Jersey native Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs coming in) triumphed on Saturday night in Newark over Japanese underdog Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs entering) in a 12-round WBC lightweight title eliminator at Prudential Center, topping an ESPN/Top Rank presentation. Shakur looked strong and very comfortable as he landed clean in the sixth. The end, after knockdowns by Stevenson, in round two and four, came at 1:35.
Shakur, age 25, now living in Houston, Texas, looked comfortable in his first planned fight at lightweight. He looked out at a nearly full house (10,408) and smiled when ring announcer Mark Shunock said, “From Brick Cityyyyyy.” It's the highest-grossing boxing event at Prudential Center in Newark to date ($847,000).
Yoshino (16-0 with 12 KOs entering) grinned as he strode to the ring. Was he thinking as a happy tourist, pleased to get a fab trip to the US? Or was he optimistic for a reason, knowing his skill set would surprise to the upside?
Shakur the lefty used a paw jab, a sharper one now and again in the first. Yoshino edged on close right away, and looked to land his right to the body. No secret that Shakur is a master defender and rounds are fought at his pace.
In the second, Yoshino pressed more, meaning he got closer to SS. Too close—a counter left put Yoshino on his butt.
In the third, SS did what he wanted. They were foot to foot, the crowd liked the pace, and Yoshino’s aggression. In the fourth, we saw Yoshino stay looking to go at SS, even though he wasn’t being rewarded much. Down went the loser, off a right hand clipping hook. There were 20 seconds left in the session.
Yoshino ate more in the fifth. In round six, SS landed a mean left uppercut. And the ref, and all agreed on the stoppage, while the victor kept on chopping away.
This was a fan friendly style, good news for those of us who like volume and aggressive predation.
Here are stats: