SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 26, 2019 –Shakur Stevenson of New Jersey (13-0. 7 KOs) picked apart Joet Gonzalez of Los Angeles (23-1, 14 KOs) for 11 out of 12 rounds, winning the vacant WBO world featherweight title with ease on Saturday in Reno, Nevada.
The anticipated grudge match between the pair was expected to be a dogfight, especially given the backstory between Stevenson and Gonzalez, whose sister Jajaira has been dating Stevenson since the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Gonzalez family has made no effort to hide their dislike of Stevenson.
Instead, it was a clinic. Stevenson was too skilled. His footwork was solid, his hand speed left Gonzalez in the dust. Gonzalez couldn’t figure out how to get through Stevenson’s defense, and found himself unable to let his hands go. Even in the championship rounds when Gonzalez’s father and trainer Jose implored him to let his hands go, telling him he had to score a knockout to win, he could not execute.
Stevenson is the first 2016 Rio Olympics Team USA male fighter to win a world title. Claressa Shields is the first, winning the women’s middleweight title.
“This is a great feeling. One of the best feelings of my life,” said Stevenson. “I have a lot of respect for Joet. He is a great fighter. I have nothing against him. If he decides to be cool with me, I’ll be cool with him.”
Stevenson has his eye on another belt for his collection, calling out IBF champion Josh Warrington. “Josh Warrington! You are a champion, now I am a champion. Let’s do this! I want to unify titles.”
A demoralized Gonzalez and his team left the ring without speaking, but their silence spoke volumes about their disappointment. Stevenson urged the family to talk with their daughter and sister and make amends.
Undercard results: Mikaela Mayer stops Alejandra Zamora
Alejandra Zamora showed incredible toughness and bravery in the face of an all-out assault by super featherweight Mikaela Mayer, but Mayer’s offense was too much for the Argentinean fighter. After suffering a knockdown in the first round, and taking six more rounds of tough shots without buckling, Zamora’s trainer father finally stopped the bout, giving Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) a sixth-round TKO victory over Zamora (7-4, 1 KO).
“I am ready for the next challenge. I want a world title,” said Mayer. “I think that for the last two years I have shown that I am ready for a world title. I have shown it by easily dispatching all the fighters that have been put in front of me. I know I’m ready.”
Joshua Greer Jr. squeaks past a determined Antonio Nieves
Bantamweight contender Joshua ‘Night Night’ Greer Jr. of Chicago (22-1-1, 12 KOS) escaped Reno with his WBC Continental Americas title and the WBO NABO title in a narrow unanimous decision over Antonio Nieves of Cleveland (19-3-2, 11 KOs).
Nieves, who works full time as a bank officer, proved far tougher and more fundamentally sound than Greer Jr. If Nieves had more power, Greer Jr.’s infamous pillow would have come in handy. Nieves dropped Greer Jr. in the final round, but Greer Jr. managed to finish the fight. The Reno crowd booed the results, feeling Nieves won.
“I am a champion. I know how to win,” said Greer. “At the end of the day, I go home a winner, and he will go home a loser. I am ready for a world title opportunity. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, I will get the job done, and I will be victorious.”
Xander Zayas wins pro debut in short order
Impressive 17-year-old prospect Xander Zayas of Miami (1-0, 1 KO) looked far older and more experienced than his age would imply, dropping opponent Genesis Wynn twice with a laser strike of a right hand, causing referee Jay Nady to stop the fight at 1:24 of round one.
“I felt super great. Even though it was my pro debut, I was very relaxed and focused because I knew we had done the hard work in the gym,” said Zayas. “I just followed the game plan my team established. I have a great team around me. This is just the beginning.” It’s just one fight, and not even a round – but you’d be wise to keep your eye on Zayas.
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.
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