FightPost Boxer of the Week: Shakur Stevenson
By Gary Kittilsen
Finally, boxing has returned in the USA for the first time since March 13th. Top Rank aired two major cards that were televised on ESPN.
The main event of Tuesday night’s card featured a series of one-sided mismatches. Despite the less than stellar matchmaking one young star shined brightest of all.
In what was perhaps the most impressive performance of his blossoming career Shakur Stevenson put on an absolute boxing clinic over six rounds in taking apart Felix Caraballo of Puerto Rico, to run his record to a perfect to 14-0 (8) and pick up his first win and stoppage as a super-featherweight as well captured our Fighter of the Week award.
Living and training in isolation for weeks leading up to fight night Stevenson was eager to start quickly in his 130-pound debut fight. The Newark native did just that. Lighting up Caraballo with three and four punch combinations.
The outmatched Puerto Rican opponent was game, coming forward and bringing the fight to the quicker and more skilled Stevenson and tried to get to the body of the slick southpaw. Despite Caraballo landed a few clean shots early it was largely one-way traffic. Stevenson knocked Caraballo to a knee in the opening round.
That was a sign of things to come. Stevenson dominated throughout landing pinpoint accurate combinations at will. Staggering his opponent with a perfectly placed uppercut towards the end of the fifth round and concluding the one-way traffic in round six.
Stevenson landed a perfectly placed left hand to the solar plexus that left Carabello on all fours bringing in referee Tony Weeks to step in and call a halt to the bout.
“I came here to get him out of there. My mindset was focused on getting him out of there. I hit him with everything I could early. I wobbled him a bunch of times. He took a lot of punishment, and I started realizing that the headshots wasn’t gonna get him out of there. So, I started going to the body more He opened up wide, and I caught him with a clean punch.” Stevenson said following the fight.
For his super-featherweight debut, Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, entered the ring for Tuesday’s fight as a remarkable 100-1 favorite.
If Stevenson has left the featherweight division for good, which is a real possibility, a showdown with IBF featherweight champ Josh Warrington won’t be on the docket in the immediate future.
However, the 130-pound division will offer no shortage of interesting fights. A scrap with WBO titleholder Jamel Herring would represent an interesting New York vs New Jersey match-up and would be high-level boxing at its finest.
A game of high-speed chess between two former Olympians. It would also easy to make as both are with Top Rank, as is WBC kingpin Miguel Berchelt. In addition to the interesting in-house Top Rank bouts, Stevenson has been actively calling out WBA champ Leo Santa Cruz for a potential showdown.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank