Shakur Stevenson successfully becomes two-division champion!
In only this fourth bout in the super featherweight division, “Fearless” Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KO’s) has once again become a world champion. The New Jersey kid obtained his first title, the WBO featherweight, by outclassing division rival Joet Gonzalez en route to a twelve round unanimous decision win. The only drawback to the victory for Stevenson, 24, was the fact he captured a vacant title. In this second attempt at a world title, Stevenson forced a tenth round TKO of the current WBO super featherweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (23-3, 11 KO’s). Had Herring been successful, the prizefight would have stood as the fourth defense of the belt that he won from Masayuki Ito back on May 25, 2019.
Jamel Herring, 35, entered the bout coming in confidently following his career-best win over Carl Frampton. Despite being viewed as the underdog, Semper Fi not only defeated Frampton, he stopped him in the sixth round of their affair. Across the ring, Stevenson was fresh off his twelve round whitewashing of Jeremia Nakathila. With that win, Fearless became the interim WBO super featherweight champion. Ironically, both men would have preferred to fight WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez. Now that he is a 130-pound champion, there is little doubt that Stevenson will resume his pursuit of Valdez with an all new vigor.
TOO YOUNG, TOO FAST
While there was not a terrible amount of offense, there was no doubt that Stevenson dominated the opening round. Each fighter sough to establish their range but it was Fearless who repeatedly pumped his jab into Herring’s face. For his part, Semper Fi appeared just a tad frazzled and uncertain of what to do. The situation got exponentially worse for Herring in the second. Instead of simply a jab, Stevenson began landing hooks, straight lefts and body shots at all will. Meanwhile Herring was hesitant, biting on every feint and completely without any proper response.
Fearless opened the third with a series of hard head-combination shots that were having a notable effect on Herring. Now the champion was beginning to swell around his eyes and bleed from his nose. Semper Fi tried to fend him off but was not the most effective in that effort. Herring enjoyed his best round thus far in the fourth. Finally, Semper Fi was coming forward and applying more pressure on the challenger. While he did do better, it was not nearly enough to claim the period.
AND THE NEW!!
After eating some of the biggest shots of the night, Jamel Herring seemed to draw his line in the sand. As a result, during the final minute, Semper Fi pushed forward against all odds and scored with a few meaningful shots for this trouble. Stevenson followed up the mildly successful round for Herring by counterpunching and picking the champ to death. The difference in hand speed was a critical portion of the challenger’s success.
Very little changed about fight dynamics as the bout transitioned into the second half of action. Herring was visibly trying harder but he was not a great deal more effective. He was still connecting with fewer punches, not dominating and clearly down on points. To make matters worse, Semper Fi was contending with a significant cut over his right eye.
Then, somewhat inexplicably, Mark Nelson arbitrarily hopped in and abruptly stopped the fight in the tenth round. At the point that Nelson jumped in, no solid punch had even landed, making this one of the worst stoppages in a while. Regardless of the distasteful way in which the fight ended, this was a wonderful performance for Shakur Stevenson, who will no doubt set after WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez with a gusto.
By: Bakari Simpson