Shakur Stevenson Cruises Past Toka Kahn Clary, Makes It Look Too Easy



Shakur Stevenson Cruises Past Toka Kahn Clary, Makes It Look Too Easy

LAS VEGAS (December 12, 2020) — The sensational Shakur Stevenson played the role of headliner and shined. Stevenson, the former featherweight world champion, secured a 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Toka Kahn Clary in the junior lightweight main event Saturday from the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), the WBO No. 1 junior lightweight contender, has a title shot on his brain, but he nonetheless laid a beating on Clary (28-3, 19 KOs). The scorecards — 100-90 across the board — were a formality.

Up next, if he gets his wish, is a shot at the WBO junior lightweight world title.

“He knew how to survive. He came in there to survive, and that’s what he did,” Stevenson said. “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.”

Nakatani Shocks Verdejo

Nakatani showed a flair for drama, coming back against Verdejo. (Photos by Mikey Williams for Top Rank/Getty Images)

Trailing big on the scorecards, Masayoshi Nakatani came from behind and earned the most significant win of his career.

Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) scored a pair of knockdowns in the ninth round to stop Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo in the ninth round of a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. Knocked down in the first and fourth rounds, Nakatani, in his first bout since a decision loss to Teofimo Lopez in July 2019, stormed back with a pair of knockdowns in the ninth to clinch the shocking stoppage.

Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) saw his four-bout winning streak come to an end, and at the time of the stoppage, he was leading on all three scorecards (78-72 2x and 77-74).

After the bout, a jubilant Nakatani set his sights on a rematch with Lopez, now the undisputed lightweight world champion.

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

Berlanga's Sweet 16

Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga did it again. The Brooklyn brawler knocked out Ulises Sierra in the first round, the 16th consecutive first-round knockout for the 23-year-old phenom. Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KOs), from San Diego, had never been knocked out as a professional, but he was cannon fodder. Berlanga knocked him down three times in the opening stanza, forcing referee Russell Mora to stop the bout at 2:40. 

Promoter Bob Arum enjoys the action on the Dec. 12 card topped by Shakur Stevenson, in Las Vegas.

Berlanga said, “{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.

Edgar Berlanga scored his 16th straight first round KO, on Dec. 12, 2020.


“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.”

 In undercard bouts:

Middleweight: Quincy LaVallais (10-0-1, 5 KOs) UD 8 Clay Collard (9-3-3, 4 KOs). Scores: 77-75 2x and 78-74. LaVallais upset cult favorite Collard over eight rounds, sweeping the last two rounds to earn the decision. Collard entered the fight 5-0 in 2020, but he was no match for the slick boxing of LaVallais. This was a rematch of a June 2019 draw, and LaVallais has now won three in a row since that disputed verdict.

Light Flyweight: Jesse Rodriguez (13-0, 9 KOs) KO 2 Saul Juarez (25-13-2, 13 KOs), 2:05. San Antonio product Rodriguez, 20, dominated the former two-time world title challenger, sending him to the canvas for the full 10-count with a left uppercut. Rodriguez has now won five straight fights via stoppage.

Featherweight: Robeisy Ramirez (6-1, 4 KOs) TKO 6 Brandon Valdes (13-2, 7 KOs), 2:49. Two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Ramirez authored the most complete performance of his career, becoming the first man to stop Colombian veteran Valdes. Referee Russell Mora deducted a point from Valdes in the sixth for low blows, and soon after the foul, Ramirez unloaded on Valdes in a neutral corner. Mora stepped in and halted the bout with 11 seconds remaining in the round. 

Featherweight: Haven Brady Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs) RTD 2 Michael Land (1-2, 1 KO). After two rounds of punishment, referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight in favor of Brady, an 18-year-old Top Rank signee from Albany, Georgia.

Welterweight: Kasir Goldston (2-0, 1 KO) TKO 2 Llewelyn McClamy (2-1, 1 KO), 1:35. Goldston notched the first stoppage of his young career, knocking down McClamy twice in less than two rounds of action. Goldston, 17, signed a professional contract with Top Rank earlier this year.