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Stevenson stops Herring in ten with breakout performance Saturday  

Written By | Oct 24, 2021
Shakur Stevenson (left) dominated champion Jamel Herring, winning the WBO World Super Featherweight title. Photo: MIkey Williams, Top Rank Boxing Stevenson stops Herring

Shakur Stevenson (left) dominated champion Jamel Herring, winning the WBO World Super Featherweight title. Photo: MIkey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

SAN DIEGO Calif., October 23, 2021 – Thank you, Tim Bradley. Shakur Stevenson of New Jersey (17-0, 9 KOs) said ESPN commentator and former world champion Bradley fired him up by calling him “boring.” It gave  Stevenson motivation for an impressive ten-round TKO win over champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring of Cinncinati (23-3, 11 KOs).

Stevenson is now the WBO World Super Featherweight champion.

“I want to be a superstar in the sport. I’m here to last. I had a strong camp. I have a strong team. They got me prepared for this,” said Stevenson. “I feel like Jamel Herrig is a great fighter. He’s tough, he’s real tough. He’s got great boxing skills. But it was my night.”

Stevenson, age 24, has consistently won praise for his slick defensive skills in the ring. But several of his last few fights, including against Jeremiah Nakathila in June, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist was content to succeed on cruise control.

The tough-as-nails US Marine Corps veteran Herring presented himself as a dangerous underdog, the one with the potential to show up Stevenson. Credit Herring for fanning the flames lit by Bradley, giving Stevenson enough of a potential challenge for the younger man to sharpen the saw and take it to the champion.

“Tim Bradley was criticizing me, calling me boring. I wanted a fun fight and to show my power. I showed everything tonight,” said Stevenson.

Leatherneck Herring can’t lay the leather on Stevenson

Shakur Stevenson (right) was too fast, accurate, and slick for Jamel Herring. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Herring’s best chance to win the bout was to make it ugly. Think Salido taking it to Lomachenko. Stevenson’s speed didn’t give Herring an opening, and he took so much incoming fire, Herring couldn’t ever reset. The only round where Herring had any success was in round five, but it was too little too late.

Herring is prone to cuts, and his face started showing damage by the third round. Stevenson rattled him several times, but he never stumbled and wasn’t seriously in damage from any single punch.

But in the ninth round, another cut opened over Herring’s left eye, and by the tenth round, referee Mark Nelson asked the ringside physician to look it over. The fight was allowed to continue, and Stevenson said later he literally “smelled blood” and targeted the cut. After a few hard shots, Nelson wisely waved off the fight. Herring would have gone out on his shield, but there was no point letting the 35-year-old veteran take more damage.

Herring apologized to everyone from his hometown, his camp, and the Marine Corps.

“I tried, I tried. He’s just sharp. He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good,” said Herring.

Herring said he knew he couldn’t play chess with Stevenson.

“I have to bite down, show that grit, and go with him.” Trainer Brian “Bomac” McIntire said they expected a more defensive version of Stevenson per his previous fights. “Younger, faster – he was sharp tonight,” said McIntire, praising trainer Kay Koroma and his team.

Unification fight ahead between Stevenson and Valdez; retirement for Herring?

Shakur Stevenson is heading for a unification fight with WBC champion Oscar Valdez. Photo: Mikey Williams,Top Rank Boxingv

Shakur Stevenson is heading for a unification fight with WBC champion Oscar Valdez. Photo: Mikey Williams,Top Rank Boxing

The animosity shown between Stevenson and Herring before the fight dissolved, with Herring the first to congratulate the new champion in the ring.

“He’s going to go take over and be great. No hard feelings, we’ve made up, and we’re friends. Shakur will do great things. He’s not a bad dude, he’s a good dude. I didn’t take it personal. I’ll enjoy being a fan watching from behind the scenes,” said Herring.

It may be where Herring remains. After a career-high payday, Herring has taken himself further than anyone expected. He will turn 36 next week, and with a promising career as a broadcaster and a family depending on him, he has no need to press forward. He made himself a world champion, and that will never change.

“My man Bomac wants me to wipe myself off and go back to the gym. I’ll go through hell and back. There’s no quit in me. No matter what adversity, I’ll push through anything,” said Herring.

But he said he needed to start looking out more for his family.

“I’ll put myself through hell and back, but at the end of the day, I have to think about the people who love me.”

Herring can walk away with pride after fighting for his country as a Marine and for his honor in the ring.

Promoter Bob Arum beamed after the fight concluded.

“A sensational performance from Shakur Stevenson, who showed why so many think he’s the future pound-for-pound king. Jamel Herring displayed the heart of a champion, but he was in there with an incredible fighter tonight.”

Arum gave Herring a chance when no one else was willing. Credit to Top Rank for getting the most out of both men.

