Shakur Stevenson’s lightweight debut as a dominant display, as he battered Shuichiro Yoshino en route to a sixth round TKO victory.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KO) scored knockdowns in the second and fourth rounds, as Yoshino (16-1, 12 KO) kept coming forward, kept throwing punches, but simply could not figure out any way to make a key difference in the fight.
The fight was a WBC eliminator, meaning Stevenson now has a place in line for one of the four belts held by Devin Haney, who faces Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20.
Stevenson, who has already won world titles at 126 and 130, will now have his sights quickly set on doing the same at 135, and it’s arguable he’s never looked as truly dominant as he did in this fight. Part of that is the style of Yoshino was tailor-made, but Stevenson could have danced more, too, could have been “slicker,” and instead he stayed in the pocket and took Yoshino apart that way, just lacing him with hard, accurate shots all night, until the referee finally saw enough.
CompuBox saw Stevenson landing a robust 50 percent of his total punches (123 of 245), and an outstanding 60 percent of his power shots (104 of 174), with Yoshino — who threw more than Stevenson, 332 to 245 overall — landed just 36 of 332 (11 percent) of his total punches, and only 14 percent (34 of 243) of his power shots.
Stevenson also landed 19 of 72 jabs, and met Yoshino’s body attack pretty much equally, with Yoshino landing 28 to Shakur’s 26 to the body.
“He felt my power. I sat down on a couple punches, dropped. Honestly, I wanted the ref to let it go on a little bit longer. I’d just caught my second wind. I was gonna put him out. I was gonna stretch him,” Stevenson said.
“Just tell all the other lightweights get ready. I can’t wait for them to finish the fights they’ve got going on, and then it’s my turn.”
Told that Devin Haney has told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel that he’s staying at 135 after facing Lomachenko, Stevenson said, “Tell him to come on. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I swear to God. Me and Devin have been in the ring with each other for years. I always got the best of Devin.”
Stevenson vs Yoshino highlights
Jared Anderson TKO-3 George Arias
Another easy win for Anderson, with the fight stopped after the third round. He’d hurt Arias pretty badly late in the third, and after a fairly lengthy discussion in the Arias corner, the fight was stopped there.
Anderson (14-0, 14 KO) and Arias (18-1, 7 KO) both came in undefeated, but if you’d seen both fight before enough times, you knew they were levels apart, and that was the case. Arias didn’t throw punches in the first and Anderson jabbed away. Arias tried a few things in the second and still lost the round. Arias was back to doing very little in the third, got rocked pretty good, nose was bloodying up, and that was that.
Keyshawn Davis TKO-9 Anthony Yigit
A dominant showing from Davis, who goes to 8-0 (5 KO), earning the stoppage in round nine. He’d dropped Yigit (26-3-1, 10 KO) at the end of round eight on a body shot, and referee Benjy Esteves basically gave it one more flurry in round nine.
This was also a weird fight in some ways. Boxing-wise, it was all Keyshawn Davis. But he also did get away with a bit of fouling, which Yigit kept complaining about, until finally Yigit’s brain snapped and he just became a screaming, chest-pounding looney tune at center ring, asking Davis to just fight him then if it was going to be that way.
From there, Davis kind of got away with kneeing Yigit in the face when Yigit fell at one point. It was quite a display of warrior spirit from Yigit in some ways, but honestly, the fight was one-sided and Davis was doing about as he pleased.
Post-fight, Davis called out Frank Martin, though not by name. He should probably say his name, since nobody knows who Frank Martin is by suggestion.
Prelims results and highlights
- Damian Knyba TKO-8 Curtis Harper: Knyba earned this stoppage, unloading on Harper late in the eighth and final round until referee Harvey Dock felt he had to step in. Harper (14-9, 9 KO) went rounds and hung around, but Knyba (11-0, 7 KO) was always pretty well in control, and he made the statement he could make in the end. I don’t know that Knyba, 27, has major upside as a heavyweight — I’m being diplomatic here — but he’s a big guy and wasn’t bad to watch. Everyone on the million televised fights can’t be elite, but he could be in some fun big guy battles.
- Troy Isley UD-8 Roy Barringer: A pretty dominant win for Tokyo Olympian Isley, who goes to 9-0 (4 KO). Barringer (9-4, 6 KO) came to slug early, but found himself out of his depth. The fight settled into a rhythm after a pretty mean opening round on both sides, and Isley was just in total control. I personally still see Isley as sort of a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect at 24, sort of a Terrell Gausha type, to compare him to another recent U.S. Olympian, but he has more of a mean streak than Gausha, too, which in this fight came out largely in a lot of things that got Isley endless warnings and being begged to not make the put-upon referee actually take a point from the guy who was supposed to win.
- Bruce Carrington KO-2 Brandon Chambers: Pretty dominant showing from featherweight Carrington (7-0, 4 KO), who just picked Chambers (9-1-1, 5 KO) apart and broke him down in short order. Carrington was aggressive but not reckless from the get-go, and Chambers just didn’t really have any answers. Chambers actually did a good job trying to survive, it was just too big a talent disparity.
- Kelvin Davis UD-6 Nelson Morales: Scores were 59-55, 60-54, 60-54. Davis is now 8-0 (5 KO), while Morales drops to 3-5 (0 KO), and has still never been stopped.
- Antoine Cobb D-4 Jaylan Phillips: I know this is buried way down at the bottom. I know very few people are reading this far. I know nobody cares. But these two fought to a draw in April 2022. They fought to a draw in Sept. 2022. And they did it again today. One card was 40-36 Cobb, which was a terrible score, and the other two were 38-38. I thought 2-2 or 3-1 Phillips would be fair scores, but 4-0 Cobb is absurd. The 27-year-old Cobb is now 1-0-3 ( 1KO), and Phillips is now 1-2-3 (1 KO). I sincerely mean this: I want ESPN to kick Top Rank a little money to book a small club-style show somewhere and let these guys headline in a five-round fight; not four, not six, five. Put together a club show undercard and let these fellas duke it out to settle the score. If they manage a draw in a five-rounder then you let them headline Hulu Theater.