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Stevenson schools Clary, wants Herring-Frampton winner

As expected, Shakur Stevenson thoroughly dominated fringe contender Toka Kahn Clary, earning a landslide points decision on Saturday night before calling for the winner of the WBO 130lbs title bout between champ Jamel Herring and Belfast’s Carl Frampton next year.

Former WBO featherweight champion Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) eased to victory at the ‘Bubble’ in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, with fellow southpaw Clary (28-3, 19 KOs) content to last the course.

“He knew how to survive. He came in there to survive and that’s what he did,” said Stevenson, the WBO’s No.1 contender at 130lbs.

“I want the WBO belt first. The winner of [Carl] Frampton and [Jamel] Herring have to come see me. After that, we want [WBC world champion Miguel] Berchelt.”

New Jersey’s Stevenson was in sparkling form, exquisitely mixing up shots to head and body in a one-sided affair with the capable Clary offering little in return. Punchstats claimed that Clary landed a mere 48 punches in the entire contest, which seemed a realistic statistic. The gifted Stevenson won on auto-pilot.

Stevenson is aiming to become a two-weight world champion in 2021.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.

On the undercard, Japanese warrior Masayoshi Nakatani overcame two early knockdowns to stun Puerto Rican contender Felix Verdejo in the ninth round in an incredible finale.

The chances of Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) looked slim when he was dropped in the first and fourth rounds and he trailed 78-72 (twice) and 77-74 on the cards before mounting an astonishing rally in the ninth.

Nakatani, whose only loss came on the cards against undisputed lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez in his previous bout in July 2019, hurt Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) with a right hand then drilled a stiff left hand through the Puerto Rican’s guard to send him crashing in a corner.

Despite beating the count, Verdejo did not look right at all and Nakatani finished him with a solitary right hand on resumption. Once touted as the next big thing from Puerto Rico, Verdejo’s career looks in tatters after a second stoppage defeat.

“I fought Lopez and I wanted to fight him again, and that’s why I kept going,” said Nakatani. “I want to go for the knockout like I did today, and that’s going to be my style.”

Nakatani (right) was a big winner in Vegas.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.

Super-middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga might well be that next big thing from Puerto Rico as he extended his first round KO streak to sixteen with a one-round win over Ulises Sierra.

Banger Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) swept Sierra aside with astonishing ease, dropping the Californian three times in another quick-fire outing. Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KOs) had never previously been stopped yet had no answer to the approaching tornado of blows.

“[I want] rounds. The better competition, the better opposition we fight, I believe we’re going to get those rounds in. We ended 2020 with a bang. 2021 is a big year for us, and I’m looking forward to it. Tito Trinidad was my idol. He still is. Just being with him opened up my eyes as to what boxing is about, the dedication, the focus, leaving the streets and the bad people alone.”

The streak continues: Berlanga blew away Sierra in the opener.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.

Meanwhile, light-flyweight contender Jesse Rodriguez (13-0, 9 KOs) KOed former world title challenger Saul Juarez (25-13-2, 13 KOs) in the second, courtesy of a left uppercut, whilst two-time Olympic gold medallist Robeisy Ramirez (6-1, 4 KOs) stopped Colombian Brandon Valdes (13-2, 7 KOs) on his feet in the sixth.

Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.