There’s a new entrant to the existing logjam among elite fighters in the lower weight divisions, and last weekend, he made his entrance in an emphatic and convincing manner.
Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9KOs) challenged reigning and defending Jamel Herring (23-3, 11KOs) and gutted it out to eventually come out the victor in the 10th round and become a two-weight division champ.
THE FIGHT. In the first round, Shakur immediately established himself to be out for blood as he came out aggressively, trying to walk down the defending champion.
By the second round, he was landing more frequently, punishing Herring with jabs and left hooks.
In the third, Herring’s face was already showing the effects of Shakur’s power boxing. To his credit, Herring was in the thick of things, jabbing and throwing straight lifts but he was just being outworked by the younger man.
Herring’s best rounds came in the 4th and 5th as he landed several straight lefts and was able to rough up Shakur, but the latter started to take control in the middle rounds as he was able to time his forays and land effectively.
There was a lot of holding and grabbing in the 8th and 9th rounds, but Shakur was still able to win the rounds by landing the cleaner, eye-catching punches.
In the 10th round, action was momentarily stopped as the ref took a look at a cut on Herring’s eye. When action resumed, Shakur picked up where he left off, landing several clean head shots.
Halfway through the round after several unanswered punches, the ref decided he’d seen enough and called for the denouement of the fight.
SHAKUR. Entering the fight, there had been a lot of doubts about Shakur’s capacities at the elite level, but this fight showcased his offensive artillery and acumen.
Herring was no pushover and held wins over Masayuki Ito and Carl Frampton, but Shakur was able to control his taller and bigger opponent.
Potential matchups down the line for this 24-year-old champion could be against Teofimo Lopez who is the undisputed king at the lightweight division, or against Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney.
If Shakur elects to stay at 130 lbs, a unification bout with Oscar Valdez looms ahead which could be huge for the division.
LAST ROUNDS. It’s on Janet Siu-Fernandez, now based in Jacksonville Florida, who celebrates her birthday this week. Cheers!