael Salas, who continues to add dimensions to my game. He is the man to lead me to a world title.”

In the other bout on the show, middleweight Quatavious Cash (12-2, 7 KOs) rolled to a six-round technical decision over Calvin Metcalf (10-4-1, 3 KOs) after an accidental head clash opened a cut over Metcalf’s eye. The scorecards were 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55.

Main image: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.