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Shakur Stevenson Puts On a Dominant Performance, Captures WBO Title From Jamel Herring

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Well, here he is… If you’ve been waiting for Shakur Stevenson to arrive, isn’t this what you desired? Stevenson, out of Newark, NJ, put on the type of performance against Jamel Herring that everyone knew he could put together but was waiting for from the fighter who has been battling negative critiques from his last outing.

The 24 year old poured it on in the tenth round, as a cut over Herring’s left eye had started to bother him, and his energy lagged. The referee stopped the fight, at 1:35 of the tenth, as Stevenson tossed shots at Herring, and he felt the proud Marine was taking too much punishment at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

In the first round, the younger Stevenson was quicker on the draw than the champion Herring. It was a tactical round, and they both were in the feeling-out mode.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

The second round provided more action as Stevenson landed a big right hook that caught Herring’s attention. Shakur felt as though there was an opening, and he kept throwing combinations at will. Herring didn’t seem to have an answer to any of the combinations.

In the third round, Shakur Stevenson’s speed was starting to become a factor in this fight. The lead right jab was being followed by fast two to three-punch combinations. Herring had no answers and seemed as if he was beginning to get frustrated.

The fourth round displayed more of the same as the speed of Stevenson was just too much for the 35-year-old Herring. Jamel was sticking to the game plan and working the jab along with the body, but it didn’t seem to be enough during this round.

In the fifth, Herring started to get going, and he landed a left hook in close proximity that started a late-round rally for him. Shakur seemed to take the round off while Jamel was trying to gain some momentum.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

In the sixth round, the tide changed once again as Shakur got back into his rhythm and landed fast, crisp combinations while Herring tried his best to keep up.

Round seven was in the trenches as most of it was spent in close. Both men were unleashing hard body shots with a ton of torque and bad intentions behind them. But as the previous rounds showed, the younger Stevenson got the best out of the exchanges.

The eighth round was more of the same, and frustration started to settle for Herring by this point. More holding and missing on counter-punching opportunities because of the head movement by Shakur.

Round nine wasn’t too eventful as both men seemed to take the round off. Towards the end of the round, both men opened up.

In the tenth round, Herring’s eye cut started to bother him, and Shakur was teeing off on him. The referee saw enough and called a halt to the action.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

In his post fight interview, the new WBO Super Featherweight Champion had this today about his victory “I want to be a superstar in the sport. I’m here to last. I take my craft very seriously. I’m disciplined.” Shakur then discussed his future and said “There’s only one fight left at the end of the day. It’s the biggest fight at the end of the day. Oscar {Valdez} can’t keep ducking. It’s time for him to fight. There’s nothing else to look forward to. The 130-pound division needs to unify. Let’s get it!”

Ali! Ali! Ali!

The ESPN telecast opened with Nico Ali Walsh (1-0), trained SugarHill Steward, versus James Westley II. Ali worked the first round cautiously while he looked for ways to create openings. The left hook to the body was that punch, and at the end of the second round, Ali landed a straight right hand that scored the first knockdown of the fight. In the third round, Ali kept pressing and landed another straight right hand which sent Westley II to the canvas for the second time. Westley did get up, but his corner threw in the towel ending this one in a TKO victory for Nico Ali Walsh.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

After the fight, Nico had this to say: “I know the crowd got excited seeing him land a punch, but I did not feel the punch. Maybe it was my energy, my adrenaline, but my hat’s off to him and his team. Mutual respect both ways, and it was a very good fight.” Nico continued, “I’m blessed that I’m following the legacy of my grandfather. I think everyone who loves my grandfather who’s watching me… I love this legacy that I’m continuing.”

Xander Zayas shows growth in TKO victory!

The move to junior middleweight started a little bumpy, but it seems like the 19-year-old Puerto Rican prospect Xander Zayas is beginning to figure it out. He immediately started the fight vs. Dan Karpency  using the jab and dictating the action. His defense was tighter, and his “up and under” movement was more fluid than his last fight.  In the second round, the right uppercut and the left hook combo were giving Karpency (9-3-1) a ton of issues. Xander was busting him up, and in the third round, the left hook to the body was setting up multiple combinations by Zayas. Dan’s corner saw the damage their fighting was taking, and before the start of the fourth round, they decided to call the fight. Xander Zayas picks up another impressive victory and remains a natural candidate for the prospect of the year.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

After the fight, Xander Zayas smiled ear to ear and said, “My debut on ESPN, I feel amazing. I stopped a guy that had not been stopped in eight years {as a pro}. I’m blessed to be here. I hope everybody enjoyed the show, and now it’s just back to the gym. Hopefully, I can get on that December 11 show in New York.”

My Three Cents:

Tonight we saw a new star born in Shakur Stevenson and the Super Featherweight division has some exciting fights ahead within Top Rank. Are we finally going to see Shakur face Oscar Valdez? Only time will tell but if they book it, that is going to be a very interesting fight. Also, Xander Zayas is making a hard push in the second half of 2021 onto more and more radars.

You can follow me on Twitter @abeg718 and follow @NyFights on Instagram.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, Abe grew up in a family who were and still are die-hard boxing fans. He started contributing boxing articles to NYF in 2017. His club show pieces allow fans to see who is next on the horizon, and his training camp check ins are much anticipated. Abe can be found on twitter @abeg718.

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