Shakur Stevenson Punches Ticket To Stardom In TKO Win Over Jamel Herring

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Shakur Stevenson earned the hype that has surrounded his name since he entered professional boxing last night. He defeated Jamel Herring to capture the WBO 130-pound championship.

Stevenson won via a decisive 10th-round TKO on Saturday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Changing The Narrative

However, the dominant one-sided victory felt prophetic as Stevenson goaded Herring in the lead-up to the event in an attempt to shift the narrative around his brand.

After having a decorated amateur career and celebrity managers and advisors in Andre Ward and J. Prince, Stevenson had all the hype. However, by being in underwhelming divisions and executing in fights also perceived as underwhelming, Stevenson’s image began to languish.

Consequently, the stars began to emerge in Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez. Stevenson didn’t seem like a factor he was marketed as for the fight business with big wins and personalities.

However, that all changed in Atlanta, with Quavo from the Migos in tow on his ring walk. Stevenson delivered a performance worthy of his star power and displayed indomitable violence that boxing diehards and casuals alike crave.

A Star Is Born

“I wanted a fun fight: show my skills, my boxing, my power. I wanted to show everything tonight,” said Stevenson. “I want to be a superstar in the sport; I’m here to last.”

Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) won all nine rounds on two cards. Although one judge gave a round to Herring, many considered the fight a shutout.

However, the Newark native is a former champion at 126 pounds and needed the decisive win to set the tone for his arrival. By applying his signature pressure, Stevenson convinced the referee that Herring had had enough in Round 10; the bout was waved off at 1:30.

According to reports, Stevenson earned a career-high $1.7 million, and Herring earned a career-high $1.5 million.

Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Herring (23-3, 11 KOs), who wasn’t on the offensive, protested the referee’s decision, but he was a veritable punching bag at that point.

“I couldn’t be in that chess match with him, so I had to bite down and move forward,” said Herring. “He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good. No excuses. He was just the better man tonight.”

Additionally, Stevenson’s offense proved effective as he opened up a fierce cut over Herring’s right eye in Round 9. The wound bled extensively, prompting Stevenson to push his startegy.

“I smelled blood,” said Stevenson. “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.”

However, the stats were clear, confirming Stevenson’s dominance. Stevenson, 24, outlanded Herring 164-87, with 99 being power punches.

Next Chapter

Herring, 35, made the fourth defense of the junior lightweight title he won from Masayuki Ito in December 2018. He was fresh from a career-defining performance in April, a sixth-round TKO of former champion Carl Frampton in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Although it is not clear what Herring will do next, he has had some big moments in his career, like retiring Frampton. Now Stevenson is getting ready for the more significant opportunities in the sport.

“There’s only one fight left, the biggest fight in the division,” Stevenson said. “Oscar [Valdez] can’t keep ducking. There’s nothing else to look forward to.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettΒ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.