A unification fight now looms with WBC champion Oscar Valdez. Stevenson can’t wait.

“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!”

Xander Zayas gives Puerto Rican fans hope for the future

Xander Zayas of Puerto Rico (left) has all the skills in place to become the next great champion from the boxing crazy island. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing Stevenson stops Herring

Xander Zayas of Puerto Rico (left) has all the skills in place to become the next great champion from the boxing crazy island. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Xander Zayas vs Dan Karpency

In the co-main event, 19-year-old Puerto Rican super welterweight Xander Zayas (11-0, 8 KOs) battered Dan Karpency of Pennsylvania (9-4-1, 4 KOs) with a barrage of power punches, including 36 body shots in four rounds, before Karpency told his corner and the referee “that’s it.”

Zayas enjoyed his national network debut.

“I stopped a guy that had not been stopped in eight years {as a pro}. I’m blessed to be here,” said Zayas. “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.”

On Saturday the ambitious young prospect fought for the fifth time in 2021.

Zayas provided a detailed assessment where he hopes to improve.

“In my last fight in September, we noticed that my left hand was a low a little too much, so this camp, we kept the elbows and shoulders up and tried to avoid that right hand. We knew he was going to come with those hooks, so we stayed low. Overall, I think I made an improvement. I showed I could adjust, and I hope everyone enjoyed it today.”

Zayas delivered an impressive array of shots, but his patience and maturity in the ring is more like a 29-year-old than a 19-year-old. Boricua boxing fans have gotten their hopes up over-promising talent only to be disappointed. Zayas may be the one to finally deliver for them. Stay tuned.

Nico Ali Walsh wipes out Westley for second pro win

Young middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali, won his second professional fight against James Westley II of Toledo (1-0) by TKO at 2:30 of round three.

Nico Ali Walsh has a decent offense, but his defensive skills leave him vulnerable to counterpunches as he drops the left hand while focused on landing his best weapon, the right hook. Walsh is being matched well with opponents who can hit him and expose these shortcomings without hurting him.

Walsh landed 42 of 153 total punches, against 20 of 121 punches for Westley.

“I’m happy this fight went the way it did,” said Walsh. “Of course, there’s stuff I’ve got to work on.”

Walsh said he didn’t feel Westley land punches on him.

“Maybe it was my energy, my adrenaline. Hats off to his team. He’s a good fighter.”

Err, okay.

Walsh is well aware all eyes are on him to see if the DNA of Muhammad Ali is alive with his grandson.

“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.”

Walsh noted trainer Sugarhill Steward being in a similar situation, carrying the mantle of uncle Emanuel Steward and the Kronk Gym.

“The special thing about Sugar, he’s got a legacy he’s continuing, and he broke the mold. It’s really beautiful I’m with him and his team.”

Whether or not he can develop even a fraction of the skills of his grandfather or not, Top Rank’s team will give trainer Sugarhill Steward every opportunity to work on it with Walsh.

Undercard results from Atlanta

Evan Holyfield has been quietly improving his skills away from the limelight, and he showed the results with an impressive second-round knockout win. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

The earlier undercard featured another young fighter from a famous boxing family, but their talent levels are worlds apart.

Super welterweight prospect Evan Holyfield (8-0, 6 KOs) didn’t make his father and former four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield sweat the outcome ringside. Holyfield took out Charles Stanford of Ohio (6-4, 3 KOs) at 30 seconds of the second round.

Holyfield put together an assured offense, breaking down Stanford in short order. He couldn’t finish things in the first round but got it done with a beautiful left hook to the head, followed by a right to the temple.

Easy work also for 2020 US Olympic Team middleweight Troy Isley of Alexandria, Virginia (3-0.  2 KOs)

Isley took out US Army Ranger veteran Nicholi Navarro of Denver (2-2, 2 KOs) at 2:48 of round one. Once Isley rattled Navarro with a good selection of power punches, he went to the body with a hard right, and the night ended for Navarro.

Underdog junior welterweight Eric Palmer of Pennsylvania (13-14, 1 KO) flipped the script to win a surprise decision victory over Georgia-based Roddricus Livsey (8-1-1, 5 KOs). Although undefeated, Livsey is 38 years old and turned pro in his mid-20s after a rough life.

Georgia native Haven Brady (4-0, 3 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over Roberto Negrete of Iowa (3-1, 1 KOs) in four rounds at featherweight. All three scorecards read 40 – 36, but Negrete put on a spirited fight and kept Brady honest in the effort.

Super lightweight Antoine Cobb of Chicago (1-0, 1 KOs) won his pro debut in under one minute with a knockout of Jerrion Campbell (2-2).


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer and award-winning journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.