Shakur Stevenson proved last night that he is ready for stardom as he stopped Shuichiro Yoshino in front of a packed house in Newark, NJ on ESPN.
The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, was packed to see one of their own, Shakur Stevenson (20-0), perform in front of the brightest lights on ESPN. Although William Zepeda, George Kambosos Jr, and Isaac Cruz weren’t willing to fight, according to Stevenson, number four-ranked Shuichiro Yoshino was, making for an intriguing main event.
Leading up to the fight, the criticism of Stevenson was that he was too much of a defensive fighter, and it didn’t make for an enjoyable fight to watch. Some may argue with that point, but there is no denying that the outcome of a Stevenson fight would be a twelve-round decision with him just sticking and moving. With Stevenson moving up to lightweight, would that same game plan follow him in this new weight class, or would we see more balance between offense and defense?
As the fight began, you could tell that Stevenson wanted to put on a show in front of his family, friends, and those that filled the arena. One thing Timothy Bradley mentioned on the telecast that Stevenson told him was that it takes two rounds to figure out what his opponent is doing. Funny enough, that is precisely what happened. Although the first round was made up of feints and jabs, Stevenson landed a straight left to knockdown Yoshino for the first time in the fight.
Stevenson then started to pour it on in the third round, which is when we began to see his greatness. This wasn’t the stick-and-move Stevenson but one that, as Michael Woods tweeted, “trusted his chin real good” at the new weight class and wanted to show he could get the bigger fighters out of there. Stevenson started to land combinations at will and knocked Yoshino down again in the fourth round. After the referee warned Yoshino to “show me something,” Stevenson continued his dominance until the referee stopped it in the sixth round.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) April 9, 2023
After the fight, Stevenson said, “He felt my power. I sat down on a couple punches and dropped him. Honestly, I wanted the ref to let it go on a little bit longer. I had just caught my second wind. I was going to put him out.” Stevenson continued, “Just tell all those other lightweights to get ready. I’m waiting for them. I can’t wait for them to finish the fights they’ve got going on, and then it’s my turn.”
I’m so focused all I could think bout is being the best and I’m gone do whatever it takes to get there, Thank u to all my fans I’m right back in the gym 💪🏾
— Shakur Stevenson (@ShakurStevenson) April 9, 2023
Stevenson’s confidence is sky-high, and after his first win as a lightweight being that dominant, there is no reason not to believe how high his ceiling is. This latest version of Stevenson is marketable to fight fans and those that follow the sport casually. He has a following, but last night saw his stock rise even more which is great for Stevenson, Top Rank, and ESPN. Stevenson is a future P4P king, and anyone who disagrees with that just doesn’t know what they are talking about. When Stevenson gets his opportunity for a significant fight in the future, the 25-year-old from Brick City will put on for his city and become one of boxing’s biggest stars.