Facing the toughest opponent of his young career, Shakur Stevenson was able to outwork Jamel Herring to become the new WBO Junior-Lightweight Champion.
Stevenson, a former WBO Featherweight Champion, beat Herring via TKO in the tenth round. The Olympic silver medalist took a gamble by changing divisions this early in his career. Inside the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, however, Stevenson looked right at home. The referee was forced to stop the fight after a barrage of shots by Stevenson landed on the exposed cut above Herring's eye.
The 24-year-old Stevenson was hot to start off right away. He landed jabs and a left hook that connected early. Stevenson would play smart against an experienced Herring by fainting to get a reaction. It would work as Herring was missing key shots and was getting hit by sharp blows. Slick jabs were being thrown by Stevenson as he was trying to set Herring up for a quick finish. While Herring held his own, Stevenson continued landing crisp blows.
Herring's eye was inflamed early, making it an easy target. Stevenson would land multiple combinations shots, continuing with the theme of volume shots being a big factor. Herring tried to strike in the clinch but Stevenson would continue landing multiple blows.
At one point, Andre Ward compared the fight to Floyd Mayweather v. Arturo Gatti; Stevenson was overwhelming Herring. The latter did his best in the fifth round as he landed key shots in the clinch. While he was aggressive in that round, he was reactionary and confused throughout the remainder of the bout.
Stevenson continued his attack in the sixth and seventh rounds. In his last fight, Stevenson appeared to have slowed down. This time, however, he still had some gas left in the tank. Herring tried to land on the inside but Stevenson landed big head shots of his own. The latter would go off on Herring with multiple blows in the eighth, as the veteran had no answer for the kid. Stevenson would go high again as round ten was about to begin.
It was the beginning of the end for Herring, as Stevenson landed head shots that opened the cut above his eye. A physician looked at the cut, and while he let Herring continue at first, the referee did not like the lack of action from him. Smelling blood, Stevenson went on the attack, and the referee had no choice but to end it.
“Around the fifth round, I was landing everything and then he started trying to come on," Stevenson said after the fight. “I smelled blood. I saw he was bleeding and was like, ‘OK, I have to attack the cut. I was trying to touch the cut to make the doctor try and stop it."
According to CompuBox, Stevenson landed 164 of 530 punches, with 99 of them power shots. Herring landed 87 punches. The former outlanded Herring all ten rounds, extending Stevenson's overall streak to 43 consecutive rounds.
The loss was Herring's first since 2017, ending a seven-fight win streak.
“He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good," Herring said. "No excuses. He was just the better man tonight."
Stevenson is now interested in gaining more gold, calling out Oscar Rivas, who holds the WBC Junior-Lightweight Title.
Main Card (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Shakur Stevenson def. Jamel Herring via TKO (1:30 into round ten) - WBO Junior-Lightweight Title
Xander Zayas def. Dan Karpency via TKO (corner retirement after fourth round)
Nico Ali Walsh def. James Westley II via TKO (2:30 into round three)