Sun, Oct 24, 2021 1:38 AM
By MATT WINKELJOHN, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Shakur Stevenson stepped up in weight class and jabbed his way to a second world title early Sunday, beating Jamel Herring by technical knockout in the 10th round of their junior lightweight championship fight.
The former featherweight champion applied steady pressure throughout, and Stevenson (17-0) leaned on the jab that helped him to a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Herring (23-3) never went down, but as the fight wore on he suffered substantial damage above both eyes. The fight was stopped briefly with 2:35 left in the 10th so that his badly bleeding right forehead could receive attention from his corner.
When action resumed, Stevenson pressured relentlessly. Herring's eye kept bleeding badly and the fight was stopped for good at 1:30 of the 10th.
“He's a great boxer, very tough,” Stevenson said. He also said that he felt confident that he was going to win by the fifth round.
Both fighters were tentative in the first round, when Herring scored with a few jabs.
Stevenson picked up his pace through the second and third rounds, and his jabs proved more effective the more often he threw them. Herring suffered damage around his left eye and had more difficulty evading punches as the fight carried though the sixth.
Although Stevenson never seemed close to registering a knockout, he dictated the fight from the second round onward. While he was giving away reach, the 5-foot-7 native of Newark, New Jersey, was pressed against the ropes by the 5-10 Herring just a few times.
On the undercard, junior middleweight and Atlanta native Evan Holyfield moved to 8-0 as a professional with a knockout in the second round of journeyman Charles Stanford.
One of the biggest rounds of applause on the night came immediately after that fight when his father, four-time former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, was pictured on scoreboards around the arena with a sizable grin on his face.
Soon afterward, Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, scored a third-round technical knockout of James Westley II in the second pro bout for each fighter.
Walsh first sent Westley to the canvas in the second round, and with another combination put him down in the third on the way to a 33-17 edge in power punches.
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