SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 9, 2020 – Olympic silver medalist and rising star Shakur Stevenson of New Jersey (14-0, 8 KOs) dominated Puerto Rican contender Felix “La Sombra” Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs), taking only 18 punches while delivering 118 power punches in six rounds during his first pro fight at super featherweight.
Stevenson had to work a little harder than expected, but after being aggressive throughout, he sealed his knockout victory with a vicious left hook to the liver of Caraballo at 1:31 of the sixth round.
“I came here to get him out of there, my mindset was to get him out of there,” said Stevenson. ”I hit him with everything I could early. I wobbled him a couple times, he took a lot of punishment. I realized the headshot wasn’t going to get him out of there. I went to the body. He opened up wide and I hit him with the shot.”
Promoters Top Rank Boxing went the extra mile to dress up the set with impressive lights and graphics to fill the MGM Grand Hotel’s main ballroom. It looked plenty flashy for TV audiences on ESPN. But Stevenson said he felt the absence of the fans and the strange lead-up to the fight.
“It’s a different atmosphere. Losing the weight was different, training was different, the training gym was different, I couldn’t be around nobody. Even fighting with no crowd, I was catching him with mean shots but not hearing no oohs and aahs,” laughed Stevenson.
Stevenson’s manager Andre Ward didn’t participate in the broadcast for his fighter’s appearance but later praised his performance. “He did everything he was supposed to do. He was patient. Carabello tried to test his mind and heart. He never panicked. He had a great selection of shots, very giving on the offensive side and stingy on the defensive side. He’s the total package and growing right before our eyes.”
Stevenson wore a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt and spoke on the nation’s reaction to the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officers.
“My people right now are out there protesting. People are trying to stand up for what’s right. I couldn’t really go out there and protest with them” due to the coronavirus testing protocol and isolation, explained Stevenson. “Now that the fight is over, I can stand up and protest with them.”
Jared Anderson displays diverse attack in KO win
Heavyweight Jared Anderson of Toledo (4-0, 4 KOs) showed fans why the 20-year-old prospect has plenty of admirers already, making quick work of Johnnie Langston of Sarasota, Florida (8-3, 3 KOs). Langston presented Anderson the most experienced opponent of his short career, but Anderson targeted the body of Langston and did plenty of damage in the first round. Langston was already on shaky ground coming out for Round 2, but Anderson stayed patient and kept going to the body. Once Anderson pinned Langston into the corner and started going to the head as well as the body, referee Jay Nady stayed close. He stopped the fight when Langston let the ropes hold him up at 1:57 of Round 2.
“I was happy to finally get a couple more rounds and get the experience of going a little farther into a fight,” said Anderson. “He landed a good uppercut, I need to look at that more, leaning in with my head.” Anderson credited being in a camp with other skilled fighters like Stevenson, Keyshawn Davis, and others for learning how to go the body. “Stay humble, keep working, be the best I can, listen to my coaches,” added Anderson.
Vianello: This win is for Italy
Italian born heavyweight Guido Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) maintained his clean slate with ease against Don Haynesworth of New Rochelle, New York (16-4-1, 14 KOs). At age 37, Haynesworth just never got his motor started and Vianello gave him no leeway at all. The sparring partner of Tyson Fury took Haynesworth out with a chopping right hand to the temple off a left jab at 2:16 of the first round.
“I try to change my distance, my jab up and down,” said Vianello. “I used a strong right hand and this is what I do now. This fight, I expected a man with more experience than me. But I feel good. I knew in this match, I could finish him in the first few rounds.” Vianello said he was pleased to put on a show for his fans at home in Italy, a nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m very happy because Italy needs to come back because of the virus, so I fight for my country,” said Vianello.
Middleweights Quatavious Cash of Atlanta (12-2, 7 KOs) and Calvin Metcalf of Kansas City, Missouri (10-4-1, 3 KOs) put on a fun six-round scrap, the only fight of the evening to go the distance. Cash won by unanimous decision. Scorecards were 60-55, 60-54, and 59-55.
Will Robeisy Ramirez and Shakur Stevenson tangle again someday?
Cuban two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs) kicked off the card and needed little time to stop Yeuri Andujar of the Dominican Republic (5-4, 3 KOs), scoring knockdown en route to a TKO win at 54 seconds of the first round. Ramirez dropped Andujar early in the opening round with an overhand left. Andujar beat the count, but Ramirez quickly knocked him down again with another overhand left, and referee Tony Weeks immediately stopped the fight.
This is the first time Ramirez has appeared on the same card as Stevenson, who he defeated in the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a gold medal. Does he see himself fighting his old foe someday? “He’s one of the best fighters in the world. I think Shakur Stevenson is a fight that will eventually happen in the future,” said Ramirez.
ESPN will return on Tuesday night with another card from the MGM Grand featuring top featherweight contender Jessie Magdaleno against Dominican puncher Yenifel Vicente in a 10-round main event.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Copyright © 2020 by Falcon Valley Group